How Marketers Measure Content Effectiveness

It is accepted that the effectiveness of content cannot be calculated in a moment - content works gradually and has a cumulative effect. The material in the media will be indexed in a search for several years, and a mailing list can fuel an audience for several months before purchase.

The effectiveness of content is also difficult to monitor for the reason that, as a rule, a company uses several channels of communication. But not all of them have end-to-end analytics implemented. For a business that doesn't have a large marketing department, it's difficult to create dozens or hundreds of segments, evaluate every touch with the audience, and test hypotheses.

With the goal of converting content into money, track these metrics to know what is working and what isn't.

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Goals of content marketing

What goals do companies have when launching a content marketing campaign. 80% name the following:


This is to get potential customers to know about you. First, you need to catch the eye and impress those who have never seen you before. And only then you can try to stay in their memory so that they themselves (or their acquaintances) will turn to you when they have such a need.


The next step after getting to know each other is communication. This is where you have the opportunity to build an emotional connection with your potential clients in order to really get them to like you. And when we say "like", we do not mean likes on Facebook.


So the customer is hooked: he's already with you and has even purchased something. But how do you keep him? How do you win his loyalty? That's right: with content.

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Lead Generation

Whether it's a mailing to a collected database of addresses or a simple question about whether a customer wants to receive your news, content marketing helps you attract truly quality leads.


When you're confident in your product and know your benefits well - you'll have an easier time convincing your audience that you're the one to solve their problems. And that leads to more sales.

Now back to analysis. To understand how far you've progressed toward each of these goals, you have to use different metrics.

Key metrics of content effectiveness

There is a myriad of metrics: you can use those already available or create your own, derived ones. But if there are a number of key metrics that most marketers recognize. Let's walk through them. And let's take a detailed look at what they measure and where you can find them.

Traffic metrics

One of the main goals of any content marketing campaign is to bring visitors to the site. Therefore, traffic needs to be measured. There are hundreds of articles on how to do this, and we'll give you the basics to start with.

First, make sure you've installed Google Analytics correctly. Before you start measuring the traffic, you need to make sure that Google Analytics (or whatever tool you'll be using) is installed and set up correctly. You can try different tools, but Google has one of the most powerful and effective. Especially among the free ones. Besides, it's easy to master.

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Page views or unique views?

Views are one of the main metrics. Every time someone loads your page on any device, you get one view. But there is one problem with this metric.
Imagine a user reading a blog post and clicking on every link in the text. He opens the links in the same tab. And then - goes back. In this case, the counter adds one visit each time. Although in reality the article is read by the same person. But in reports, you will see several dozens of views.

How to solve this problem? Study unique views.

In this metric, one visitor = one view. And it doesn't matter how many times he left and came back, how many times he reloaded the page - but that's as long as he's on the page for no more than 30 minutes (the so-called "session"). This counts as page views from a single device.

It's rather difficult to say for what reason exactly the number of views will exceed the number of unique views since a combination of many different factors does not give a transparent picture. To be more accurate, we recommend tracking unique views specifically. This way you can get more correct figures and estimate traffic more accurately.

It is a good idea to estimate the page views over a longer period of time. Compare the monthly figures and see if they went up or down compared to the previous month. There are a lot of interesting discoveries waiting for you. For example, you'll discover how activity changes: how activity drops off sharply in December and January - and how activity increases in February. And long weekends and holidays are the dead seasons for content.

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Time on Page

This metric is often misinterpreted. It's very important to take it into account: it reflects how much the audience liked your material. If you have two stories of the same type and approximately the same length on two pages, but people spend 30 seconds more there, it means that this story is a better attention-getter. And that's very valuable knowledge.

Bounce rate

This is the percentage of visitors who go to a certain page of the site and then leave without going to other pages. How is this metric usually viewed? High bounce rate - bad. It means that the site did not meet the user's request, he is not interested in interacting with the resource, and therefore immediately leaves it.

In fact, the situation may be the opposite. A high bounce rate can be a sign of a very relevant and detailed page. Judge for yourself: the user got to the site, found there all that he was looking for - and left the resource fully satisfied.

That's when the content is king. Study the time on the page. If it's high, as well as the bounce rate - then everything is fine. If, however, users spend little time on the page - then they do not find what they were looking for, and quickly leave the resource.

How to solve this? Adjust the bounce rate-setting - adapt this metric for yourself. One line of code will generate an automatic "event" for each user who spends a certain amount of time on your site. That way, anyone who visits a page, studies it for three minutes, and closes it down will no longer be included in the bounce rate.

