Content marketing efforts don’t simply end once a brand publishes blogs and other captivating pieces of content. Monitoring the success and progress of each quality content using different metrics is an important task that some brands often forget. However, marketing metrics are sometimes overlooked in favor of churning out content to keep up with current trends.
So why exactly do content marketing metrics matter? For starters, these figures show that your high-quality content provides value to the audiences. The company’s benchmark report also gives the brand actionable insights so it can know the target audience better and improve content production where it matters most.
Content benchmarking is the process of tracking content performance and comparing it to the industry’s best practices or to that of a competitor. This tactic also allows brands to assess threats, identify opportunities, and come up with the best practices to produce great content.
Businesses enter the fierce competition as they venture into content marketing – they must know how to utilize certain strategies to their advantage. Their content teams are always under pressure to prove the return on investment, so a lot of them are bent on producing and publishing original and valuable content. Because of this, lots of brands set aside benchmarking for later – but this is a risky move.
Failure to benchmark quality content may hinder the brand’s road to success. Regular competitive analysis is vital for any marketing aspect – your competitors are always using benchmarks to improve their performance so you should also do the same.
Both benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) are important tools that should be part of every content marketing program. They both look at certain metrics involved in content creation, so it’s easy to confuse one with the other.
But the key difference between benchmarks and KPIs is whom the brand compares its success against. For benchmarks, a company compares the performance of its own work against other entities like competitor brands. On the other hand, KPIs measure how well the brand’s published content stacks up compared to its strategic goals.
Understanding the difference between these two content marketing tools is necessary so brands know what to expect. They use these metrics when planning how to improve performance and optimize the content creation process.
Research reports about benchmarks are crucial because it’s what the content team needs to make decisions and improve their strategies. If you’re not sure where to start when creating a benchmarks report, then here’s a simple guide to follow:
The first step companies need to do when benchmarking is to identify and understand the content marketing competitors. It can be another company from the same industry, but content teams should also consider other websites that try to rank for the same keywords as them – even if they don’t necessarily market a product or service.
Here are the 3 common types of organizations that a brand might benchmark against:
Companies from the same industry that offer the same products and services as your brand are the most obvious competitors. Larger companies typically equate to larger budgets and more resources, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the top performers around.
When benchmarking against direct competitors, it’s also important to consider smaller companies or those that are the same size as your brand. Select a certain number of these companies to evaluate so the benchmarking process won’t bog down or take too long.
Depending on how sophisticated the market is and how many metrics are considered, it can take about 10 to 30 minutes for the brand to review each company and note its content marketing performance.
Trade associations and technical publications are some of the most popular content sources across various markets. They aim to provide great content to their audiences – which might include the brand’s potential customers – to increase advertising and membership.
These organizations often have massive content quantity and market visibility, which makes it difficult for other brands to compete against them. But on the bright side, marketing and advertising are slowly shifting to the internet, giving independent companies a chance to create unique content that stands out. Some of these media organizations might even help publicize original content they find valuable for audiences.
It’s not unusual for some brands to find that their content ranks lower than another article from a completely different industry. Others may be discouraged by this, but it’s actually a good opportunity for the brand to draw inspiration from.
When a similar organization from a different industry executes its content marketing ideas well, the brand can replicate it by tweaking some aspects to better fit its message. Just make sure to look for companies of similar size, marketing budget, and organizational structure before benchmarking against them.
Since benchmarking is about comparing the competitors' content efforts against those made by the brand, it’s crucial to look at metrics and data that are readily available. This may include organic search traffic, number of internal links, SEO performance, throughput, social media engagement, and more.
Companies that want a more detailed research report about benchmarks and content performance select the elements based on which metrics align with their B2B content marketing goals. Different B2B companies prioritize different goals, but here are some of the most common ones and what metrics they correspond to:
After identifying the competitors and elements to benchmark, the next step is figuring out how to access the competitor’s data. For this process, lots of companies rely on different tools like the competitive research tab found on the site of Semrush. This simple tool allows brands to:
When counting the competition’s throughput (the number of materials made through the content creation process), brands must manually check the competitor’s website and estimate how much they produce every month. Measuring social media engagement is typically done manually too – brands have to look at the social media posts and digital events every month and note the types of engagements they have.
When gathering the needed benchmarking data from the brand and its competitors, content teams should start small by looking at the top-performing keywords and the kind of content they drive to. It can be blogs, web pages, infographics, white papers, and other content types.
After gathering all the necessary data, the next step is to map out the competitor’s performance. Most content marketers do this by collating the data in a shared spreadsheet so anyone from the team can work on it and add more information.
After building a matrix from all the gathered data, it becomes easier for brands to see the trends and insights. Once the spreadsheet is complete, content teams should have a group session to brainstorm and evaluate all the data together.
From there, brands can find threats, opportunities, and best practices from their content as well as the competitor. Here are some examples to help interpret the gathered data for your benchmarking process:
One of the biggest problems when measuring the brand’s success is that there are too many metrics and approaches to use. All these options can become confusing for content marketers as they compare realistic benchmarks and key performance indicators.
