Every digital marketer agrees on the importance of tracking performance but many differ on how best to go about it.
Tracking blog performance is different to tracking any other page on your website, and it’s worth getting right. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Unfortunately, one can’t rely totally on empty metrics like the number of pageviews/visits or bounce rate to determine the success of a blog, although so many marketers still do.
Jonah Peretti, the founder of BuzzFeed, says his team look at ‘impact’, not traffic when it comes to blog reporting. While pageview-type metrics are helpful in some respects, they don’t give you the full picture. “Just because you’ve managed to get more eyeballs onto your content doesn’t mean it’s actually achieved anything. Not only that, but I’d have no real indication of whether my content was satisfying the needs of my visitors.”
When it comes to blogging, you may generate traffic but it’s not exactly ‘successful’ until it has helped you achieve some of your business goals – whatever they may be. It’s a good idea to write down the purpose/goal/aspiration you are pursuing as a business, and think about how your blog can assist with that.
Any blog metric is pretty pointless unless it can be tied to a meaningful business outcome.
Without looking at the leads metric, a marketer might easily dismiss a less viewed post as a failure, when that isn’t necessarily be the case.
If, like most businesses, your goal is to generate X number of leads each month, a blog post with 10 views that assists with generating 2 leads is more successful than a post with 10000 views and 0 leads.
If generating leads is a business goal of yours, your blog reporting needs to track how successful each post is at helping you generate those leads. Maybe that’s in the form of downloadable content or blog subscribers – or even tracking how many of your leads visited the blog pages as part of their conversion journey.
After measuring leads, on a more micro-level, you’ll want to be tracking engagement metrics (rather than just ‘views’) to give you a sense of whether your blog is actually serving the needs of your readers, and therefore influencing the achievement of your business goals.
Here are two great engagement metrics to look at:
Social Media Shares
Social media shares are a good indication that your blog is hitting the mark with your audience. A social media shares is essentially a Net Promoter Score (you know the one: “how likely are you to recommend X to friends and family?”).
To share your post on social media, the sharer is essentially saying it’s good enough for them to recommend it to their circles.
If you’re getting plenty of social shares, take it as a great sign.
Scroll depth & time on page
The average time spent on your blog post will give your a general indication of how engaged your audience are, and combining this with ‘scroll depth’ (i.e. how far down the page has a visitor scrolled) will help paint a better picture of how much of your post your visitors are actually reading – not just how long they have the tab open.
Because the majority of blog posts are educational, they are much better than product-centric pages at generating inbound links.
Links, of course, are SEO gold. They’ll help your overall website performance, which will help you bring home the bacon at the end of the day.
So, while getting more links is not a business goal per-se, attracting links should be a content goal of yours, and you should be tracking your blog’s success at this.
No matter how well you your blog is currently performing, your content marketing efforts will always have room for improvement.
Thus, an essential part of your job is to learn how to track your successes and failures, be able to show how your content marketing activities are helping your organisation meet its overall business goals, and use this information to tweak your approach to your blog writing in future.
By measuring leads and engagement over ‘empty’ metrics like pageviews and bounce rate, you’ll be well on your way to doing just that.