Key Performance Indicators to Watch

Posted by on September 18, 2014

What’s the best way for content marketers to determine if their efforts are successful?  Impressions? Comments? Likes? Downloads? A sale?

Panelists at the “Don’t Run Out of Gas! How to Fuel a Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy” session at Content Marketing World 2014 warned that the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ve been focused on might be the wrong ones.

“One of the pitfalls [of content marketing] is trying to have an immediate sale,” said Nicole Smith, Managing Editor for Dell’s community. “It’s not very realistic.” Instead, content marketing should be used to build relationships with customers and display thought leadership, she said.

“There are so many KPIs and metrics that go beyond straight sales,” added Rebecca Lieb, Industry Analyst for the Altimeter Group. There’s brand favorability, engagement, share of voice, thought leadership and more. “It’s not just click here, buy now.”

For PR Newswire, effective content marketing means providing relevant content throughout the buyers’ journey and  beyond. You can’t stop at the purchase stage, it must also include engagement and loyalty, said Ken Wincko, Senior Vice President of Marketing for PR Newswire.

Panelists warned that traditional advertising metrics are not effective for measuring content marketing efforts. Views, clicks, likes, etc. aren’t necessarily a sign of true engagement.

For Dell’s Smith, measuring the success of content by the number of comments on a blog or the number of likes on a social post is not important.  “What is important to me is repeat visits. Are people coming back? Do they want more? Do they find it credible?” said Smith.

A recent post, “How Do You Measure The Success of Your Content?” underlines Smith’s point that returning visitors are the metric to watch.

Please share in the comments how you gauge the greatness of your content!