Every Little Word logo

The Most Important Content Marketing Metrics to Track

Clients often ask, “How do I know if my content marketing is successful?” 

Luckily, there is an app for that! 

In fact, there’s so much marketing data available to business owners today that it’s easy to experience information overload. But you don’t need an exhaustive list of data points to see how your content performs. A few specific high-level metrics may be enough to deliver the insights you need. 

Avoid Data Drama

Let’s talk data drama—and how to avoid it. Data is what you make of it, not just raw numbers. Metrics can be sliced and diced to fit many narratives and serve many purposes. 

Don’t let yourself get lost in the reports, stalled in action because you’re waiting for the data to make the next step clearer. Two rules will help you track and measure data at an executive level:

1. Track enough data to be meaningful

It’s important to amass enough data to make meaningful assumptions and informed decisions. Insufficient data doesn’t allow you to see the complete picture—and leads to data drama. 

We like to have a minimum of six months of data before making any big decisions.

Ideally, we recommend tracking your metrics month over month and, perhaps more importantly, comparing prior periods (this time this year to this time last year), to understand how your marketing efforts impact your business. Monthly tracking provides insights into current engagement, but two months (i.e., two data points) do not make a trend. Don’t pivot your plan or revamp your strategy because February looked different from January. 

It’s also important to consider seasonal factors. While not every business is as seasonal as, say, a snow plowing company, most have annual rhythms, even if those rhythms are subtle. Your audience may be more open to your messaging during certain times of the year. The sales cycle may be longer or shorter based on unique factors in your industry. You won’t uncover these subtle but meaningful trends until you have a couple of years of information. 

2. Track what matters, not what’s available

The abundance of data can make some business leaders feel compelled to act in service of improving every metric. Resist the temptation to take on (and act on) too much. Metrics exist to help make informed decisions, and it’s important to understand the purpose of a piece of content in the context of your overall marketing strategy before taking action. 

For example, if you’re trying to create a social media strategy that builds a strong community, you may prioritize certain kinds of engagement (comments, likes, shares) over others (link clicks). And once you make those decisions, your content will likely reflect those priorities—so there may be fewer links to click in the first place! When you go to evaluate content performance, make sure you’re doing so based on the original priorities that you set for that initiative. 

Metrics to Track for Blogs, Emails, and Social Media

The ideal metrics to track vary from one content medium to the next. When tracking any metrics, first establish a baseline, then look for steady improvement over time. 


With blogs, the goal is generally more everything—more traffic, more new users, and more time spent on pages. 

Website traffic. Track the number of monthly pageviews (visits). 

Number of users. Keep an eye on how many people are coming to your website, including new and repeat visitors. 

Traffic sources and referrals. How are people getting to your site? If a high percentage of them come from search engines, your SEO strategy is working—yay! 

Bounce rate. This is just about the only metric you’ll want to see decrease over time. A “bounce” means a user visited a single page on your site but didn’t stick around to check out anything else. Decreasing your bounce rate means increasing the number of pages the average user visits on your site in a single session.

Top performing pages. Find out which blog posts perform the best, look at highly trafficked pages, and evaluate time on page metrics to see where your audience spends their time. This information can help reveal interesting trends and inform future content pieces. 

Keywords. You can use a platform, including the free Google Search Console, to position-track keywords and see where you rank on search engines. The goal is to move up in the rankings over time. 

Click-through rates from search. Use Google Search Console to see how many people are clicking through to your site when you show up in the rankings. Ranking is only part of the equation; getting people to click on your content is where the real value lies!


Industry benchmarks for email marketing can help you measure your success. Let’s take a look at the most crucial email metrics you should be tracking.

List size. Growing your email list is essential because email is a direct channel to your audience. While algorithms control what your audience sees on social media, you control how often you show up in someone’s inbox. But your list won’t grow on its own: you’ll need specific list-building efforts to help it increase.

Open rate. This is the number of people who open your email out of the number of people you sent it to. The goal is to consistently hit industry benchmarks as your list grows, which will inevitably mean more people are seeing your content.  

Deliverability. What percentage of your emails are actually delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes? A low delivery rate might indicate that your email is being flagged as spam or that your email list is outdated. 

Click rate and click-through rate. The click rate captures the number of people who received and clicked a link inside your email. The click-through rate is the number of people who clicked a link inside your email relative to the number of people who opened it. Unless you have a 100% open rate, click-through rate will be higher than click rate.

Unsubscribes. Unsubscribes are a rite of passage—as you build your list, expect a small segment of your audience to churn. That’s just one reason list building is so imperative. Unsubscribes can actually be a good thing, as they weed out prospects who are no longer interested in what you’re offering. Provided your number of unsubscribes holds steady at around your industry’s standard (often about 1%), don’t be too discouraged. 

Social Media

Each social platform encourages users to engage with content differently, but it’s a good rule of thumb to track reach and engagement across the board. Defining your ambitions for social content for each platform will help you identify which metrics are most important.

Followers. Track the number of followers you have on each social media account. You want to see this number increase over time.

Impressions. Track the number of people who saw your individual posts on each platform. These numbers will fluctuate for every post you share and can offer insight into how different types of content and hashtags are performing.

Click rate. Track the number of times an audience member clicked on your content (e.g., clicked to “read more,” “liked” your content, or clicked on a link within your post). Keep in mind that this is one metric that is highly dependent on your social strategy. If you aren’t optimizing your social content for clicks (i.e., putting a “call to action” or CTA on your social posts), expect a lower click rate.

Engagement. Track the number of times your posts receive engagement—comments, likes, shares, saves, etc. It’s useful to make a note of the posts that performed best. Over time, “top post” information will help inform your content calendar by uncovering themes that engage your audience. 

Two “Invisible” Content Metrics To Consider

Beyond the standard blog, email, and social media metrics, be mindful of two popular types of engagement that are often overlooked:

Dark social shares

“Dark social” refers to the sharing of links and social content via text messages, messenger apps, and email. When someone from your audience sends their friends a link to your website or social posts, the apps can’t track those engagements. Instead, the engagements will often be attributed to a “direct” source. Depending on your audience and the types of content you create, many of your shares could be categorized as “dark social” and, therefore, won’t be traceable. (Note: this is a highly simplistic explanation of dark social; for a much deeper dive, check out content by dark social evangelists Refine Labs)

Qualitative feedback

Email responses, private messages complimenting recent posts, and real-time feedback from people in your industry and community aren’t typically captured by any platform but are still incredibly meaningful. For example, we produce a weekly newsletter for a client with the goal of encouraging readership. While we track standard email metrics for this client, we also pay close attention to the feedback we get directly from the audience. Subscribers regularly respond to the emails, complimenting the content and thanking our client for the information. It’s incredibly valuable to receive responses saying, “Great piece, I loved this email!”

Metrics are a critical part of your content strategy. But you don’t need to analyze every single possible data point to make well-informed decisions. In short. . . there’s no need to become overwhelmed! Start your content campaign by focusing on the top-level metrics to understand how your content marketing performs without experiencing information overload. Over time, you can do a deeper dive into the data as you continue to refine your strategy.

Would you like support getting your content marketing engine up and running? We’d love to partner with you! Book a discovery call today.

Share This Post

Picture of Kristen Sweeney

Kristen Sweeney

We create content for industry experts and aspiring thought leaders. We use great writing to tell your story. Let’s work together to share your ideas with the world.

Want something worth reading in your inbox?

Sign up for To the Letter for updates and advice on quality content, great writing, and thought leadership. 

Related Posts