Even though this guide might not be able to cover all possible metrics, we still made sure to include the most essential parameters to get you started on the right foot. If you believe that other metrics are needed to properly measure and evaluate the brand’s content creation process, then feel free to add them when benchmarking on your own.
Brands may attract more total traffic with high-quality content and well-designed pages, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that every site visitor is converted into a lead – an individual or group that’s interested in the products or services offered by the brand. If the user only leaves after engaging with the content, then that’s a serious sign of a lead generation problem for the brand.
But even if the brand manages to collect information from the visitor and turn them into a lead, these potential customers still have different values. For a brand to be successful, generating qualified leads should be the priority because these visitors actually have the intent to buy.
One simple way to track lead generation is by using Google Analytics. Lots of experts also agree that it’s the best lead-tracking tool online.
Ranking high in search engines like Google is crucial when bringing more traffic to the website. Just the first page of Google handles at least 71% of the total web traffic. Being the top search result in a SERP brings typical click-through rates of about 39.6% – which is more than double the CTR of the second-best result (18.4%)
To improve the brand’s SERP ranking, content teams should focus on essential SEO practices. They must identify which keywords are trending, how to enhance their link building, how to create web-friendly URLs, and what are the best ways to acquire backlinks. Tracking the keyword rankings provide brands with all the data they need to improve their website structure and content quality.
Some of the best SERP trackers to use online are AccuRanker, Semrush Position Tracker, SERPWatcher, and Pro Rank Tracker. But the good news for smaller brands with limited marketing budgets is they don’t have to spend too much on different content marketing tools – they can also practice improving different SERP features, like the featured snippet, images, and people also ask questions.
Conversion rates are important content marketing metrics for determining the ROI. They’re measurements of how many site visitors turn into leads and how many of those qualified leads turn into paying customers.
Converting audiences into paying customers is the end goal of all marketing efforts, so looking at this metric gives brands an idea of which pages are successful in nurturing leads. However, measuring the conversion rates can be challenging because conversion takes different forms for every part of the customer journey.
But one of the easiest ways to determine the conversion rate is to compare the brand’s sales and revenues to the overall traffic from website visitors. This gives the brand insights into which inbound marketing efforts are valuable for its potential customers. After collecting data from your own brand as well as other competitors, here are some conversion benchmarks to compete against:
The distribution of traffic sources is another important aspect of content marketing since brands need to create device-specific content when boosting audience engagement. Mobile devices are responsible for about 63.81% of overall traffic across all industries – much higher than other distribution channels like desktops (33.35%) and tablets (2.84%).
Bounce rates are a simple content marketing metric that measures the effectiveness of the brand’s content and landing pages. They refer to the number of users that leave a page without opening another page on the website – which means that the higher the bounce rates are, the less effective the content is.
If you notice a high bounce rate and poor content engagement in one of the blog posts, then there’s a chance there’s something wrong with the website. Here are some of the most common factors that increase a site’s bounce rates:
Once the brand addresses these problem areas, it can slowly decrease its bounce rates and make the company more captivating for audiences. The average bounce rate for the 5 biggest industries is 44%, but brands still need to conduct a competitive analysis to find out the average bounce rate for their niche.
Page exit rates are similar to bounce rates in that they’re both about people exiting the site, but they have major differences that set them apart. Bounce rates are concerned with the percentage of visitors that leave after only one session, while page exit rates refer to the percentage of recent page views.
Having high page exit rates is also a bad sign since it means that there’s something on a particular web page that makes people leave before they’re converted. The problem may lie in the high prices of products, poorly designed websites, or low-quality copies that aren’t persuasive enough.
The bounce rate and page exit rate of a web page can be viewed using Google Analytics. But to reduce these rates, it’s crucial to look at the behavior of audiences and plan a new approach that meets their wants and needs.
Google’s ranking metrics include the time site visitors spend on a page because it’s an indicator of how engaging the content is. Search engine algorithms use this metric to find out which sites produce articles and other content types that generate genuine interest.
The longer the average time spent on a page is, the higher content engagement and audience captivation it has. If brands notice a low average time on their content, then one of these factors might be true:
To improve the average time spent on a page, brands should offer behavioral incentives to their audiences through improved web design and enhanced SEO-focused content.
Time to conversion shows brands how quickly their visitors turn into customers. It’s calculated by taking the total number of days from the first click up to the conversion, then divided into the total conversions. Some deals take longer to close than others, which is why the time between the first impression and the conversion is critical in measuring the success of marketing campaigns.
To reduce the conversion time, try adding customer reviews and testimonials to the landing pages. These user-generated pieces of content are a good way to add credibility to the brand and encourage readers to complete their customer journey more quickly. It also helps to remove unnecessary form fields and other distractions, making the purchase process easier for the potential customer.
Content benchmarking doesn’t have to chart every piece of content the brand publishes, but it’s still important in creating an overall impression of how well it does against competitors in the same sector. It helps the brand gauge how successful the content marketing campaign is and what it can do to improve its performance.
Hitting benchmarks and achieving brand goals can be challenging, but it can be possible as long as you have a dedicated content team – one who understands your brand like the back of their hand and knows how to optimize every piece of content for audiences and search engines.