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Engagement Metrics

So, users have come to your site, and now the only thing left to do is to hope that they will interact as actively as possible with its content. Whether it's likes, comments on posts, copying links, and sharing them online, engagement is a sign that people are engaged and invested in your content. It's highly likely that these people will bring in additional traffic and also move on to the next step in the sales funnel.

Different sites have different tools for engagement. The easiest is social media integration. Give users the opportunity to interact with you immediately on the site. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps that can be installed in a few clicks and without programmers.


Many sites that work with content allow users to rate the material. This could be pluses and minuses, votes, etc. The basic principle is simple: the audience directly expresses approval or disapproval. If you already have this tool, start tracking metrics.


Comments can play a cruel trick - but you can't give up on them. Of course, you will have to moderate: delete spam, clean up insults. But overall, it's a direct channel for communicating with your audience.

Set up a commenting system, and you can keep track of at least the total number of comments on each post. It might also be worth calculating the number of comments based on authorship: some authors may blast the blog with more reactions than others.

Another important metric is the number of unique engaged visitors. There aren't many of them everywhere, but the number of newly engaged contributors is just a reflection of the momentum and shows whether you're on the right track.

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Representatives from search engines admit: in general, links remain an important ranking factor. And this is important to consider.

Backlinks, even if they are not always natural and may contain spam, are in most cases a very important advantage in determining the quality of search results.

Keep that in mind. And keep track of which sites are linking to your content. There are many suitable tools. To track incoming links to new content, try Fresh Web Explorer. For previously posted content, try Open Site Explorer (a free tool!). It will give you fairly detailed information about links to your pages, including anchor text used, site and page authority, and an assessment of whether it will be picked up as spam by the all-seeing Google.

Social Metrics

We don't need to tell you how important social media is today. When you dive into the maelstrom of social activity, you'll need to measure performance for every site you're present on. This is usually very easy because of the sites' built-in analytics tools.

There are sites that collect basic information from the most popular social platforms.

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User metrics

Basic metrics are helpful but they don't describe the whole story or help you track exactly what you want. Combine standard metrics and create your own, so you understand how effective your content is and whether content marketing is helping your business.
Share a few ideas.

Average reading depth

(number of words / 200) / (time on site)
An average adult reads about two hundred words per minute. To figure out how much it will take the average adult to read your material, divide the number of words in it by 200. And then divide that figure by the time people spend on the page. This will give you a rough idea of how much of the article they're reading to:

  1. Value = 3: up to 30% of the article
  2. Value = 2: up to the middle of the article
  3. Value = 1.5: two-thirds of the page
  4. Value = 1 and below: the whole page

The more interactive elements you have (videos, infographics) and complex points that require thoughtful reading - the lower the average should be. By default, it should aim for one.


(Number of visits involving viewing at least two pages of the blog) / (Number of visits involving viewing at least one page of the blog)

This is a good metric if you want to understand how much your content engages people and encourages them to read more. The formula looks complicated, but in reality, it's simple. First, take the number of sessions in which a person viewed at least two pages of the blog. Then divide that figure by the total number of visits to the blog. That's how you get the percentage of those who were interested in other articles. The higher it is, the better. In addition, this way, you can understand which materials are more likely to encourage people to get further acquainted with you.

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Approval, distribution, conversion rate

Conversion rate, ROI, and the funnel problem

The metrics you create should help you understand what kind of return a business gets from content marketing. And this is where two extremes meet:

  1. "Content should bring in new customers. But how do you understand and measure which of those people became customers specifically because of content marketing? It's impossible."
  2. "Bosses doubt that content is doing anything for us. I'll show him what kind of return we get from content marketing."

Measuring conversions and ROI is a subtle point. Yes, these metrics are important. But they will change very slowly. Why?

Imagine a classic sales funnel. Almost all content marketing is at the top of it because its job is to attract an audience that didn't know about you before and didn't want to hear about you.

To tie every conversion to content, you'll need to track every single customer's journey from the top to the bottom of the funnel. But it's almost impossible to do that. The only option is to ask dozens of detailed questions of each customer. Find out why he decided to contact you. Torment him and ask him how he first heard about you. You know, not an option.

And unfortunately, it is not always possible to trace.

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There are also nuances. One person often interacts with the content, while another makes decisions and pays for the purchase. Moreover, not every attracted client is equally valuable. If your articles have attracted ten loyal customers who will stay with you for years, then these people are more valuable than hundreds of customers who buy something once - and never return to the site.

And there are many such reasons. Numbers lie. And misleading. But that doesn't mean they aren't important and can be dismissed. You just have to use them wisely.