Tracking the wrong metrics can wreck you marketing ROI. Avoid these!
I have been involved in content marketing, inbound marketing, and social marketing for over a decade. As a user, services, and technology provider. As the CEO of SaturnOne, I get to see what people are doing. I also personally talk with 100s of content marketers and agency owners.
My two biggest pet peeves (why I created SaturnOne) are that we do not measure conversions and we do not correlate the real-life content engagement to leads or better yet revenue! Obviously, this is not easy as content marketing and SEO are often not a direct or simple funnel. It is common to have visitors visit 6 to 8 times over several months before any conversion event. Now, without cookies, it is even harder. But it is possible and can be done even as a small business or marketing agency.
My third peeve is the way we and Google Analytics 4 measure engagement. This metric as usually done, if at all, is more in alignment with e-commerce than content marketing and its value. At least Google Analytics 4 reduced the dominance of Bounce rate which I personally believe is only harmful to content marketing and its conversion lifecycle. Like the other analytics mistakes, these focuses just hurt your long-term success.
Focusing solely on vanity metrics, such as pageviews, likes, and shares, without understanding how they impact your business goals.
This falls into two categories: actions, such as the number of articles published and social sharing; or, simple metrics such as pageviews, neither of which correlated to lead generation or bottom-line revenue.
So why do marketers and agencies often focus on this? That is easy to understand…the easiest path. As I mentioned above, measuring the real value is hard with Google Analytics… shameless plug, and why we created SaturnOne to make it accessible to ordinary marketers…ones without a large tech team and data analysts and 100s of hours of effort.
These next two are corollaries to vanity metrics:
2. Focusing too much on short-term metrics and failing to measure long-term ROI, which can impact your ability to justify investment in content marketing over time.
Measuring too many metrics at once leads to confusion and difficulty in making data-driven decisions. I’ve experienced this personally more than once and seen at least half the people I’ve talked with about analytics.
In this case study, a SaturnOne customer was doing the all-to-common things of looking at all the data and still not being able to understand how visitors were engaging or converting. “Our team was struggling with Google Analytics, HotJar, and multiple apps, and still not being able to track our calls-to-actions.” I hear this often. Data and tools do not equal understanding. The key is to seamlessly and easily connect information. So hard, often with many tools.
This should be a no-brainer for any marketing, right? But for websites and content marketing, the only conversion often considered is a lead. While yes, it is a conversion it is not all. Unfortunately, with many websites, forms are often 3rd party and not measured due to the technical obstacles with Google Analytics and Tag Manager and custom coding needed. So they settle for the number of leads collected only.
Other conversion things to consider include:
For these SaturnOne has a Conversion Dashboard, Customer Journey tools, Path Explorers (that include forms, conversions, and links), a Content Performance dashboard, Session Recording, and more.
A corollary to this is:
5. Relying on flawed attribution models that don't accurately track the impact of your content marketing efforts on the customer journey.
First touch, last touch, or the most common…none. This is hard. Especially without strong cookies or tools. Having one tool instead of 4 makes this much easier and can save you time and money in the process. Unfortunately, until SaturnOne this required many tools or expensive enterprise platforms.
Not segmenting your campaigns, conversions, tracking audience or engagement by persona, or content leading to missed opportunities to optimize content for specific segments.
Again this can require a lot of effort and complex and expensive tools. Or one good tool and planning ahead.
As we do a lot of full-service analytics consulting and work, some simple planning and execution can help you here and connect effort to results.
Not setting clear goals and objectives for your content marketing campaigns, making it difficult to measure success and improve performance over time.
While driving more traffic is often the case… do not let it be a vanity metric. For example, for SaturnOne we can drive 10 times the traffic from Facebook over LinkedIn. However, the value of LinkedIn's smaller traffic is 3-times Facebooks. How do we know? One of our goals is to measure it… actually each step of the engagement and conversion process.
This brings me to the next two:
8 .Not aligning your KPIs with your business goals and overall marketing strategy, leading to disconnected efforts and missed opportunities.
Not using data to inform content creation and distribution decisions, leading to missed opportunities to optimize your content for better performance and ROI. Too often writers just create content to drive traffic or click that does not drive quality leads.
Failing to track metrics over time, making it difficult to see trends and make data-driven decisions about changes in your content marketing efforts.
As I previously mentioned not all traffic is created equally. Not all content is equal. Not all conversions and leads are equal. See our free ebook, “Learn How To Double Your Monthly Revenue Growth” for a case study on this. In this, I was able to track conversions and customer flow to see a simple way that we were able to double our customer conversion rate. We added a content nurturing step for those who showed interest, but were not ready to move forward. With content nurturing, over time we doubled revenue… and used this insight to help others.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can better measure the impact of your content marketing efforts and make data-driven decisions to improve performance over time.
Here are some articles that discuss the top KPI and analytics mistakes for content marketing and provide insights on how to avoid them:
These resources provide valuable insights and advice on how to avoid common content marketing measurement mistakes and ensure that you are tracking the right metrics to measure the success of your content marketing campaigns.