Content Marketing KPIs to Track: Views to Revenue

Content marketing KPIs vary depending on the channel and stage of your business. Here are a few KPIs to consider tracking, from likes to conversions and revenue.

February 28, 2024
Written by
David Broderick
Reviewed by
Nate Matherson

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You’ve done your keyword research, filled your editorial calendar with brilliant ideas, and started pushing out high-quality content to your blog and social media channels.

But content campaigns — like all inbound marketing plays — typically take time to start showing material results. So how are you supposed to know whether you’re on the track to content marketing success when you’re only a few blog posts and a handful of LinkedIn posts in?

That’s where key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. Content marketing KPIs are metrics that show you whether your content marketing initiatives are on track to boost your search engine rankings, drive awareness and engagement, and create new leads and new customers.

For example, if you see a rise in search impressions in Google Search Console, that’s an early sign that your SEO strategy is working. While “more search impressions” definitely isn’t going to be the ultimate goal of your content strategy, it’s a great KPI for tracking content performance when you’re just getting started, because a rise in search impressions means that Google is testing your content out on SERPs (search engine results pages).

As your content marketing strategy gets more established and your business’s objectives switch from brand awareness to lead generation, the content marketing KPIs you track should change, too.

Read on to discover the best content marketing KPIs to track at every stage of the funnel — and every stage of your business's growth.

Content Marketing KPIs for Brand Awareness

You’re going to seriously struggle to sell your product or service to people who don't know your company exists.

Which is why it’s so important to track brand awareness — especially for companies trying to find a foothold in their market. And these days, companies frequently look to social media platforms when they start thinking about awareness.

Here are some social media KPIs you should track to make sure your top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) content is helping create a brand built to last:

Views and Impressions on Social

Views and impressions certainly aren’t everything. But without them, you’re going to struggle to get your business on the map.

Tracking organic social content views and paid social content impressions can help a fledgling business ensure that it’s making progress in its market.

Plus, social media algorithms are always changing. Once you’ve established a social media presence, tracking views will help you ensure that the new content you’re posting is still working well on your social media platforms of choice.

When to Track Views and Impressions: Social views are always going to be important for your business — just make sure that you’re putting your efforts into the right social platforms (not every company needs to be on TikTok). But they’re especially important for early-stage businesses. And keep in mind that views and impressions are not the end-all, be-all. You need to make sure that people are not only seeing your posts but also engaging with them (especially in the case of paid social content).

Shares and Engagement on Social

Views show that your content is getting in front of people. Likes and shares show that it’s engaging them.

Plus, the more likes and shares your organic social media posts receive, the more those platforms' algorithms will prioritize them in your followers’ feeds.

While you shouldn’t be obsessed with how many likes your latest social media post has racked up, you should keep an eye on this KPI to make sure that you’re on the right track with your content. If numbers start to drop, it’s time to mix your content strategy up (by trying different content types or topics, for instance), so your ToFu content will continue resonating with people.

For example, Nate Matherson has tested a number of different formats on LinkedIn when repurposing his content. On LinkedIn, Nate found that carousels often drive the most engagement:

When to Track Shares and Engagement: When your company is at the awareness-building stage, engagement is especially important. But even as your business matures, you’ll want to continue engaging customers with content that positions your business and its leadership team as thought leaders (especially if, for instance, your product or service requires a yearly subscription renewal).

Comments on Social

A post or video really has to resonate with someone for them to take the time to leave a comment.

This is why the number of comments a social post receives is a huge indicator of how engaging your target audience finds it. Whenever someone leaves a positive comment on one of your LinkedIn posts or YouTube videos, they tell other people that this content is worth their time.

Social media algorithms are designed to boost posts that get plenty of engagement, too. That means the more comments one of your posts or videos receives, the more algorithms will push it into people’s feeds. As a pro tip, you should consider tracking comment sentiment, too.

When to Track Comments: If you’re investing money and time in social media platforms, you should be tracking your posts’ effectiveness, no matter what stage your business is at. Comments are one way to do this. And don’t leave your commenters hanging! Replying and answering questions promptly will build true relationships with customers and potential customers.

