What is Content Analytics? A Complete Guide

Back in the day, content ROI used to be one of marketing’s best-kept secrets to success. Finding out what content worked and what didn’t was like searching for a needle in the haystack. Even when you managed to work it out, sharing it with the rest of the company in a streamlined manner was next...

Back in the day, content ROI used to be one of marketing’s best-kept secrets to success. Finding out what content worked and what didn’t was like searching for a needle in the haystack. Even when you managed to work it out, sharing it with the rest of the company in a streamlined manner was next to impossible. Of course, all that has changed – with the rise of digital content.

Today, content is an omniscient part of any successful marketing strategy, whether you’re selling services or pitching a product, as a company or an individual. The reason for this being that there are significantly more channels that publish them. For the users to experience your content, all they need to do is open their smartphones or laptops and go online.

Content marketing is close to becoming one of the biggest revenue generators for businesses. It is the cornerstone of attracting, engaging, and retaining users because it guides them through a smooth purchasing experience. And it does so, without overselling the business that may get to the point of annoying them. More importantly, it gives them valuable insights to:

  • Solve pain-points
  • Unearth hidden opportunities
  • Enjoy unforgettable brand experiences

From content creation and brand awareness to lead generation and product promotion, content analytics, these days, is any marketer’s worst-kept secret. According to Content Marketing Institute’s recent study, “69% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy”. It has shown the importance of measuring content analytics in real time, even in the B2B industry which comes with complex purchasing journeys and close-looped product marketing goals.

What is Content Analytics?

Now that the cat is out of the bag, the next important milestone is to go about setting the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to get accurate content analytics. Historically, content KPIs have been measured by analyzing the type of actions the user chooses to take. Even though different marketers work with different expected outcomes for their users, there are products like Social Animal that can always help you better measure them.

Let’s look at four types of content analytics that truly matter.

Content generation metrics

Content generation or production metrics are the bread and butter of content analytics. By providing insights on all the content that you publish, promote, and track, it empowers you to look inward into your content-building capacity. It also helps make your content resources more efficient, productive, and results-oriented by offering information on how much workload they can manage and what are the types of content they can get to better influence users,

For instance, if your blog engine is a lead magnet – content production metrics can guide you through creating a schedule that generates blog posts on a regular basis, without losing momentum. This way, your content marketers would be able to effortlessly scale – as and when you can add more resources.

Make your content better. Instantly.

Improve what’s working, fix what isn’t and be inspired with millions of ideas.

Or in case you want to create a podcast for your product or business, content production metrics can reveal the time taken between recording and publishing a single podcast. Then, you could help plan your go-to-market strategy a lot more pragmatically, without setting false internal expectations.

And if your content production metrics show that you are unable to meet the volume benchmarks, then it’s a good reason to reevaluate your resource planning. The users will thank you for it!

Content engagement metrics

Content engagement or performance metrics, quite simply, help show how good your content is doing. And how close it is to your users. First off, it answers the all-important question – how many users have seen it? And how did it make them feel?

Before proceeding further, though, let’s address the elephant in the room.

Vanity metrics

Every sales professional or marketer loves numbers, and while this love hasn’t diminished – its quality has taken precedence over the quantity in terms of user behavior. Vanity metrics for a business may include the number of impressions, likes, shares, or comments. Given the power of social media technology, these have become top talking points while discussing the success of content marketing activities like paid advertising or sales campaigns. However, they don’t mean that your content marketing strategy is about to get successful.

Back to the “realistic” world

Instead, your focus should be to drill down on the kind of realistic action that you want the audience to take. Basically, unless the user hits the “buy,” “download,” or “Talk to us” button, maybe your content isn’t working. Hence, you need to first set your behavior-based content goals before you can close a sale with it.

Let’s assume that creating real time digital sales opportunities for customers is one of the marketing management goals (if it’s not, it should be) of your management. Some of your business goals might be:

  • Ensuring the most users to your digital presence (website, app, social media, etc.)
  • Gaining audience mind-share by addressing specific topics
  • Engaging the audience by creating long-lasting content-consumption journeys

While they lead to realistic and executable results, they don’t really tell the full story of customer behavior. If your top content marketing KPI is this elevated, it can leave CFOs scratching their heads the next time they assign the content marketing budget.

