20 Content Engagement Metrics (That Prove Your Content Is Working)

How do you know if your content marketing is “working”?

The trick: set a goal BEFORE you create your content.

Do you want more website traffic? A bigger email list? Higher Google rankings?

Define your goal, then filter through my list of content engagement metrics below to track ROI against your goal. Click one of the buttons below and the content will change instantly.

My primary content marketing goal is to:

1. Unique Pageviews


Increase Website Traffic


What Are Unique Pageviews?

Unique pageviews are the number of (unique) times someone views a post or page on your website.

Repeated views of a single page are NOT counted.

Why Are Unique Pageviews Important?

You want your content to be reaching new people who have never heard of you before.

Growing unique pageviews is how you grow your audience, brand awareness, and multiply your content’s engagement.

Where To Track Unique Pageviews

In Google Analytics go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Look at the Page and Unique Pageviews columns.

unique pageviews metric image

How To Optimize For Unique Pageviews

  1. Check if your unique pageviews are consistently increasing month-over-month like you expect (set your Date Range to “Last 30 days”, check the Compare to: Previous period checkbox, and hit Apply.)
  2. If they are, keep doing what you’re doing.
  3. If not, follow my step-by-step process to fill a content calendar that consistently drives new, unique visitors to your site long term.

2. Source/Medium


Increase Website Traffic


What Is Source/Medium?

Source/Medium is the marketing channels that assisted with the consumption of your content.

Why Is Source/Medium Important?

You can quickly see at a glance what marketing channels (organic, email, referral, social) drive the most traffic to your content, then double down on growing those channels. 

Where To Track Source/Medium

In Google Analytics go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.

Look at the Source/Medium and Users columns.

source medium metric image

How To Optimize For Source/Medium

  1. Identify your highest traffic channel.
  2. If it’s organic, follow my organic traffic strategy. If it’s email, follow my email list growth strategy
  3. If it’s social, research the most popular Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest content in your industry on BuzzSumo, then create similar content with your own unique take. If it’s referral, find new ways to get more traffic from that site.

3. Social Shares


Increase Website Traffic


What Are Social Shares?

Social shares are the number of times your content gets shared on social media.

Why Are Social Shares Important?

They’re a personal endorsement from someone you’ve never met who shares your content with their audience.

Where To Track Social Shares

In BuzzSumo go to Content Research > Content Analyzer.

Look at the Total Engagements column.

social shares metric image

How To Optimize For Social Shares

  1. Make sure your content has a unique viewpoint and you back it up with data.
  2. Add Sumo social sharing icons to your posts to make sharing easier.
  3. Follow my step-by-step content distribution strategy for increasing the social shares and traffic you get to your content.

4. Location


Increase Website Traffic


What Is Location?

Location is the countries where your website traffic comes from.

Why Is Location Important?

Knowing which country most of your visitors come from can help inform what content you write.

You can look at what topics people search for most in that country, and prioritize writing content on those topics.

Where To Track Location

In Google Analytics go to Audience > Geo > Location.

Look at the Country and Sessions columns.

location metric image

How To Optimize For Location

  1. Identify your top traffic country.
  2. Prioritize writing topics with more traffic potential in your top traffic country. (e.g. if you want to double down on increasing Malaysian website traffic, only look at the traffic potential of the top ranked post for your topic on the Google Malaysia search engine.)
  3. Reach out to well-known influencers in your top traffic country to contribute to your blog.

5. Mobile


Increase Website Traffic


What Is Mobile?

Mobile is the number of people consuming your content on a mobile device.

Why Is Mobile Important?

If a significant percentage of new users (>50%) are coming to your site from mobile, it’s a sign lots of new visitors are finding your content from mobile search.

Where To Track Mobile

In Google Analytics go to Audience > Mobile > Overview.

Look at the Device Category and New Users columns.

mobile metric image

How To Optimize For Mobile

  1. Check to see if >50% of your new users are coming from mobile.
  2. If they are, get a developer to help optimize your mobile speed score to >90 based on Google PageSpeed Insights analysis of your site.
  3. Focus on incorporating content formats that are easy to view on mobile, such as infographics, and video. And use shorter, sharper sentences, and more images to break up your text.

6. Goal Completions


Grow An Email List


What Are Goal Completions?

Goal completions are goals you set up inside Google Analytics to track newsletter signups, pdf downloads, contact form completions, etc.

Why Are Goal Completions Important?

