Are you thinking about creating a content marketing dashboard, but not sure the best place to start?
Content marketing dashboards are an absolute MUST if you're trying to increase your organic traffic.
They allow you to track your most valuable KPIs so you can feel confident that your content strategy is paying off.
And while every content marketing dashboard will be different, there are a few common metrics that most will need to have. So, in today's post, we're going to go over the top 9 KPIs you need to consistently track.
But first, let's get clear on what a content marketing dashboard is and why you might want to build one (or something similar).
A content marketing dashboard is a tool that allows a marketer to keep track of the performance of all their content marketing efforts.
It's usually easy to use, customizable, and up-to-date with your latest data so you have an overall picture of how everything is performing at a glance.
In short, content marketing dashboards provide marketers with the insight they need in order to make better, more strategic decisions about how to grow their organic traffic.
Even though you may already know your most important content KPIs (and you should), it's still tough to keep track the day-to-day activities that go into growing organic traffic.
Having a content marketing dashboard will save you time and allow you to focus on the activities that generate the best results.
And whenever you want to look at the data you need, all you'll have to do is log into your dashboard.
At the end of this post, we're going to cover an alternative to dashboards that I believe to be more effective.
But more on that in a bit.
For now, let's look at 9 KPIs every content marketing dashboard needs to have.
First things first, you need to know which portion of your traffic is coming to your organically.
And to measure this accurately, you'll want to track both traffic coming from search engines (organic) and referrals.
Well, if you're running an eCommerce site like Hobby Lobby, then the majority of your organic traffic may come from Google searches (i.e., someone types in "painters tape" into their browser).
However, someone could also land on your site by clicking on a referral link (i.e., someone clicks on an affiliate link that says "painters tape" and lands on Hobby Lobby's site) that has the same keywords in the anchor text.
So it will be important for you to distinguish between both types of organic traffic (we'll talk talk about referral traffic in a bit).
In order to track your organic traffic, you'll first want to set up a UTM tagging strategy.
Don't know how UTMs work? Check out this helpful post to get you started: UTMs: What They Are & How to Use Them.
In addition to tracking your organic traffic, you'll also want to track how many people are taking a desired action on your site (i.e., filling out a lead form, joining a webinar, etc.).
If your conversion rates aren't what they should be, then you may need to rethink your content strategy and the type of content that you're sharing.
After all, content marketing is expensive.
If you're spending hours (or even weeks) creating content, you want to make sure that the time spent is paying off. And while organic traffic is important, what's more important is getting your content in front of people who are likely to convert into customers or subscribers.
In other words, traffic can easily turn into a vanity metric. But your conversion rates are always moving the needle forward, if only but slightly.
Another important metric to track is how long people are staying on your site.
Why? You want your content marketing efforts to be driving people into the sales funnel, not out of it.
Ideally, you want people who are coming to your site via organic search or referrals to spend a decent amount of time reading your content.
For example, if someone is coming to your site after searching for "paint rollers" and they only spend a few seconds on your page before clicking back to Google or closing their browser window, then that's telling you that people who are searching for roller paint aren't finding the information they're looking for on your site.
(And that your content could likely use some improvements).
Also, in addition to tracking how much time someone is spending on your site, you'll also want to track whether they're bouncing back or staying put.
Bounce rates can be an easy way to find out whether or not people are finding the information they need from Google's search results (yes, there are other search engines, but let's be honest... we're mainly talking about Google here).
If you notice bounce rates are too high, it might mean you're ranking for keywords that are not targeted to YOUR audience.
Another important metric that you'll want to track is the average length of somebody's session on your site.
Generally, according to Google Analytics, a "session" starts when someone first lands on your website and ends 30 minutes after they've left.
An "average session duration" would be the total time spent on your site divided by number of sessions.
While you can eventually remove this metric as you nail your content strategy, it's a great indicator for people to identify weaknesses in their sales funnels.
Let's say that you've increased your organic traffic and have increased your conversion rates.
Now it's time to start tracking conversions from leads to sales.
What metrics do you need to track?
One of the most important things is tracking how many people are clicking on a link from your content to a product page.
If you notice that people are not clicking on these links, then perhaps your call to action (CTA) isn't as prominent or enticing as it should be.
Alternatively, if you're noticing that people are clicking on the CTA, but they're closing their browser window (i.e., abandoning their shopping carts) before checking out, that's a bad sign as well.
In other words, a high content CTR is a great indicator of how valuable your content is to your reader.
It also helps you create more effective funnels as you learn which pieces of content convert and which ones don't.
This one will definitely change from business to business, but it's worth noting.
You've got to keep track of how many new people are following you on social media, especially after publishing a piece of content.
But remember, don't focus on just the number of followers, likes, or shares you get IF you're a larger company.