And why would you, considering that content can be measured far more intricately for your business and the user?

For example, if you publish and promote content through a landing page that ultimately takes customers to the point of purchase, some of your data-based content KPIs can be:

  • Number of direct leads vs. assisted leads
  • Page visits
  • Number of scrolls
  • Time spent on a page
  • Signups
  • Downloads

In short, performance analytics can help you determine a data-driven content marketing strategy that is likely to attract the most customers online. And it does the research to keep your management teams happy!

Quality metrics

Quality and governance metrics are essential because they use data to help you achieve top customer engagement outcomes. These metrics equip you with the insights to keep a tab on the level of clarity, consistency, and creativity required to hook the audience. And whether your team can learn how to pull that off, without disruptions or delays.

As far as governance metrics are concerned, you can set up milestones to track the overall content journey – from production to publishing and conversion. Some of them can include cost savings, depth of readability in the stories, publishing time, etc.

Revenue metrics

Revenue or Return on Investment metrics is based on the extent of your content’s value for your business. It can either be measured on a ‘per content’ basis and a ‘campaign’ basis so that you use a holistic picture of your content marketing performance vs. the effectiveness of a single piece of content on user behavior.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?

Well, here’s the harsh reality.

A new analysis by Content Marketing Institute has shown that only “43% of B2B marketers can measure their content marketing ROI”. What’s more telling is that “27% of B2B marketers say they do not know how to measure ROI”.

Here are four questions you can ask to learn how ti calculate content-driven revenue metrics:

  1. How much do you spend on end-to-end content generation?
  2. What does it cost to distribute the content across channels (free vs. paid)?
  3. How much volume of sales did each piece of content generate (free vs. paid)?
  4. What are you left with after calculating returns vs. investments?

Tools for content analytics

Here are two more new analysis from Content Marketing Institute.

“56% of businesses reported they want to increase their content creation spending.”

“92% of marketers reported that their company views content as a business asset.”

But remember a few paragraphs ago, when you found out that many marketers cannot realize real ROI from their content, despite all the data being available?

Notice the gap in the story?

How do you think your management team feels about it?

The reason is that gathering content data in a streamlined manner is difficult enough. Imagine going through the process of transforming them into analytics and then – turning those into information that you can use to increase content performance? It may not be rocket science. But it’s certainly a piece of software-based data science.

With search engines emerging as a game-changer for people to get past the barriers of content production and consumption, more businesses are putting content analytics at the front and center across their marketing strategies. It is why they are leveraging cutting-edge content analytics tools to increase web traffic, improve social media engagement, generate leads, develop stronger content teams, and build long-lasting customer relationships.

Also read: The Best Content Curation Tools In 2020

Let’s look at two great data-rich content analytics tools you can use to fuel up your content marketing management efforts and hit the highway to customer engagement.

Google analytics

You probably already know that Google Analytics is the most renowned website analytics software. Given the search engine heavyweight’s access to data, Google Analytics lets you see information on how users discover, navigate, and engage with your online content.

Some of the data this software provides includes traffic sources, most visited web pages, number of individual page views, bounce rate, conversion rate, etc.

Social Animal

Social Animal goes beyond software-driven website analytics and gives you data-rich digital content insights that you need to devise an ROI-focused strategy in any social network.

With breakthrough features like Dynamic Keyword and Page Search, Analysis and Discovery your teams will be well-equipped with all the must-know data insights to post the right content at the right time to the right person.

And guess what?

You also get content analytics about your competitors so that you can improve your own success story! Quickly identify your competitor’s best authors and preferred networks, analyze their website and social content DNA, and see the data behind how they create and distribute content resources.


In a sense, content analytics can be defined as the need to create business success through content by using established measurement benchmarks. Some of these are based on industry standards, while others are unique to your business vision, mission, or revenue goals.

Want to measure, and increase, the power and ROI of your content?

Let us help you figure it all out.

We hope that this blog helps you learn what it takes to align your content strategy to your business goals.

You might also like: 20 Solid Reasons Why Content Marketing Is Important For Your Business

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Christy Bharath is a writer, with 13+ years of content marketing and branding experience. He helps clients tell their stories across industries like Banking, Retail, Healthcare, IT Services, etc. He also trains writers to help them generate authentic and creative content. Christy is a birdwatcher, and he tweets @contentbirder.