Internet marketers and search engines alike are constantly putting an emphasis on the fact that content is king on the modern Web. However, content is not just about search engine optimization – it is about building up a reputation, raising brand awareness and earning customer respect and loyalty by providing them with engaging content which is either useful or entertaining to them in some way. As a crucial digital marketing channel, content marketing performance should be measured using its own set of key performance indicators. Here are five of the most important metrics to track.


1. Reach

How many people overall are viewing your content, and where are they coming from? Your reach is an essential KPI for the overall performance of your content marketing campaign. You should determine how many unique visitors you are getting to your website before you start tracking any other metrics.

Many businesses can also glean useful insights by tracking the geographical locations of their visitors so that they can better allocate their resources.


2. Engagement

Many beginners in the world of social media and content marketing lose touch with the importance of audience engagement, often because they place too great an emphasis on the role of content in search engine optimization. Tracking engagement metrics is crucial for determining the value of your content in the eyes of your target audience. The more useful people find your content, the more likely they are to become paying customers or leads.

Look out for things like the amount of pages people view per visit, how long they stay on the site and how many people leave immediately (bounce rate).


3. Referrals

Another important way to measure the value of your content is to determine how much of your traffic is coming from referrals. Your links should be coming from relevant and quality sources which is why black-hat SEO practices such as link building can have disastrous consequences for your business.

Be sure to track the number of visitors coming from your referrers as well as who is linking to you. You should also determine how valuable and relevant this traffic is by looking out for conversion rates, page visits and bounce rates among referred visitors.


4. Social Sharing

Social media is now a number one resource not only for marketing your business, but also for marketing your content. When you publish new original web site content, you should post about it on your social networks, and if people find your content engaging enough, they will share it of their own accord on their own social media profiles.

Important metrics to track include the number of times people are sharing your content as well as which platforms they tend to share it on. You should also determine roughly how many visits you get from each social network and how these visitors behave when they reach your site.


5. Conversions

A conversion refers to a visitor to your website who goes on to become a paying customer or lead. In terms of content marketing, the conversion rate refers to the number of visitors who find your content engaging enough to become paying customers.

Your main conversions are where your business receives revenue, whether this be from sales or leads. Secondary conversions which you should track include things like mailing list subscriptions, sign-ups or downloads. Track all of your conversion rates by content type to determine how each area of your content marketing strategy is performing.