If your content is super engaging, people will want to be notified when you publish something new, download your premium gated content, and contact you for help.

Where To Track Goal Completions

In Google Analytics go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.

In the far right Conversions column select your Goal.

Look at the Landing Page and Goal Completions columns.

goal completions metric image

Note: You will only see this data after you add a Google Analytics Goal for email sign ups.

To see how to set it up, grab a free copy of my step-by-step guide “How To Setup Google Analytics Goals For Content Marketers” below.

How To Optimize For Goal Completions

  1. Check if your goal completions for email signups are consistently increasing month-over-month like you expect (set your Date Range to “Last 30 days”, check the Compare to: Previous period checkbox, and hit Apply.)
  2. If they are, keep doing what you’re doing.
  3. If not, follow my step-by-step email list growth strategy to get more email signups.

7. Goal Conversion Rate


Grow An Email List


What Is Goal Conversion Rate?

Goal conversion rate is the total number of goal completions, divided by the total number of sessions on your website.

Why Is Goal Conversion Rate Important?

If people are joining your email list, downloading your gated content, contacting you, installing your software, etc it’s safe to say they find your content engaging.

Where To Track Goal Conversion Rate

In Google Analytics go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.

In the far right Conversions column select your Goal.

Look at the Landing Page and Goal Conversion Rate columns.

goal conversion rate metric image

Note: You will only see this data after you add a Google Analytics Goal for email sign ups.

To see how to set it up, grab a free copy of my step-by-step guide “How To Setup Google Analytics Goals For Content Marketers” below.

How To Optimize For Goal Conversion Rate

  1. Check if your goal conversion rate for email sign ups are consistently increasing month-over-month like you expect (set your Date Range to “Last 30 days”, check the Compare to: Previous period checkbox, and hit Apply.)
  2. If they are, keep doing what you’re doing.
  3. If not, use the step-by-step email list growth strategy I used to increase email leads from 3k to 10k per month in 5 months.

8. Transactions


Generate Sales


What Are Transactions?

Transactions are the number of sales that come from online transactions on your blog.

Why Are Transactions Important?

You can see if your content marketing efforts are leading to paid transactions. 

Tip: With a filtered view (set the Secondary Dimension to Landing Page in the Ecommerce > Product Performance report), you can see what percentage of revenue your blog is responsible for, and the total revenue. 

Where To Track Transactions

In Google Analytics go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview.

Look at the number of Transactions.

transactions metrics image

How To Optimize For Transactions

  1. Check if your transactions are consistently increasing month-over-month like you expect (set your Date Range to “Last 30 days”, check the Compare to: Previous period checkbox, and hit Apply.)
  2. If they are, keep doing what you’re doing.
  3. If not, follow the ski slope strategy (my step-by-step content strategy that drove 1,070 recurring revenue customers in 12 months).

9. Time Lag


Generate Sales


What Is Time Lag?

The number of days it took for someone to convert on your site.

Why Is Time Lag Important?

You can get an idea of how effective your content is in getting people back to your site and making a purchase (or converting them on Day 1).

Where To Track Time Lag

In Google Analytics go to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Time Lag.

Look at the Time Lag in Days and Conversions columns.

time lag metric image

How To Optimize For Time Lag

  1. Take a piece of content you know converts well to sales.
  2. Include it earlier in your email drip sequence.
  3. Retarget your website visitors to it.

10. Assisted Conversions


Generate Sales


What Are Assisted Conversions?

Assisted conversions are the number of conversions where your content appeared on the conversion path (but was not the final conversion interaction).

Why Are Assisted Conversions Important?

By default Google Analytics uses last touch attribution to track conversions.

Assisted conversions will track any interaction, other than the final click, that lead to a person converting, so you can see the impact each channel has on conversions.

Where To Track Assisted Conversions

In Google Analytics go to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions.

Look at the MCF Channel Grouping and Assisted Conversions columns.

assisted conversions metric image

How To Optimize For Assisted Conversions

  1. Change the Primary Dimension from MCF Channel Grouping to Landing Page URL (you can find it by clicking on “Other” > “Acquisition”)
  2. Identify your top landing page with the most assisted conversions.
  3. Retarget your website visitors to it.

11. Average Time On Page


Higher Google Rankings


What Is Average Time On Page?

Average time on page is the average time spent on one blog post or page.

