Content marketing is more than a buzzword used to bring readers over to the marketing blogs.

This $44 billion industry forms the keystone of many advertising campaigns, whether for a massive enterprise or a small mom-and-pop company.

If you don’t know what key performance indicators to watch in your content statistics, however, you may wrongfully assume that it’s not worth nearly as much as sending out coupons or trying to capture viral gold.

Consumption, lead generation and engagement are three major metrics to factor into ROI calculations on every content marketing campaign.

Consumption And Reach

Consumption metrics track how many people view or download your content. It’s the most basic statistic you receive from any analytic tool, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Look at the uniques, page views or pure downloads, depending on the content.

A related metric to track is the reach of your content. Are a wide range of visitors finding your content, from different keywords, geographic locations and referrers? Check the devices and operating systems used to consume your content.

A large percentage of mobile users may necessitate changing your mobile site to a more content-centric design. Keep a close eye on referrers, particularly prominent websites and thought leaders in your niche.

Most statistics packages such as Google Analytics track this information and allow you to parse the data in a variety of ways.

Lead Generation

Lead generation metrics are an important part of justifying the overall expenses associated with content creation and marketing. The definition of a lead depends on the goal of your campaign. Are you tracking downloads, getting conversions or capturing emails as part of your call to action?

Incorporate calls to action into your lead generation methods within and surrounding your content. You want a clear path to lead your readers from the content that attracted them to your site to making the leap to the CTA.

Track the effectiveness of the content based on email capture, downloads or whatever else you want your user to do.

Keep the conversion data from the content marketing separate from other forms of marketing so you have a clear idea of how effective your content investment is.

Engagement

Are your users actually reading the content or leaving within a few seconds of the page loading? Do they spread it across their social networks with glee or walk away without a look over their shoulders?

The first statistic to look at when measuring user engagement is the time they spend on your site, both on the entry page and throughout their visit. If a page has a bad bounce rate, look at the content to determine whether the reader was misled by the search terms that got them there.

Use a heat map tool to track exactly what your users click. Are they drawn more to a particular section, or do you find that they’re clicking non-hyperlinked options. In addition to finding out how engaged with the content your users are, heat maps help you to adjust the location of your advertisements on the page.

Social engagement tracking looks at the share rates and comments your content gets on social networks. Shareable content is a big goal in many content marketing campaigns. Also, check associated and relevant hashtags for social mentions of your content and company.