September 25, 20153 min read
A 2015 survey shows that 83 percent of B2B companies have a content marketing strategy.
So content is king in B2B digital marketing. Still, many companies struggle to measure effectiveness of such marketing beyond obvious rises in site visits or email subscriptions.
To properly gauge the success of a content marketing practice, a marketer must first understand what content marketing does best in a B2B environment. Focus on three specific objectives:
- Brand Awareness
- Thought Leadership
These objectives might seem soft and abstract, but their benefits are very real. They can put your company top of mind in your industry, and you can measure your progress in meeting them with specific benchmarks and in hard numbers.
- Search Console Queries: Use Google Search Console (formally Webmaster Tools) queries data to determine how content performs organically. (Learn how to add Search Console to your site if you don’t have it.) This data provides an overview of how your content ranks on SERPs, or search engine result pages. It allows you to review impressions, click-through rates, and average positions for the key pages associated with your content marketing efforts. Increased clicks and impressions or a rise in average position over time means you’re on the right track.
- Social Data: For years, B2B marketers have shunned social channels, arguing they’re unlikely to increase sales and not worth the effort. True, social media are unlikely to directly increase B2B sales, but they can amplify content and boost exposure. If you’re sharing content on social media -- and you should be -- analytics data can validate reach and engagement. (Struggling to develop a B2B social strategy? Our cheat sheet can help.)
The “big three” social channels, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, have analytics tools for drilling into specific metrics.
On Facebook, the Page Insights interface provides such details as impressions, reach and engagement. Find this data in pages > insights > posts.
Review metrics for your favorite tweets, replies and retweets within the Twitter Analytics dashboard. You can also learn about your top followers and tweets as well as follower demographics within the dashboard.
Within the LinkedIn company page insights, you’ll find information such as post clicks, interactions, engagement, reach and more. LinkedIn, like Twitter, provides follower data and allows you to compare your organization to predetermined competitors.
- Search Console Inbound Links: Search engines weigh the quality of inbound links as a ranking consideration. (Inbound links are all websites linking to your site. Check out our introduction if you’re unfamiliar with inbound links.) For content marketers, inbound links tie content to connections with third parties. They also give you the opportunity to showcase your work to relevant industry leaders.
This data can shed light on pages your target audiences find most important. It also highlights opportunities to network with influencers; you want key industry movers and shakers to share your content. Once you know who they are, you can ask them to do that.
Within the Google Analytics Search Console, find the inbound link review by navigating to search traffic > links to your site. From there, study third party sites as well as inbound links to specific pages.
4.Email Campaigns: Most marketers broadcast their content through email marketing. Review key campaign metrics, including the open, bounce, and click-through rates. Conduct A/B experiments with your subject lines and link titles to find out what connects with your audience and what doesn’t. Tie your email marketing campaigns to your Google Analytics account to get your data in one place. Methods for tying email campaigns to Google Analytics vary. Check your email marketing tool for instructions on integrating with GA.
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