It doesn’t take into account time on page for visitors who bounce, or time people spend on the last page before leaving your site (as it’s triggered by a click to the next page).

Why Is Average Time On Page Important?

In isolation average time on page is misleading.

However if the % Exit is low (<20%) – it can be a good reflection of the average and a great indicator of how long your content can hold someone’s attention.

Where To Track Average Time On Page

In Google Analytics go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Look at the Avg. Time on Page column in combination with the % Exit column.

average time on page metric

How To Optimize For Average Time On Page

  1. Identify the top three posts on your site that have the highest average time on page (with an exit rate less than 20%).
  2. See what content elements they have in common (layout, images, videos, etc)
  3. Apply those elements to your other content.

12. Pages / Session


Higher Google Rankings


What Are Pages / Session?

Pages / Session are the total number of pages someone visits while browsing your website.

Why Are Pages / Session Important?

In isolation pages/session is misleading.

For example, if you see a combination of high pages per session, low average session duration, and low bounce rate – this can be a strong indicator people can’t find the content they came to your site for.

Where To Track Pages / Session

In Google Analytics go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.

Look at the Pages / Session column in combination with the Bounce Rate and Avg. Session Duration columns.

pages per session metric image

How To Optimize For Pages / Session

  1. Make sure your content matches what you promise in your headline. 
  2. Inside every blog post internally link to other relevant, high traffic content you know readers of that topic are interested in.
  3. Link to a “next step” article at the end of your post to serialize your content.

13. New vs Returning


Higher Google Rankings


What Is New vs Returning?

New vs Returning is the number of new visitors to your website vs. the number of returning visitors.

Why Is New vs Returning Important?

If your returning visitors metric is higher than new, it’s a sign you likely have a loyal tribe of followers.

If your new visitors are higher than returning, it’s a sign you have some work to do to get people to come back again.

Where To Track New vs Returning

In Google Analytics go to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning.

Look at the User Type and Sessions columns.

new vs returning metric image

How To Optimize For New vs Returning

  1. Check to see if >50% of your visitors are returning.
  2. If they are, keep doing what you’re doing.
  3. If not, use my step-by-step email list growth strategy to grow your email list so you can drive more new visitors back to your site.

14. Referral Traffic


Higher Google Rankings


What Is Referral Traffic?

Referral traffic is an overview of the websites that are sharing and linking to your content.

Why Is Referral Traffic Important?

You can see exactly what sites are referring the most traffic to your site, then double down promoting your content on those sites.

Where To Track Referral Traffic

In Google Analytics go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals.

Look at the Source and Users columns.

referral traffic metric image

How To Optimize For Referral Traffic

  1. Identify the top three websites sending referral traffic your way.
  2. Brainstorm ways you can get more traffic from those sites.
  3. Return the favor by sharing/linking to their content to build the relationship. Karma!

15. Scroll Depth


Higher Google Rankings


What Is Scroll Depth?

Scroll depth is the position on the page where people stop reading.

Why Is Scroll Depth Important?

It’s an indicator of how thoroughly people consume your content.

With a filtered view (set the Secondary Dimension to Landing Page) you can see which of your blog posts are causing people to drop off at 25% and 50% scroll points, then fix it.

Where To Track Scroll Depth

Install the Scroll Depth Google Analytics Plugin then in Google Analytics go to Behavior > Events > Overview > Event Category > Scroll Depth.

Look at the Event Label and Total Events columns (i.e. all events triggered over all pageviews).

scroll depth metric image

Note: Google Analytics doesn’t have a built-in metric for scroll depth.

The plugin above monitors baseline (0%), 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% scroll points, then sends Google Analytics Events for each one.

How To Optimize For Scroll Depth

  1. Have a look at what content has the highest drop off rates (at 25% and 50% scroll points) and make a list of the top three.
  2. Analyze what content elements are causing drop off at those points (long paragraphs of text, topic switching, broken links, etc)
  3. Fix or replace those content elements with more engaging ones that cause people to stick (e.g. videos, infographics, bucket brigades, etc).

16. Exit Pages


Higher Google Rankings


What Are Exit Pages?

Exit pages are the last pages people accessed before leaving your site.

Why Are Exit Pages Important?

If your content is engaging people won’t want to leave your site when they are done with a single piece of content.

Instead, they will be so engaged that they want to click through to your other articles or content.

Where To Track Exit Pages

In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages.

