Ben Young
Ben Young
February 23, 2021

Content marketing metrics are measures of how a customer is engaging with content. Content marketing metrics enable marketers to see how their content is performing. 

What makes content marketing metrics unique compared to other metrics it that they provide nuance for the fact the customer is consuming content. This can mean behaviors like social engagement, scrolling and attention are more important. This means marketers have a better idea of how it is performing.

Content marketing is art & science AND business. This post dives in to metrics.


If you are new to content marketing metrics, these posts may be helpful:


What types of content metrics should you use?

The most common metrics marketers are adopting for content marketing are: 

  • People, how many real people are consuming your content. 
  • Attention, seeing how much attention people pay to your content. 
  • Bounce, whether people are engaging with your content or not.
  • Avg Scroll, the average scroll on each piece of content.
  • Social engagement, seeing how many shares your content creates. 
  • Conversion rate, the rate at which people take action after consuming your content.
  • Time of day, seeing what time of day is best for your audience to engage.

Explore more in our content marketing glossary.


An example of some of the newer metrics fit for content:


Most content metrics can be grouped in to a few categories.

  • Performance; unique people, or reach, impressions or page views, bounce, scroll, drop off, leads, conversion rate, purchases, video views, completion
  • Feedback; engagement, social shares, earned impressions, virality
  • Insights; time of day, day of week, audience insights, emoji usage, sentiment.


Example of the Nudge analytics dashboard
Example of content metrics presented in a dashboard


Other metrics you may consider, depending on your content marketing strategy.

  • For SEO driven strategies, people & attention, to see how many new people are coming into the funnel and how long they are staying.
  • For audience building strategies, the size of your audience, newsletter sign ups, engagements on posts. 
  • For brand building, attention, scroll, reach, engagements on posts. 


Social content marketing would follow similar methodologies in establishing metrics.

  • Reach/audience size/followers. 
  • Engagements & clicks. 
  • Downstream conversions/leads created.
  • Quality of traffic as compared to other activities. 


Beyond the page view

Traditional analytics would tell marketers how many page views a URL had, time on page and bounce. Unfortunately this wasn’t insightful enough for content marketers.

Marketers wanted to know, is this a good piece of content? Is my content distribution working? How can I improve this content?

The lack of insight meant they sought newer metrics, which enabled them to improve their content. The common thread amongst content marketing metrics is that they reveal how customers are consuming the content.

Related to this change, has been the shift from quantity metrics to quality metrics. Rather than going for just more pageviews, making sure the experience for each of those visitors is a quality one. So that the content has impact.

Nudge has found that Attention is a very good measure of the quality of content. Because if the content isn’t engaging, people stop paying Attention. So as a content metric it is invaluable.


Content Marketing Metrics vs Content Marketing Analytics

Content marketing analytics is the process of gathering & deriving meaning from data. Content marketing metrics, is some of the data that content marketing analytics would gather. Many intermingle the terms.

Analytics is also marketing shorthand for an online dashboard or solution like Nudge, which measures and provides insight on content.


How do content marketing metrics work?

Content marketing metrics are typically powered by javascript or tracking code, which is placed on the content.  When customers visit the content, the tracking code loads. This then analyzes each time customers visit the content, and reports the data in an online dashboard. Often this is done in real time, or close to real time.

The metrics seek to get a better understanding of how customers are interacting with the content.


Metrics & creators are not at odds, metrics feed creators creative intuition

It is a misnomer that data and creativity can’t go together. Content marketing metrics help feed the creative intuition of content creators. Data and metrics help provide context and feedback on how different content has performed. This helps build up experience on what is working and what isn’t.

And what good is creativity without constraints? Metrics can help provide those constraints or guardrails. Knowing that a piece of content has to achieve X through Y, helps them create the best content the first time. Secondly metrics can help identify content that needs more attention, so creators can use that to go and improve the content. 

Data also gives room for experimentation, as the metrics help show how that experiment worked. Without data, companies would be less likely to experiment and try, as they would rather stick with the tried and true. With data they can be smart and allocate resources for experiments, knowing they can quickly identify winners and adjust. 


How to select the right content marketing metrics

1. Identify your goals
Spend time with your strategy, what is it your content is trying to achieve? What is it going to take to deliver on that?

2. Map how content delivers on those goals
Write down, how content delivers on those goals and what steps the customer takes.

It can be useful to do a flow chart of your customer journey. Presentation software or a whiteboard can be handy!

3. Identify what success is
Clarify what success with content marketing looks like. 

4. Bring it all together
Armed with this information, it should be easy to identify which content marketing metrics are right for your strategy and approach. Measuring your content, at each step of the customer journey.

The more tailored it is to your unique objectives, the better chance of success.

5. Find a tool that measures those metrics
Many tools offer a free trial, or free tier, to get started. Try a couple to see what best fits your goals.

6. Install and QA
Install the analytics, QA the installation, to make sure it is setup correctly.

Now you are good to go.

You could use these metrics as KPIs for your marketing team, to track progress and keep them focused on the right goals. 


What is the future of content marketing metrics? 

  • CRM, metrics are increasingly used in CRMs, to link content to prospects. 
  • AI, machine learning is enabling predictions and better analysis of data for marketers. 
  • Privacy, customers want to have their privacy preserved, so the trend is towards more and more privacy centric solutions. 
  • Simplicity, marketers are wanting solutions which are simpler and easier to use. 


This is part of our Guide to Content Marketing Analytics.