New Followers or Subscribers

Having a lot of people follow your company page on X (formerly Twitter) or subscribe to your YouTube channel is a very strong signal that you’re creating the kind of content that will lead to sales and that you have a brand that’s built to last.

Take the 846,000 people who’ve subscribed to Blendtec’s Will It Blend? YouTube channel. What brand do you think is going to come to mind when they come to buy a blender?

When to Track Followers or Subscribers: If reaching customers and potential customers is key to your content strategies, set follower and subscriber targets (for instance, by looking at your competitors and setting realistic growth rates), and make sure that you are growing your social audience at a steady rate.

Content Marketing KPIs for SEO

Hoping to make organic search one of your big customer acquisition channels? Then, your SEO KPIs are some of the most important content marketing metrics you’ll track.

Here are the best KPIs to track to make sure your SEO rankings are heading in the right direction.

Search Impressions

The more often your site shows up in search engine results, the more visitors you’ll get to your site. Which is why an uptick in search impressions often comes before a rise in unique visits to your site.

Screenshot from Positional’s Google Search Console account. Shown are spikes in search impressions leading to search traffic.

That makes search impressions a great KPI for new sites trying to get a foothold in the search results. The more searches your site appears in, the more new visitors will eventually come your way.

When to Track Search Impressions: When you’re just starting to ramp up your SEO strategy, watch for an uptick in search impressions as an indicator that Google is starting to test your comment. But make sure that this uptick in search impressions is accompanied by an uptick in search traffic.

How Many Keywords Your Site Ranks For (and How Well It Ranks for Each)

The number of keywords that your website is ranking for is another leading indicator of organic search traffic.

Screenshot from Positional’s Keyword Tracking toolset. Shown is Positional’s website. Notice an uptick in the number of keywords the website was ranking for. This ultimately was a leading indicator of search traffic.

To get a true sense of your SEO performance, it’s important to supplement your search traffic stats with:

  • The total number of keywords you’re ranking for.
  • Where you rank for each of those keywords.

All those metrics combined tell the full story of your SEO performance. And a general increase in the number of keywords you are ranking for is typically a leading indicator of search traffic.

When to Track Keyword Rankings: Once your SEO efforts start to bear fruit, you’ll likely become more serious about tracking keyword success.

Search Traffic

Organic website traffic is the ultimate barometer of any SEO strategy’s success.

But it’s also notoriously hard to forecast since traffic to your site depends on some factors that are outside your control, such as:

  • Algorithm updates and new SERP features.
  • Whether search engines start showing AI-generated results.
  • How much money your competitors throw at outranking you.
  • Whether your market grows or shrinks.

Since your traffic numbers may vary, and it’s difficult to guarantee consistent growth, you should also look at how you’re ranking for your target keywords.

When to Track Search Traffic: This KPI will likely always be something you watch closely if SEO is part of your overarching content strategy.

Content Marketing KPIs for Measuring Site Engagement

Getting people to your site is one thing. Keeping them engaged enough to stick around and ultimately become paying customers is another.

This is why user engagement metrics are so important to track once you start to see serious traffic on your site.

To make sure you’re on track to turn visitors to your site into customers, be sure to measure:

On-Page Engagement

On-page engagement metrics like bounce rate, time on page, and scroll depth are the best barometers of the engagement of your content.

Because a landing page with a high bounce rate isn’t going to convert many customers. And a blog post with low scroll depth isn’t likely to drive many newsletter subscribers.

Poor performance across these metrics might be caused by:

Keep a close eye on your on-page engagement metrics, especially for the pages targeting your most important keywords. If numbers start to dip, review them to find ways to improve the content and UX to get them back on track.

When to Track On-Page Engagement: Making sure that site visitors are finding what they need on your site is always important — but be sure to take an especially close look at these numbers after site redesigns, after new product or landing pages are launched, and so on.

Content Marketing KPIs for Conversions or Leads

The further down the sales funnel you go, the harder it becomes to quantify the impact of your content marketing campaigns fully.

