Marketers in engineering sectors need to know exactly how their technical marketing communications activities are working in terms of engagement, lead generation and conversions. However, it is essential to use the most appropriate metrics as marketers that fail to justify their investments (time, money and resources) could not only see their budgets slashed but will remain in the dark on how to evolve their marketing strategy. Luckily, the advent of digital technology means it’s now possible to gather lots of detailed data. By tracking relevant metrics marketers can see how their content is resonating with prospects and customers. They can then identify the actions viewers take after engaging with that content.
Technical marketers are using metrics to track success
In the CIM 2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing study 70% of marketers revealed that their organisation uses metrics to prove that content marketing boosts lead generation. 46% of those questioned said they could also prove, via metrics, that content marketing increases sales. The following metrics can help you reveal whether your marketing communications are leading to tangible results:
1. Page visits
It’s essential to gather basic metrics around the people who have viewed your online content. This will give you an idea of how well your strategy is performing. Consider measuring the following content ‘consumption’ metrics:
- Number of unique visitors to a page (e.g. a blog page) on your site.
- Pageviews: How many times has a page been viewed?
- Unique Pageviews: This metric combines the pageviews generated by one user during one session.
These ‘consumption’ metrics can be used in conjunction with Google Analytics insights (which include depth of scroll). You could track a user’s geographic location, their source (i.e. which marketing channel a visitor comes from) and whether they are on mobile devices. If, for example, it turns out most users were on mobile use more easy-to-view content formats (like videos or infographics) in future.
2. Email open rates
Email headlines play a big part in your communications collateral, so it makes sense to A/B test (a.k.a. split test) these to increase open rates. As well as open rates, measure the number of clicks your emails are getting – and where these clicks are going. Are subscribers following links to certain blog posts or other areas on your site? Once you’ve measured clickthrough’s you can see which pieces of content are looking most attractive to users.
You need to get a detailed understanding of how your audience is engaging with your content. According to the Digital Marketing Institute
“visitors who read an article for 3 minutes return twice as often as those who read for one minute.”
Key engagement metrics to look out for include
- Average time spent on a page. If the average time on page is two minutes on one blog post and five on another there’s a clear indication of a preferred content type.
- Pages/sessions: Measure the total number of pages a user visits in a session to give you an indication of how they’re engaging with your content.
- New versus returning visitors: How many people are engaging regularly with your content?
- Referral traffic: Which websites are sharing and linking to your content?
4. Social media
Social sharing of your content is another key metric to track. Within the advanced engineering sectors, shares on LinkedIn generally rank higher than shares on e.g. Facebook. That’s because LinkedIn shares reflect someone’s willingness to endorse your content to their peers. Measure
- Shares, retweets or any other channel-specific social share metrics to demonstrate the reach of your content and whether it’s deemed shareworthy.
- Comments: It takes far more effort to post than read so this shows a high level of engagement. For Twitter include mentions and tweets, linking to you.
- Followers: New followers have made a conscious decision to receive your content.
It can be hard tracking the native analytics of each of your social channels. To get an overview use a tool like Buzzsumo. This gives you data on social shares, where they came from, content type, length and backlinks.
5. Conversion metrics
According to the Content Marketing Institute, sales, lead generation and lead nurturing are among the top goals for content marketers. Accordingly, tracking the ROI of your content marketing is key. Break it down into the following aspects:
- Lead generation: Set up goals in Google Analytics to enable you to measure to what extent you’re achieving target objectives via your website’s content. Goals could include number of newsletter sign ups, brochure downloads or contact form completions. Track the total number of conversions accordingly.
- Goal conversion rate: This is the number of conversions divided by the number of visitors.
- Conversion tracking on social helps you measure the ROI of promoted content by reporting on the action’s users take after seeing promoted content.
Setting the right metrics is crucial when it comes to marketing communications. And these metrics must be based on legitimate data that’s readily available. Your CRM can provide daily reports in many areas and automatically calculate KPIs to help you monitor and change course when necessary. Google Analytics is another useful source of information when it comes to monitoring performance. Remember though when it comes to metrics more isn’t always better. Make sure your marketing metrics are strictly relevant. Otherwise collecting data can become a burden that cuts into productivity.