Content for content’s sake is far too common in the B2B world. Companies often produce weekly blog posts, failing to ask themselves if their efforts bring them any closer to their goals. Another common faux pas is to let sales content grow stale, trusting that it will be as effective now as it was three years ago.
You should regularly monitor your content’s performance using the right KPIs. The resulting findings can help you concentrate production on strategies that will yield greater ROI and identify harmful shortcomings within your company’s messaging.
Upper Funnel Marketing Content Metrics
Examples of B2B marketing content built to increase brand awareness and authority include blog articles, webinars, and podcasts. Their shared intention is to educate rather than self-promote. Therefore, you want metrics that measure the quality of the engagement rather than expect such interactions to immediately lead to new deals. Upper funnel content KPIs include:
Inbound Visits and Click-Through Rate
The number of people you draw to the site using the content is the culmination of many factors. For instance, two LinkedIn posts promoting the same piece could perform wildly differently based on the supporting visual and headline. Similarly, if using the content to attract visitors from Google search results, the outcome is heavily dependent upon the PPC ad or on-page SEO optimization.
Consider the number of inbound visits to a piece, nonetheless. After all, it highlights the content themes for which your audiences hunger.
To further deepen your understanding, estimate the click-through-rate. To do this, reflect upon how many people had the opportunity to interact with the content promotion in the first place; many marketing tools will provide this data, including those for email management, PPC campaigns, and social media.
Internal Page Visits from Elsewhere on the Site
Though similar to the above point, this metric is worth calling out on its own. How your visitors navigate the site illuminates their priorities. Consider which top navigation links users ignore and if certain pages frequently cause them to return to the homepage or leave the site entirely; these are clear indications that users hit “dead-ends” within the site flow.
Time On Page and Other Engagement
So what happens when people arrive at the materials? Ideally, the content immediately grabs and holds their attention, inspiring them to click deeper. But this isn’t always the case.
To gauge how well visitors receive a piece, use measurements like time-on-page, on-page clicks, page scrolls, and bounce rate. Keep in mind, you’re not only assessing the caliber of the written elements, but also the imagery. If the majority of page visitors immediately leave in less than 10 seconds, your problem doesn’t lie with the 2,000-word article you wrote, but rather the first impression your visual presentation provides.
Subsequent Actions Taken
So, let’s say that upper-funnel users like the piece. What would be the ideal action for them to take? Perhaps it would be downloading a gated asset or subscribing for more materials. Make sure that you have a clear answer to this question, display the desired call-to-action in an eye-catching manner, and measure accordingly.
Lower Funnel Marketing Content
There are two content types that fall under this classification: lead generating (which you measure through the number of qualifying opportunities) and sales enablement (measured through the number of closed deals). Expand your understanding by using data to answer:
- Which sales enablement content leads to bigger deals or upselling?
- Which content works best with which sales channel (direct vs. partners)?
- Does your domestic content work for international prospects?
- Are certain prospect types underserved by your content offering?
While it’s possible to answer these questions through manual tracking, it’s recommended to leverage a CRM and/or PRM.
How to Respond to the B2B Marketing Content Data
Metrics in hand, what do you do next? Do the following to refine your overall B2B content strategy:
Break down your data by audience types – Firstly, you’ll want to filter out unqualified audiences that thwart your measurements. Then take this one step further to compare the content’s performance with different groups. Perhaps a piece works well with American audiences but fails to connect with EMEA readers. Similarly, the messaging for a COO should greatly vary from that intended for a CSO. Making such distinctions can identify gaps within your content library.
Formulate and test hypotheses – Content data gives the end result, but now you must figure out the why by doing one of the following:
- Create anonymous surveys or user testing exercises to collect additional user insights
- A/B test designs, headers, email subject lines, and more
Invest in new strategies and do side-by-side comparisons of performance data.
Double down on what’s working and say goodbye to what doesn’t – When faced with competitive marketplaces and impatient audiences, refusal to let go of obsolete content can hurt you in ways you may not realize.
A bloated materials library is harder to maintain, meaning that outdated imagery, broken links, or off-brand messaging may linger longer than you realize. Plus, subpar or excess pages can also hurt your SEO.
You don’t always have to throw out an entire piece. Instead, extract elements that other content can leverage, much in the same way a mechanic will salvage parts from a broken car.
When done right, content analysis and improvement is a never-ending quest. Consistently visit the above KPIs to strengthen the audience’s experience at all stages of their journey.