As they say, you can only expect what you inspect. So what content marketing metrics are you using to monitor your team’s progress?
While personally satisfying, higher ed marketing is difficult and complicated work.
And although it sounds crazy, marketing is difficult and complicated whether you’re making good progress or going backwards.
It is possible to stay busy creating and publishing content, and still fail to reach your goals.
The only way to know you’re making real progress is to measure your audience’s response to your marketing efforts.
Analyzing your audience’s behavior when they encounter your content will let you know whether your messaging is working…
Or if you’re just spinning your wheels.
So in order to help keep you and your team from wasting precious resources, here’s a brief guide to content marketing metrics.
This guide can help you gain clarity on the results you’re actually getting from your digital marketing and determine the right decisions for your messaging going forward.
Establish the content marketing metrics you’ll track.
Here are some content marketing metrics I recommend setting goals for.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it can serve as a good start.
Website Content Marketing Metrics
- Website Pageviews: The total number of times a page has been loaded.
- Sessions: A single visit to your website.
- Bounce Rate: Percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page.
- Users: The total number of unique visitors to your website according to Google Analytics. This is quite useful as pageviews counts each time a person visits your site, even if they are a repeat visitor. This shows you the unique people visiting.
- Average Time on Page: The average time a user spends on a page.
- Pages per Session: The average number of pages viewed during a single session. This is a great metric for understanding the amount of engagement you’re getting on your website.
A few great tools (some of which we’ve used and continue to use) to track website analytics are:
- Impressions: When a user sees an advertisement on Google (or social media).
- Average Position: The placement of your advertisements compared to other advertisements.
- Backlinks: Website links from other sites to your site.
Social Media Metrics
- Reach: Utilizing Facebook Insights, this measures the number of users the page and posts have reached. This will provide a better understanding of the successful posts and how they are being received by the audience.
- Engaged Users: While a “like” may indicate a one-time interaction, the Engaged Users metric within Facebook Insights will better provide data on the number of users who are actually engaging regularly with your content.
- Click-Through Rate for External Links: All posts in all channels of social media should have a unique, trackable link to measure the click-through rate. This will provide metrics to the engagement levels beyond Facebook Insights and provide information on the most relevant and useful posts. The goal should be to increase this number on a regular basis. Use Google URL Builder to generate custom and trackable URLs back to your site.
- New Likes: While we don’t recommend using “Likes” as a metric of success, it will be good to measure when new content is identified as worthy of a like. You can then use this metric in developing original and shared content based on the types of posts that engage your audience most.
- Followers: As followers grow, so do the opportunities for engagement. We recommend using tools such as Spokal or Commun.it to grow followers. These tools allow the automation of things like favoriting keywords and finding hashtags with geo-specific locations.
- Click-Through Rate: All posts in all channels of social media should have a unique, trackable link to measure the click-through rate. This will provide metrics to the engagement levels beyond the basic metrics and provide information on the most relevant and useful posts.
For more information on social media analytics, check out this post.
Set your content marketing goals.
Once you know the kinds of content marketing metrics you’ll be tracking, it’s time to set up some goals.
If you already have some information on your marketing’s performance, you can use that data to help align your expectations.
But if you don’t have any metrics yet, no worries!
Here, we have to make an educated guess.
What can you reasonably expect to achieve with your current brand reach?
Some educational institutions will have greater brand reach, especially schools with larger student populations, long histories, or successful athletic departments.
These schools will need to set the bar high.
At the same time, smaller, more tightly mission-focused schools will need to begin setting their goals at a more reasonable level.
Wherever you begin, the important thing is to keep growing.
When you begin tracking your content marketing metrics, it’s unlikely that you’ll hit your goals perfectly.
You’ll need to analyze your results, adjust your goals, and then continue to monitor your results.
The point of setting goals is to keep you moving towards growth.
Grow the level of engagement on your site. Expand your brand reach. Improve your enrollment numbers.
Reassess and update your strategy.
The power of content marketing metrics is that they will give you hard evidence to show whether you need to make changes to your messaging or marketing strategy overall.
You’ve only got so much time and other resources available to you.
So if you’re going to tweak or overhaul your strategy, you’ll need some good justification to back up that decision.
Tracking metrics will also help clarify which components of your strategy need to be changed.
As you collect the metrics on your content, put some time on the calendar to take a break and analyze them.
Then, adjust course as you see how far you’ve come since you set your goals.
Personally, I recommend short monthly meetings of about a half hour to review the data.
But then hold longer analysis meetings quarterly to go deep into what the numbers are saying and make adjustments.
Believe me, the clarity you’ll get from these analytic meetings is an instant stress reliever as you’ll no longer be guessing how things are going.
And you’ll know better how to move forward.
That’s a great feeling.
For more help on advancing your education brand, contact us today!
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