Metrics and KPIs: How to Measure Content Marketing Performance

Updated: September 11, 2023
Best Marketing Agency KPIs to Track Your Growth

Need content for your business? Find top writers on WriterAccess!

Content marketing is one of the most valuable strategies to grow a customer base, but it’s essential to know how to measure content marketing performance. I am an ongoing advocate for a comprehensive content strategy, which also needs a way to measure content performance to be effective.

So what metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) matter when tracking your successes or identifying failures? How do you know you have high-performing content? First, let’s distinguish between metrics and KPIs.

What’s the Difference: Metrics vs. KPIs

Metrics and KPIs are commonly confused. Both are important, but KPIs are the key measures that will have the most significant impact and move the business forward. They clearly define and provide insight into what needs to be measured and achieved to reach your overall content marketing objectives.

Metrics also provide data about your content marketing performance but are general in their measurements, and they are not the most critical metrics you need to measure and monitor.

Think of the terms like this: KPIs help define your clear focus and strategy, while metrics are the “business as usual” measures that add value but aren’t critical. Every KPI is a metric, but not every metric can be a KPI.

Metrics to Watch

Here are the metrics considered to matter most as measurement standards for B2B content marketing strategy.


Traffic is the starting point for everything else that gets measured. Of course, a website with little or no traffic is pointless.

When looking at your traffic, often in Google Analytics, you’ll consider the primary sources of your traffic, times and days when people visit your site, and the content that brings the most viewers.

It’s important to analyze if traffic gets to the site from your content efforts across channels. Also crucial is the amount of organic traffic you receive, meaning users find you through a search because your content is ranking and relevant.

Click-through-rate (CTR)

CTR matters if you’re paying for pay-per-click marketing campaigns, but it will also tell you if your meta titles and descriptions are getting the attention of those searching online. Using the Google “Search Analytics” feature in Google Search Console, you can see the pages that receive the most clicks and the rate of click-throughs.

Used in conjunction with PPC campaigns, CTR is a core element to knowing if people are clicking on your ads.

Time on site

A general but valuable measurement, time on site tells you if your site engages your audience overall. This metric is a way to gauge whether site design, general content, and performance work to your advantage. All of the great content in the world means nothing if people spend little time engaging with it.

Time on page

Seeing how long users spend on your pages of content can explain how engaging it is and the content types that keep users on the site. If you see that a specific page is not getting attention, it tells you that the content is not as effective as you had hoped and should be reviewed to learn why it’s not sticky.

Pages with more than 3-5 minutes perform exceptionally well and indicate that content works.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate refers explicitly to the number of people that navigate away from your website as soon as they land on it. Things that could be driving them away could include the content on the page, poor user experience, or a website that is slow to load.

Social media shares

Knowing the content shared or liked most on social media is an insight into its effectiveness and importance to your audience. Social media management software is an excellent way to track the efficacy and manage social media posts across platforms.

Keyword rankings

Knowing how your site ranks for keywords directly correlates with your organic traffic. If you’re ranking highly for specific keywords, your content has value to search engines and users. Remember, this metric won’t tell you about your traffic, but you can see the volume of searches for specific keywords and ensure you’re producing the right content.

Yes, there are still many more metrics that could be considered, maybe too many at times, but these tend to be the metrics that provide the most information regarding your content performance. Now let’s get to the KPIs.

Marketing KPIs

As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to confuse metrics and KPIs, and understanding which KPIs are important to you is the key to how to measure content marketing performance

By searching for “important content marketing KPIs,” you’ll find sites listing many of the metrics listed above as KPIs. I wouldn’t consider things like traffic or keyword rankings to be in your KPI categories because they should be minimum expectations for how to judge campaign effectiveness.

The most important aspect of setting KPIs is that they match your defined goals, and your content marketing agency can help you determine what those need to be. Here are some KPIs that can tell you the most about your content marketing success and get the customer to the ultimate end goal of being profitable.

CTR of internal links

You designed your content to establish thought leadership, but the ultimate goal is a sale or a customer connection that can result in a deal. Your content likely includes a call-to-action (CTA) that guides your audience to purchase, try a demo, or contact your sales team for more information. Knowing which internal content is getting the results you need is essential, and the more people click through your funnel, the closer you are to a sale.

Session-to-contact rate

Session-to-contact rate is simply the percentage of visitors that convert, meaning they download your e-book, fill out a form, or sign up for your mailing list. Knowing this KPI is necessary to optimize your conversion rate and create leads that could soon be deemed worthy of sending to sales by your marketing group.

Returning visitors

A potential contact might not act on the first visit, and the more times they return, means your content is compelling. Google Analytics gives you essential information on new versus returning visitors, such as time ranges, pages visited, and demographic data.

Marketing qualified lead (MQL)

An MQL is a lead that marketing has vetted to determine a higher chance of a sale. This lead would have worked its way down your funnel and is determined by criteria such as web pages visited, what content was downloaded, or interaction with social posts.

This KPI matters as you guide your audience to become customers.

Sales qualified lead (SQL)

The ultimate KPI is when a potential customer has made it down your content funnel, become an MQL sent to sales, and finally converted to an SQL. Now the sales team is saying this is a good lead that we will be pursuing because there is a high likelihood of converting this person to a customer.

Once your company has a customer, you can review the ROI of your marketing efforts, customer acquisition cost, revenue per customer, and other completion metrics.

KPIs and metrics may be different, but both come together to tell a story. Start with your general metrics and work down to the KPIs that matter. By doing so, you are setting the company up for content success that produces sales.

Writer Access has the most talented team to help you establish and measure a comprehensive content strategy. Try a 14-day free trial and start moving buyers down the funnel to a purchase.


Human Crafted Content

Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

Human Crafted Content

Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

Subscribe to our blog

Sign up to receive Rock Content blog posts

Rock Content WriterAccess - Start a Free Trial

Order badass content with WriterAccess. Just as we do.

Find +15,000 skilled freelance writers, editors, content strategists, translators, designers and more for hire.

Want to receive more brilliant content like this for free?

Sign up to receive our content by email and be a member of the Rock Content Community!

Talk to an expert and enhance your company’s marketing results.

Rock Content offers solutions for producing high-quality content, increasing organic traffic, building interactive experiences, and improving conversions that will transform the outcomes of your company or agency. Let’s talk.