Measuring performance is a vital aspect of any content marketing program. You need to track how effective your strategies are, and you can only do that when you have metrics to analyze. Here are things to ask when evaluating the KPIs you have set.
Are My Business Goals Aligned with My KPIs?
It’s easy to say that your goals and indicators must align. However, ensuring that they do is a whole other matter. Ask if the KPI or metric you’re using ties to your business goals directly.
For example, if you want to get more conversions from your sales page CTA, you won’t get the best data from your social shares. It’s better to monitor clicks from your email newsletter or an ad about the product or service.
You should also think about whether your KPI takes too long to measure and whether the time it takes is justified. Is this KPI tied to an important business goal? Finally, reflect on how many business goals are aligned with your content marketing efforts. The number should make sense, given the scope of the campaign.
Are the On-Site and Off-Site Metrics Aligned?
When you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, you have to distinguish between how the on-site and off-site assets are doing. The latter refers to materials you release on places controlled by a third party; ads on the Google Display Network and posts on Facebook pages are examples.
On-site and off-site assets will have overlapping areas. They will also have reciprocal returns—your website could bring people to your Facebook page and vice versa.
Ideally, there should be a connection between the two types of content. Your ads should look like they come from the same place design-wise as your website. Your KPIs should show an interaction between these types.
Do your indicators show how independent your content is from each other? Do they show trends or changes that could help you improve your content marketing in the future?
Are the KPIs Producing Actionable Data?
Data is only helpful if you can apply it directly to your campaigns. Ask yourself if the KPIs are actionable—if you can transform the insights you get into strategies.
The data from your KPIs should point to opportunities for improvement or problems you haven’t resolved. Furthermore, you should ask if the data changes will affect the campaign positively or negatively and if you can make adjustments to your campaign based on the data.
Also, determine if the changes would take effect immediately. Do you have enough time to measure your metrics? How long will it take for you to see your campaign’s effects—a week, a month, or more? It will help if you manage your expectations according to the KPIs you choose.
Finally, who can act on the data your KPIs produce? Is it your marketing team, the IT department, or the executives?
What Trends Do the KPIs Reflect?
Besides the big picture, your KPIs must also measure details. Your data should show you how much interest particular keywords or ideas are getting on your site, how it compares with broader movements online, and whether it’s a good idea to pursue this campaign further.
Usually, marketers find emerging trends in the details, and your KPIs should let you analyze data down to the page level. Ask whether these finer data points speak to the big picture—for example, if one of your new pages is attracting traffic or getting click-throughs, it could have implications for the direction of your subsequent strategies. It might form the core of a PPC ad campaign, for example, or a pillar page.
At times, “small” data means nothing. However, you wouldn’t know for sure unless you have several weeks or months’ worth. So, it’s essential to keep monitoring the indicators you chose.
Can Other Teams Use the Data?
In some instances, project heads don’t have the direct knowledge of how to use the data their KPIs generate. So, forwarding it to another team is the best way to get the most value out of the information you collect.
For example, the design team will benefit from having Hotjar data on your website, and CSR or retention teams can use the data people leave in contact forms.
When you add KPIs, identify what groups or teams in your company could take action on them. Note that not all stakeholders need data from all of your campaigns, so be judicious about distributing the information.
Am I Fixating on a Data Point or Set?
Content marketing takes time. It involves several processes which take time and patience to set up, and you need to wait a while for the data and insights to start contributing to the big-picture vision you have for your business. What’s more, many digital campaigns have a real-time view, so you have to exercise sound judgment when dealing with the data, striking a balance between acting quickly and prudently.
Marketers have to deal with data from different platforms. A common problem among them and business owners is that they tend to get fixated on a particular data set or data point at the expense of addressing other problems or forming solutions from other angles.
Another tendency is to want to get positive numbers for everything remotely related to your strategy. Don’t chase after vanity metrics—for every KPI you set, know what business decision you can make out of it. Also, go after KPIs that produce data you can reproduce. For example, while it’s exciting for any brand to trend on social media, it’s typically hard to manufacture virality. It also does little for the company’s bottom line.
Focus on tangible results that generate actual ROI for your business, not things that will bring “exposure” but little else. Content production, search optimization, and pay-per-click ads are areas that warrant reinvestments.
When you’re setting your business’ metrics and KPIs, you need to think critically. Implementing a strategy or launching a campaign without KPIs or choosing indicators arbitrarily will hurt your marketing efforts in the long run.
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