Online Marketing : Action Over Reaction
6 keys to evaluating your content marketing effortsJanuary 2013 By Rob Yoegel
3. Abandonment rate and goal conversion rate. We're always testing different elements of our landing pages in an ongoing effort to improve the more common key performance indicators (KPIs) that we track, such as the percentage of website visitors who don't complete a goal (abandonment rate) and the overall percentage of visitors who complete a goal (goal conversion rate).
If you haven't started using the power of your analytics program to track conversions, you should immediately make it a top priority.
3 Tips to Put Content Marketing Metrics to Work
Here are three additional tips that help us focus on driving more actions instead of reactions when evaluating and refining our content marketing efforts.
1. Know when to look. It's important to examine key metrics on a regular basis so you can react as quickly as possible. If your only interaction with metrics is on a monthly basis, you'll be able to do far less with the results.
Looking at your reports on a monthly basis is often not enough, but daily analysis can be too much. You don't want to shift your team's focus from creating great content to worrying about anomalies in website traffic.
The key is to find the right balance for your organization. Figure out which metrics matter the most to your organization and reduce the number of KPIs you're looking at based on those findings. It's also critical not to compare metrics such as page views or unique visitors month over month. Seasonal spikes in traffic—like the holidays, for example—can skew your data.
2. Know what to look for. Reactionary metrics such as "length of visit" or "number of page views per visit" will be difficult to change. The key is to understand your customers' purchasing process and how your content affects lead generation and sales. Pay attention to where the customer entered the sales funnel as a result of your content efforts.
Another popular reactionary metric involves worrying too much about the overall number of Twitter followers. For example, as an enterprise software company, if we only add 12 Twitter followers this year, but those 12 all go on to become customers, it would result in significant revenue.
Instead of looking at the increase in followers on a weekly or monthly basis (a reactionary metric), figure out how you can nurture followers who are qualified leads through the sales cycle and convert them into customers.
3. Know where they're coming from. Inbound referral traffic—or how much traffic gets driven to your site from other websites—is one of the most critical metrics for content marketers to monitor because it provides a window into how your content is resonating with your target audience.
For example, if you see Mashable consistently driving more traffic to your website than other comparable sources, find additional ways to increase your exposure to the Mashable community by contributing a blog post or looking for other ways to deepen your partnership.
Don't get hung up on metrics you can't act upon. Focus on how many leads and how many opportunities you're influencing. Your goal is to close business, not just increase your page views or followers. Make sure you or someone within your organization can act on the metrics in a way that improves your results moving forward.
Rob Yoegel is the content marketing director at Conshohocken, Pa.-based website testing, personalization and targeting platform provider Monetate. Reach him on Twitter @RobYoegel.