iStock 000023338729XSmallTrying to prove the effectiveness of a content marketing campaign is not easy to do. There are multiple contributing factors that make it challenging to quantify the success in a single number. The best content marketers also know that success does not come overnight, no matter what sort of techniques are used. The best case scenario is a steady number of shares, as well as visibility and influence of a business.

So what sort of measurements can be used to prove that the chosen content strategy is working? The easiest pieces are items such as shares, likes, retweets and comments. While those are important, they are surface-level statistics that do not take into consideration other facets of the campaign. So when determining if a content marketing campaign is/was successful, it is critical to track the metrics based upon whether or not they reach a goal of a business.

Not every organization chooses the same objectives for their marketing campaigns, so each will contain a different set of benchmarks. Here is a set of six factors to help conclude if a content marketing campaign is effective:

1. How many fans, followers, subscribers, +1’s, etc. do you have?
This is the most basic intelligence in content marketing. This indicates how wide of a net is being cast. However, just because a number is high, does not necessarily mean the strategy is working.

2. How many views does a piece of content get?
Look beyond the likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. These pieces are key, however, you must be keenly aware of unique (i.e., new) versus returning viewers. This will help gauge if your influence is growing.

3. How many of the followers are actual influencers?
This is not the easiest element to figure out. But the basic idea is to look at the followers and examine how many of their fans are influencers compared to the overall number of followers they have. The higher the ratio, the more influential the audience is.

4. Did content cause readers to interact more with a website?
Did the reader look at other articles, other pages, or better yet, make a purchase? What about commenting on an article or leaving reviews of a product? Evaluating this sort of interaction shows readers are engaged with content and a website. If the interaction is lacking, look for ways to make it more conducive for customers to engage with you.

5. Has the content had any impact to the brand outside of the website?
Pay attention to how people interact with a brand outside of a website. Look at the sentiment of these posts. Make sure to watch how many positive comments are made in correlation to the negatives. A higher ratio of positives could be caused by the content.

6. How many purchases were driven by the content marketing?
For the majority, this is the most valuable piece of information. But it is also the most difficult to calculate because content marketing typically is designed to increase brand awareness. It is crucial to track purchases that resulted from any links to purchasing pages. In addition to actual purchases, look at order sizes, revenue per reader and conversion rates. This will give a good overview as to the effectiveness of the actual marketing.

These areas are good places to start when determining analytics to judge a content marketing campaign’s level of success. While this list may seem daunting, it does not have to be done as a whole. The best idea is to start small, measuring the most basic factors, and then increase the components evaluated in campaigns. By doing so, it will be easier to specify what is working and what areas need improvement.