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Consumers are definitely fed up with pushy and intrusive marketing campaigns, and they resort to various methods in order to avoid them. These days when almost every browser comes with a preinstalled pop-up blocker, and when many streaming services are either ad-free or have a commercial-skipping option, marketers need to be more creative in order to get their message through. Content marketing is one of the best and most cost-effective strategies of attracting your target audience without having to shove ads and commercials down their throats. Being 62% less expensive and generating 3 times more leads than outbound marketing, content marketing is a must. However, if you want to know how it performs, as well as what works and what doesn’t, you need to track certain KPIs.

Unique page visits

This basic reach metric seems like an obvious choice to start with. It will show you how many people come to your website in order to view your content within a given interval, which is usually 30 days. By tracking unique page visitors, you’ll be able to identify the pages and pieces of content which garner a great deal of attention. But things aren’t as simple as that. First of all, you need to bear in mind that not all unique visits bring the same value in terms of lead generation and qualification. In other words, unique visitors who view your white paper are more likely to make a purchase than those who view your About page or a blog post. In addition to that, the accuracy of this metric isn’t always 100%. Namely, if the same person views a blog post from two different devices, it will be tracked by analytic tools as two unique visits.

Average time on page

It’s not enough only to attract people to your website or blog. The real skill is to capture their attention by offering them quality content. Average time on page shows you how good, useful, and relevant your content is to your target audience, and that’s why you need to combine it with unique page visits. A well-structured, customizable KPI dashboard can help you track, monitor, and analyze all your metrics in one place. If a blog post takes 8 minutes to read, and yet the majority of your visitors spend only 2 minutes reading it, it’s a sign that you need to change something and offer value to your readers. If your average time on page is low, it’s double trouble, because it affects both your traffic and rankings. In terms of SEO outcomes, there’s a similar metric called “dwelling time” which measures how long a visitor stays on the page before they go back to the SERPs. From Google’s point of view, the shorter dwelling time is, the lower your rankings will be. And don’t forget that this metric has become a ranking factor, which means that the search giant pays a great deal attention to it.

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Bounce rate

Bounce rate can be easily confused with time on page and dwell time, but although they’re similar, these three metrics can’t be used interchangeably. The main point of bounce rate is to measure the percentage of single-page visitors who leave without visiting any other page on your website. Again, you need to know how to interpret this metric, because a high bounce rate on the checkout page of an e-commerce website is alarming because it means that your potential customers don’t make a purchase for some reason. But when we’re talking about a blog, a high bounce rate can be the result of the fact that your recurring visitors come specifically to read your new blog post, and then leave after they find what they need.

Traffic sources

This useful metric identifies which sources actually bring you visitors. It will help you decide which marketing channel you should focus on. For example, if the majority of your traffic comes from search engines, then SEO is your strong point and you should invest your time and money in developing it. In other words, you might have a huge following on various social media channels, but if they fail to send visitors to your website, then you should either try to fix your social media strategy or stop heavily relying on them.

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Likes, shares, and comments

Although these are usually called “vanity metrics”, they’re indispensable for showing whether your content is engaging. Likes will show you how popular your content is among your audience, and you’ll know that you’ve made an even more significant impact if they decide to share it. Shares are also crucial metric because they will expand your reach beyond your original target audience. Comments are even more important than shares and likes for illustrating the level of engagement. It takes only a fragment of second to like or share a post, but when someone writes a comment it means that a particular piece of content is compelling and thought-provoking to the extent of prompting them to sit down and invest their time and energy into sharing their opinion.

These metrics will show you how your content is performing and help you supercharge your content marketing strategy.

Nate Vickery is a marketing consultant and author mostly engaged in researching the latest marketing technology trends and practices applicable to startups and SMBs. He is also the editor at Bizzmark Blog and an author on The Next Web.

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