Times have changed in the world of B2B marketing: buyers are smarter, self-educated, and move themselves through the path to purchase long before contacting sales. By the time a buyer reveals their interest to a vendor, they could already be mid-way through their buying journey, making it difficult to know what content influenced their decisions, when—and what content flopped.

This monumental shift in the way business is being done has created new hurdles for B2B marketers, namely, how to accurately measure the effectiveness content has on a buyers decision to purchase. This problem is so big, in fact, that 50% of B2B enterprise marketers cite the inability to measure content effectiveness as a challenge. As more marketers feel the pressure to prove the return on their content, the bigger and more frustrating the problem gets.

And it doesn’t stop there. Not only do marketers not know how to measure content effectiveness; they don’t know what to measure.

It’s really no surprise—B2B marketers are working across a lot of channels, often targeting multiple buyer personas and addressing a variety of pain points. That’s a lot of variables to track, measure, and make decisions from.

To put an end to the marketing metrics confusion, we’ve identified the four key areas you should measure in your marketing metrics dashboard. By tracking your content throughout its entire lifecycle, from production to distribution, you’ll be able to more easily measure which content is effective, and which is not.

1. Content Production

How long does it take for a piece of content to go from ideation to publication?

Before you can start measuring how your content is performing, first you need to measure the overall health of your content operation—how long it takes to complete a production cycle. With these insights, you will be able to better evaluate the effectiveness of your overall content strategy by identifying the average number of days content is in production, the average number of content delivered past deadline, bottlenecks in workflows, and coverage gaps.

Content production metrics establish important benchmarks that tell you how long it takes to put assets into the market and provides insightful data as to how much time it’s costing to create a specific asset. Having a good understanding of these key metrics will help you to better understand the value of your content and maximize your content creation process for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

2. Content Activation

Which content are your internal teams viewing and sharing, and what kind of referral traffic is it generating?

One of the most important areas (and most neglected) of reporting is internal activation. Unlike B2C, much of the content produced for B2B is for internal stakeholders (marketing, sales, support, etc.). These stakeholders serve as key distribution channels for potential buyers toward the bottom half of the sales funnel, so their engagement with your content is critical.

Up to 70% of B2B marketing content goes unused and costs businesses $0.25 of every dollar spent on content. Identifying how and when your internal teams are using your content, and what inefficiencies exist, will not only tell you which content is effective and which is not, but it will save you time and money.

But, before you can optimize your content for your internal stakeholders, first you need to have metrics in place that tell you how often your assets are being viewed, downloaded, and shared internally, and how much engagement those shares are generating.

Tracking month over month (MoM) internal views, downloads, and referral traffic per asset, or asset type, in your marketing metrics dashboard will give you a quick view of what content your internal teams are engaging with. Using these metrics, you can tailor the content you create to better serve your internal teams and align your marketing content with the goals and initiatives across departments. This helps marketers create content that is better and more effective for all the stakeholders involved.

3. Content Reach

How does content generate engagement across channels?

One of the greatest pitfalls for marketers is measuring only top-of-funnel, vanity metrics. Sure, clicks and shares are valuable, but are those metrics telling you the full story of your content impact? B2B marketers need to be able to track the reach and engagement of their content across channels, from top-of-funnel to close.

An often missed, but key metric to measure content reach is by buyer persona and sales stages. Effective content is optimized for specific segments, so knowing your audience is critical. By tracking which assets are being engaged with by whom and when, you’re unveiling yet another layer of valuable insights that will help you to know which content is effective in attracting your ideal customers and ultimately, closing the deal.

4. Content Conversion

Do you know what content is generating conversions and helping sales to close deals?

Tying content to revenue is one of the greatest challenges among modern marketers. Using a content scoring model, marketers can determine the value and role of their content efforts throughout all stages of the sales funnel. Content conversion metrics provide invaluable insights as to how effective your content is at various stages of the buyer’s journey and where content can be optimized for greater results. But first, how do you do it?

To determine a content score for any type of content you need to evaluate a buyer’s movement through each stage in the sales funnel and the content consumed during the stage. Divide the number of conversions by the number of content consumed, broken down into asset categories.

Including content conversions in your dashboard yields the best insights into how well your content is ultimately performing. Attaching numeric value to content assets not only makes it easier to compare the performance of specific assets at various stages of the funnel, but also gives you concrete evidence that shows how your content is working.

Now that you know what and how to measure your content’s performance throughout its entire lifecycle, start building out your marketing metrics dashboard with this free marketing metrics template.