What do these metrics mean for engagements

Which metrics for measuring success are really useful in content marketing?

According to the “B2B Content Marketing 2020” study by the Content Marketing Institute, 80 percent of those surveyed use metrics to measure performance, but only 65 percent have key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance. And questions also arise with the KPIs: Are the right key figures selected? Do they say anything about success?

Do frequently used metrics serve their purpose?

The deceptive visibility index

Anyone who deals with SEO agencies knows the visibility index. For this purpose, the 100 highest rankings are continuously determined from a very large number of keywords. However, the index is unsuitable for many B2B companies because it deals with very specific topics and keywords with a low search volume. The keywords included in the index and their rankings therefore often have no significant influence on orders and sales. Here, too, the 80/20 Pareto principle usually applies: Only 20 percent of the keywords are really relevant to success. These keywords are either not considered at all or not taken into account according to their meaning and the visibility index thus paints the wrong picture.

Useless likes on Facebook

Despite all the criticism, B2B marketers still invest a lot of time and effort in their Facebook pages. Facebook has 1.73 billion active users every day. That is why it is an attractive goal to win as many fans as possible from this huge potential and to increase the likes and measure them as a key figure. However, users only see a very limited number of articles in their news feed. With its algorithm, Facebook regulates the number of users that a company can reach for free (Social Media Organic Reach). The problem: After many changes to the algorithm, the organic reach is now largely meaningless. The company posts no longer reach the users because Facebook wants the companies to pay for the visibility of the posts.

The often unclear meaningfulness of traffic and clicks

When the number of visitors to the website (traffic) has increased by 50 percent, the champagne bottles can be opened. Or would you rather not? The problem: 50 percent more visitors are completely useless if they don't lead to more orders. A higher traffic, more clicks or a better ranking of keywords are not necessarily the same as more success.

Instead, the question arises as to which offers and activities lead to orders (or increase brand loyalty, improve attractiveness as an employer or increase customer satisfaction). And finally, the question arises how much effort was required for these activities.

Without specific goals, key figures make no sense

The BVDW has developed the basis for meaningful KPIs in content marketing (KPIs in content marketing). The "Return on Objectives, ROO" is about setting measurable goals.

The strategic goals of content marketing can therefore be divided into three target areas:

  1. Brand-oriented goals (Increase awareness, increase brand loyalty, brand differentiation, among other things)
  2. Relationship-oriented goals (Increase in employer attractiveness, reputation, customer satisfaction, among other things)
  3. Economic goals (Increase sales / sales, among other things).

Meaningful KPIs are therefore closely linked to the goals. In this way, they best reflect the degree of target achievement and allow statements to be made about the success or failure of content marketing. However, this only works if the target values ​​are defined in advance. Depending on the respective target reference, KPIs for measuring the success of the content marketing measures are determined from a pool of key figures.

Key figures for reach and awareness

Attention-driven KPIs focus on success variables such as achieving a high reach or increasing awareness with key figures such as unique users, unique visitors, page impressions, and Google Search Organic.

Metrics for engagement

Interaction-driven KPIs target success parameters such as increasing engagement rate, likes, length of stay, etc., with KPIs such as scroll depth, length of stay, bounce rate, PI / s per visit, PI / s per session, clicks on links, social shares, mentions, share- to email or social likes.

Conversions metrics

Conclusion-driven or action-oriented KPIs rely on conversion. These include KPIs such as the number of new registrations for newsletters, the number of downloads, the number of new leads, deals for target projects, conversion rates, CPX (O, A, L, S).

Many channels in a chaotic customer journey

The B2B buyer journey is not straightforward and is influenced by many participants. 75 percent of respondents say that people from a variety of roles, teams, and locations were involved in their purchase. (Gartner, What Sales Should Know About B2B Buyers). In addition, B2B purchases do not take place in a predictable linear sequence, but go through the phases of the purchase process in multiple loops. This creates a large number of contact points (touchpoints) in different communication channels.

The reactions of the target group at the contact points have a very different influence on the achievement of the goal. The reactions must therefore be recorded and measured for each channel. Examples:

  • Organic search traffic: Visitors who come to the company's pages via Google or other search engines.
  • Direct traffic: Visitors who visit the website by typing the url directly.
  • Email traffic: Visitors who open a newsletter and are thus redirected to the websites.
  • Referral traffic: Visitors who are referred to the websites from other pages.
  • Social traffic: Visitors who come to the company pages via social networks.
  • Paid traffic: Visitors who visit the websites as a result of a paid marketing campaign.

User behavior is rarely clear

If a visitor only stays on the page for 20 seconds, that is negative user behavior. No, by no means, if during this time he has found what he is looking for. User behavior metrics alone don't tell you much. There is no such thing as a good or bad bounce rate because it depends on the purpose of the site.

How high can the "bounce rate" be?

A visitor comes to a company page from Google. He stays for a minute and then leaves the website without going to another page. He jumped off. Is it bad? Evaluations show that the bounce rate for a B2B website is on average between 25 percent and 55 percent (Average Bounce Rate for a Website). However, the bounce rate is significantly higher for pages that serve a narrowly limited purpose. The rate for landing pages, glossaries or blogs is up to 90 percent on average. So this is completely normal.

How long should visitors stay on a page (time-on-site)?

How long does a visitor stay on the page (time-on-site) or how long has he spent on all pages of the domain (time-on-page)? What do these key figures say? Does the visitor only stay for a short time because the content does not appeal to them, or has they already found the information they are looking for in a short time? Again, it's about context. The goal is not to keep him on the side for as long as possible, but to meet his expectations and achieve a desired reaction.

High open rates are overestimated

The average email open rates have stabilized at a "high" level of 27 percent in recent years, according to Inxmail's 2020 email marketing benchmark study. The click rate looks much less positive, i.e. how often links in an email are actually clicked on. According to the study mentioned, the average click through rate (CTR) is only 3.4 percent. However, this 3.4 percent results in significantly fewer orders. This should not be a rejection of an e-mail newsletter, for example. They are a proven customer loyalty tool. But here, too, it is important to realistically assess supposedly positive key figures such as high opening rates in connection with the actual click rates.

Lots of backlinks are harmful, few are useful

SEO agencies know which screws have to be turned in order to improve search engine rankings. In addition to the increased importance of the content, it is still about the backlinks. How often a company page is linked to and referenced to other websites and sources is an important measure of value. This is why there has been a profitable business with bought links in the past. However, such backlinks are increasingly being recognized and downgraded by Google.

Today the number of backlinks is no longer decisive, but the quality of the referring source. The more important the page, the more useful and valuable the backlink is classified by the search engines.


Martin Ortgies is a freelance specialist journalist and website writer. He specializes in IT and technology topics. He creates specialist articles, case studies and white papers for B2B companies and writes for specialist magazines in areas such as automation, electrical engineering, electronics, logistics and mechanical engineering.