The Content Marketing KPIs That Actually Matter

The Content Marketing KPIs That Actually Matter

780 409 Lauren Harrison

Since the advent of web analytics, marketers have had access to a whole world of data regarding key performance indicators (KPIs). This is all well and good, but unless you know how to interpret them you might as well be reading a different language. 

Where content is concerned, several people still fall into the trap of looking at hits or views and not much else. Sure, traffic can give you an idea of how your content is performing and its popularity. What it doesn’t tell you is whether users found your content interesting, informative, or entertaining. Hits and views don’t reveal much in terms of audience demographics, engagement levels, and lead generation either.

For this kind of information, you’ll need to track the content marketing KPIs that actually matter. A lot will depend on your initial objectives, but by breaking various metrics down into categories, you can harvest in-depth insights about your content.



Basic metrics concerning consumption will provide you with a general overview of how content is performing. If you aren’t a master of measurement, why not start here and gradually expand into other areas of analytics?

Unique visitors

A foundation you can use to compare different content and trends over time.


To help inform the content creation process for better targeting.


Discover the channels that are most effective and create tailored content accordingly.


Should your focus shift from long-form content to more mobile-friendly alternatives?




Some marketers will look past consumption and head straight to engagement, as this can make or break a content campaign. You will want to know whether audiences are interacting with your content and how long it is keeping their attention for. Engagement is the building block for long, loyal relationships online.


Average time on page

An easy way of knowing whether audiences are attentive to your content

New vs. returning – Are users engaging with your content once or on a regular basis?

Referral traffic – See if your audiences are sharing and linking to your content

Social media

Shares – Channel-specific metric for assessing the ‘virality’ of your content

Comments – The effort it takes to post a comment shows that the content has strong appeal

Growth – Look for new followers in your regular reporting and correlate with content


Open rates – Do you need to A/B test email headlines if they aren’t getting opened?

Subscriber growth – Those who have chosen to receive content or opt out

Forwards – Easier to track with ‘send to a friend’ button or similar




The Content Marketing Institute says that sales along with lead generation and nurturing are among the top organisational goals for content marketers. As long as you correlate with content goals and conversion metrics, this daunting activity isn’t as difficult as you think.

Lead generation

Goal completions – Goals such as newsletter signups and brochure downloads can measure the role content has played in reaching targets

Conversion rate – Divide the total number of goal completions by total number of sessions

Social conversions – Use conversion tracking on Facebook and Twitter to calculate the ROI of promoted content


Transactions – For example, what percentage of online revenue was your blog responsible for

Time to purchase – The number of days it took to complete a purchase could help with content creation and the sales funnel

Assisted conversions – The monetary value of the conversions assisted by your content

In spite of these suggestions, the KPIs that matter most will always be the ones relating to your initial objectives. Business goals should determine content, which in turn should determine KPIs.