Those are great metrics, but not KPIs.
A better piece of data is understanding the percentage of your social growth rates (X% of growth in followers, comments, likes, etc.).
Again, this is mostly for companies with an established social media presence (with thousands of followers already).
If you're just starting, feel free to track the number as it can be a nice boost for morale as you see more people joining your social accounts.
Referral traffic is also known as "direct" traffic (or inbound).
This metric can help you identify how well your overall content strategy is doing.
By tracking this, you can see whether or not more people are finding your site through a search engine, as compared to using a direct link from another website.
This is important because it helps you understand where the majority of your organic traffic is coming from. And it's particularly useful if guest blogging is a part of your content strategy.
That way, you'll know which 3rd-party sites are sending you the most traffic/leads, so you can nurture a stronger relationship with that business.
In the past, we've been able to track metrics such as traffic growth and social media growth.
But today's marketers and business owners know that it takes something more than just generating leads and gaining followers.
You've got to actually be profitable.
People want to see revenue along with other KPIs because, at the end of the day, this is how businesses grow.
So if you're not tracking revenue, you might as well not be tracking anything because it doesn't matter if your content strategy isn't paying off.
Remember, this isn't necessarily revenue ONLY from content marketing (though it's obviously better if it is).
That's because content marketing can be tough to track accurately, even for professionals. But if you're running content marketing and your entire business revenue continues to increase, that's a great sign.
For example, you might have a social media post that leads people to an article. But then that article gets them to sign up to your webinar.
From the webinar, you get a sale.
In theory, this sale should go to the social media post (which put someone in your funnel). But that will only show if you have a first-touch attribution tracking model AND everything is set up correctly.
In lots of cases, the webinar would end up getting credit for the sale even though it wasn't working in a vacuum.
So remember, content marketing is messy. But so long as your revenue's growth rate continues to increase, you'll know something about your strategy is helping (or at least isn't hurting).
In the last tip, we mentioned that revenue can be seen globally to make sure there aren't any problems with your content marketing strategy.
This one's a bit different. This is where you assess how much revenue you CAN accurately track with how much time/money you're spending on that content creation.
"Time" is usually the one people forget about. But whether it's YOUR time or someone else's, you're still paying for those hours.
So if you're looking to prove that your content marketing efforts are worthwhile, track both dollars and time.
That way, you can find out if it's actually worth hiring a writer to keep creating new pieces of content. Or maybe you should spend more money getting your articles in front of the right people on social media or through search engine optimization (SEO).
That said, content marketing can take a long time before it starts showing results. That means this KPI is best if you've been working on your content marketing strategy for 6+ months though, ideally, it'd be 1+ year.
Ok, so these have been 9 KPIs you should track with your content marketing dashboard.
Before wrapping up this post, let's bring up a better solution for tracking all these metrics.
Content marketing dashboards ARE very handy. And don't get me wrong, I think they're incredibly useful in the right contexts.
But I also believe there's a better solution out there: reports.
So what's the difference? I can sum it up in ONE word: flexibility.
With marketing dashboards, you need to log into your dashboard or remind your clients/team to do so.
With reports, you can SEND that data to the right people and at the most effective times.
Plus, it's just easier to personalize a marketing reports.
Imagine you need to send two reports, one to a client and one to your agency's stakeholders.
A lot of the information overlaps, but the data isn't totally identical.
With a dashboard, you'd need to create a whole new page and user login information to make this work. Then you'd need to follow-up with your client AND your stakeholder to make sure they actually looked at it.
But with reports, you can quickly create and automate data with custom metrics. Then, in just a few clicks, you can duplicate and modify that report for someone else.
That's why I always recommend using a tool like Metrics Watch:
Metrics Watch is hands down one of the best report building tools on the market.
It syncs up with all of your marketing platforms, such as:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Ads
- Facebook (paid and organic)
- Instagram (paid and organic)
- LinkedIn (paid and organic)
- And more...
Plus, this tool has a drag and drop visual builder, so you don't need any code or technical skills to build reports FAST.
And finally, the best part about Metrics Watch is how the KPIs are shared. When you build a content marketing report, you'll send that data to people's email inbox.
Not with a PDF. And not with a link to a 3rd-part dashboard.
Instead, the KPIs are IN the email itself, along with visual graphs, charts, and lists of your choosing.
But why keep reading when you can take it for a spin? Click below to start your 100% risk-free Metrics Watch account today (no credit card required):
And that's it for now! These have been 9 content marketing dashboard KPIs that you should start tracking today.
Enjoy this post? Then you'll definitely want to check out the following resources:
- SEO Reports for Clients Made Easy
- Agency Rank Tracker: 8 Tools You Need
- White Label Content 101: Who to Hire & What to Track