We love data here at Big Sea. Conversion ratios and click-through rates are our jam. But having a lot of data doesn’t add up to better marketing unless it’s the right data. And to get the right data, you have to be tracking the right key performance indicators for each specific type of content you produce.
Set realistic goals for your content
Enthusiastic but inexperienced marketers—or salespeople posing as marketers—view “conversions” or “sales” as the Holy Grail of all metrics. Expecting that a blog will convert a visitor into a customer, and will do so at the same rate an ebook will convert nurtured leads into customers, is unrealistic. Blogs drive new traffic and encourage return visits. They’re not supposed to sell, so stop measuring their conversion rate.
Before you set a single KPI, map out where each piece of content falls in your buyer’s journey and what the next realistic step is for the buyer after engaging with the content. An easy way to do this is to first put all of your content in a persona journey matrix.
Here’s a quick refresher on the types of content you might have and their traditional function in the buyer’s journey.
Not all KPIs are created equal
The second pitfall marketers fall into is paying equal attention to all the data. There is an overabundance of data available when it comes to digital marketing. You can track everything: views, sessions, new visits, returning visits, sources, referrals, times, clicks, comments, likes, and on and on it goes.
When you measure everything, it’s difficult to decipher which data points reflect movement toward your goals.
The solution is to measure what matters for each type of content. Conversion ratios don’t matter to blogs, but the indicators below do. They show interest, commitment and appreciation. Those emotions can motivate a visitor to take the next step and download a white paper or sign up for a newsletter.
- Visits (obviously)
- Time spent on page
- Depth of scroll
- Social shares
Data is what you make it
Metrics are raw material. Much like lumber is only stacks of wood without a builder, data is only numbers until you analyze it in the context of your goals and your audience. A dip in views might initially be viewed as a negative. Your keywords aren’t working, your blog isn’t driving traffic. Maybe, or maybe the targeted, long-tail keywords in your content are attracting more potential customers and fewer visitors who immediately bounce. Which is more important, page views or actions taken after the view?
Don’t get so caught up in chasing the numbers that you forget to put them in a larger context. It is only when we do so that we can accurately call our findings “insights.”