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Content marketing is the practice of developing content that, when it hits its mark, turns prospects into customers and customers into fans. But without analytics, you won’t know if your content has done its job.

The following 7 content marketing analytics tools will help you determine what’s working, what’s not, and what the ROI is on your content marketing efforts.

What to Measure
Before you can maximize content marketing analytics tools, it helps to know what to measure. Marketing strategist and author Jay Baer suggests four specific measurements when gauging content’s effectiveness. Briefly, they are:

  • Consumption – How many people have read or viewed your content? You can get an idea by checking the content’s page views and downloads (if applicable), among other metrics.
  • Sharing – Did your content compel consumers to tweet or retweet it? Like it on Facebook? Share it on Facebook and Google+? Post it on Pinterest?
  • Lead generation – How often did consumers of your content turn into business leads? There are various ways to determine this, Baer explains. One example: “If you have an online lead form on your site, you can measure this by determining how many people went to the lead form immediately after consuming your content.”
  • Sales – How often have your content views led to paying customers? Here again, there are multiple ways to track the conversion of prospects into customers.

“If you’re using some sort of customer and prospect database…you’ll want to note in the prospect record that the potential customer consumed content pieces X, Y, and Z,” Baer says. “Then, when your crack sales team turns that prospect into a sale, determine the projected revenue and profit (lifetime value if you can) of that customer, and assign it to the content pieces.”Top Analytics Tools

  • Google AnalyticsGoogle AnalyticsGoogle’s free Analytics tools serve up a wealth of information about your website’s performance. In fact, the only challenge can be figuring out what to focus on and how to interpret the data, especially if you’re new to analytics.

At any rate, it behooves you to get up to speed with Google Analytics and use it regularly. You’ll be able to see exactly how specific blog posts, website pages, and other content on your site is performing now vs. a specified period of time; where the traffic to that content is coming from; the bounce rate for your content; and so much more.

If you’re new to Google Analytics, start by familiarizing yourself with Google’s suggested training resources.

  • Google Webmaster Tools – As comprehensive as Google Analytics is, you should also become familiar with Google Webmaster Tools, as it will give you some data the former tool doesn’t provide.

For example, with Google Webmaster Tools, you can see the keywords that drove visitors to your site, which can help you determine future content that’s likely to attract traffic; the number of external site links to your site; and which pages of your site have received the most links.

Google Webmaster Tools also provide lots of technical information that can help ensure that Google is properly indexing your site and the site is displaying well on mobile devices, for starters.

  • BufferBuffer and Hootsuite – We covered these two freemium-priced social media management tools in a previous article, “Top Tools and Tips for Amplifying Your Content Marketing Efforts.” But they deserve a mention here because both provide useful analytics of your social media posts, which can help determine if your content has gained traction on Twitter and other social networks.

Earlier this year, Buffer beefed up its social media analytics for those on a paid ‘Awesome’ ($102/year) or Business (prices vary) plan. For example, using the dashboard you can organize your previous social media updates by those with the most clicks, retweets, favorites, replies, or reach, as well as easily see which updates were the least popular. If you’re on a Business plan, you can choose specific date ranges for your analytics reporting and export the data for sharing with others.

HootsuiteHootsuite offers robust reporting for users of its paid plans, which start at $10/month. In 2014, Hootsuite acquired uberVU and has integrated that company’s social media analytics into Hootsuite. The uberVU analytics tap more than 100 million sources, such as online news, forums, and blogs, to give you a wider view of the conversations happening in real-time about your company or product. Sentiment trends (neutral, positive, or negative) around your chosen keywords are also displayed. Hootsuite’s Core Analytics help you identify social influencers and track the performance of individuals and teams.

  • Followerwonk – Twitter is a prime location for promoting your content, and Followerwonk (part of Moz) is an ideal tool for learning more about your followers, comparing your social graph to competitors, learning which hashtags are most often used, generating reports, and more. A few tools are free; others require a paid Moz plan, which starts at $99/month.
  • QuintlyQuintly – Quintly is a social media analytics tool designed to help you track and analyze how competitors are faring on social media, as well as obtain analytics on your brand’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts as well as blogs. Quintly offers more than 150 metrics and helps you identify your most influential followers, among other features.

You can sign up for a free Quintly plan to receive analytics (for the latest 30-day period) on up to three Facebook profiles. Paid plans start at $129/month after a 14-day free trial.

  • Cyfe – Cyfe bills itself as an “all-in-one” business dashboard, with the ability to monitor and measure results from multiple websites, individual departments, social media, SEO and SEM campaigns—even business expenses and sales. The service has a number of well-known corporate users, such as Whole Foods, AT&T and Salesforce. The free service limits the number of dashboards available but might be all you’ll need. And at $19/month (or $14/month if you pay for a year’s service), the premium plan is affordable.