For example, a customer might technically convert after clicking on an ad — but they only clicked on that ad because they knew your brand well through your founders' blog posts.

Your content marketing campaign absolutely contributed to that sale — just not in a way you’d ever be able to measure with complete accuracy.

So, while you’re never going to be able to measure exactly how many new leads your content marketing program delivers, some KPIs will give you as accurate a picture as possible:

  • CTA clicks: The clearest measure that the people reading your content are interested in your product or service.
  • Email newsletter subscriptions: Newsletter readers are people who want to hear more from you, which is a huge sign they’re qualified leads.
  • White paper downloads: Another sign you’ve found product-market fit and people are ready to convert.

When to Track Conversions: As soon as your content starts attracting viewers, you should be measuring clicks and subscriptions. A “good” click-through rate can vary greatly (and depends on many factors), but for a blog post, something between 2% and 5% shows that the content is working well.

Content Marketing KPIs for Revenue

Of course, rising traffic, high on-page engagement, and even CTA clicks are just vanity metrics if they aren’t driving revenue.

However accurately measuring your content marketing efforts' direct impact on your bottom line is tricky.

A few metrics well worth measuring to track your content marketing ROI are:

  • A High Percentage of Deals That Close After Interacting with Sales Enablement Content: A higher conversion rate on leads that engage with your bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) content than those that don’t is a clear sign your product-led content is helping drive sales.
  • Many Customers Who Mention Having Engaged with Your Content Marketing on Sales Calls: If your customers regularly mention having engaged with your content during conversations with your sales team, that’s another bit of qualitative data pointing towards its effectiveness.
  • When to Track Revenue: You know your business best, and we’re sure you’ve already got a close eye on your books!
  • Profit: Creating high-quality content, whether blog posts or social media content, certainly isn’t free. You’ll want to measure the costs of creating this content against the revenue that was attributed to it.

How Do You Choose Which KPIs to Focus On?

We’ve just run through more than a dozen important content marketing KPIs worth tracking.

But we don’t advocate trying to track all of them at once.

Instead, pick a few that will help you quickly get a sense of how your business is doing on the metrics that matter for you at whatever stage your business is at.

Here are a couple of questions to ask to find the right content KPIs to track right now:

What Stage Is Your Company At?

Your content marketing goals are going to vary wildly depending on how established your business is.

For example, are you a startup trying to gain a foothold in your market? Then, driving search impressions is probably the first key to your success and should be your main KPI.

In a year’s time, you should (hopefully!) be driving enough traffic that you can start testing your CTAs to boost conversion rates across your site. So as your business matures, your top KPI might shift to improving CTA clicks.

What’s Your Sales Process?

Product-led growth (PLG) or enterprise sales?

Depending on your sales motion, your content marketing KPIs will likely differ. For example, a company focused on PLG might be more interested in CTA clicks into a free trial. Conversely, a company focused on top-down enterprise sales might be more interested in white paper downloads or using content for sales enablement.

What Are Your Most Effective Marketing Channels?

Most companies have a lot of success with one or two marketing channels and struggle to get traction with every marketing channel.

The most successful companies:

  • Quickly identify their most effective marketing channels.
  • Double down on those channels.
  • Expand into other channels only when they start seeing diminishing returns.

So be sure to set KPIs around the specific channels that work best for you — “net new monthly YouTube subscribers,” for example. This will help you stick to the channel that’s proven to work for you, rather than falling prey to “shiny object syndrome,” which so many of us content marketers are guilty of.

Final Thoughts

Even great content marketing takes time to start making an impact on a business’s bottom line.

Wondering how on earth to measure the success of your content strategy before it starts driving leads?

Pick a few KPIs we’ve outlined here that align with your content strategy's current stage and use those as your North Star. This will give you a much clearer picture of whether your strategy is on the right track than trying to track every content marketing metric all at once.

David Broderick
Content Marketer

David is a freelance content marketer who has written for a number of leading websites in the content marketing and SEO industry. David has been published on Traffic Think Tank and is a moderator in several communities, including Top of the Funnel. He has a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from Northumbria University.

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