Look at the Page and Exits columns.

exit pages metric image

How To Optimize Your Exit Pages

  1. Identify your top three exit pages.
  2. Look at how many clear call to actions you have for people to go to another page on your site.
  3. Find ways to improve the content so people want to stay longer (e.g. internal linking within your content, linking to a “next step” article at the end of your content, offering an attractive content upgrade).

17. Bounce Rate


Higher Google Rankings


What Is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a website that exit after only viewing one page.

Why Is Bounce Rate Important?

In isolation bounce rate is misleading.

People can read every word on your page, but if they don’t click to another page, Google Analytics still considers it a bounce.

However if you see a high bounce rate (>80%) and high % Exit (>80%) – this can be a strong indicator your content isn’t getting people to take action.

Where To Track Bounce Rate

In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Look at the Bounce Rate column in combination with the % Exit column.

bounce rate metric image

How To Optimize For Bounce Rate

  1. Use my CDS intro formula hack to write a compelling introduction that hooks readers into your content.
  2. Add more internal links to related topics on your site.
  3. Follow my blog post audience building hack to add strategic, clear calls to action in the top and bottom half of your content.

18. Backlinks


Higher Google Rankings


What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are the number of external websites that link to your content.

Why Are Backlinks Important?

A handful of backlinks from high domain authority sites in your industry can help boost your own sites domain authority.

This will make your site more competitive when it comes to ranking your content on Google.

Where To Track Backlinks

In SEMRush go to Domain Analytics > Backlinks.

Enter your URL and look at the Backlinks tab.

backlinks metrics image

How To Optimize For Backlinks

  1. Sign up as a source for HARO.
  2. Under My Account > HARO Preferences select the category related to your business that you’d like to be a source for.
  3. Get the email updates they send three times a day (5:35am, 12:35pm and 5:35pm ET), Monday through Friday. Reply to relevant ones within 10 minutes that are published on a site with domain authority of 30+.

19. Brand Mentions


Increase Brand Awareness


What Are Brand Mentions?

Brand mentions are the number of new sites who mention your brand name.

Why Are Brand Mentions Important?

Brand mentions are a sign your content is making a real impact on writers and influencers in your industry.

They can lead to unsolicited media inquiries, better brand perception, and ultimately more sales.

Where To Track Brand Mentions

In SEMRush go to Projects > Brand Monitoring.

Set up brand monitoring for your brand name, and look at the Mentions tab.

brand mentions metric image

How To Optimize For Brand Mentions

  1. Connect with writers in your industry on LinkedIn.
  2. Like/comment/share their posts to get on their radar.
  3. Reach out to let them know you’re happy to provide unique data based on your past experience if they’re ever writing anything related to your broad topic of expertise.

20. Comments


Increase Brand Awareness


What Are Comments?

Comments are the number of people who leave a written remark expressing their opinion or reaction to your content.

Why Are Comments Important?

Visitors don’t comment on your content unless they’re genuinely engaged with it.

Tracking comments per post is a great indicator of how engaging one topic is for your audience vs another so you can double down on related topics. 

Where To Track Comments

In WordPress go to Posts > All Posts.

Look at the Comments column.

If you don’t use WordPress, go to the relevant section in your content management system.

comments metric image

How To Optimize For Comments

  1. Write an email to promote your piece of content.
  2. In the P.S. at the end of the email give people an incentive to comment (e.g. Ps. leave a comment and I’ll send one person a free packet of beef jerky)
  3. At the end of your blog post ask a specific question to spark discussion.

Focus On ONE Metric

The most successful content marketers do two things:

  1. Set a goal for their content marketing (e.g. 100,000 organic traffic, 10k/month email list, etc)
  2. Track progress towards that goal within a specific timeframe.

Personally I lovvvve to grow my email list.

Because it can double as my #1 content promotion tool AND my #1 sales tool.

With laser focus, I grew the Sumo.com list to 10,000 emails per month.

In five months:

sumo 10k email list image

If you’d like to see how I:

  1. Setup a Google Analytics goal to track email sign ups.
  2. Identify my top email-generating blog posts.
  3. Advertise my two highest converting blog posts for $5/day.

Grab a free copy of my step-by-step guide “How To Setup Google Analytics Goals For Content Marketers” below:

Then let me know in the comments:

What’s the ONE metric you’re going to focus on?

Growing your traffic, email list, or something else?

  • Yudi says:

    Chris, you are my content marketing sensei. Respect 🙂

  • >