The Best Metrics To Measure For Gauging Content Marketing Success: An Interview With Benj Arriola

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One of the least-talked-about but also one of the most important aspects of web marketing is analyzing data. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview one of the rock star Filipino SEOs, Benj Arriola regarding this important but often neglected topic.

This is the first part of the interview where Benj discusses the best metrics to measure the success of your content marketing efforts.

Arvin: What are the best metrics to measure content marketing success and why? 

Benj: Ok, great question. But before going into specific details, let’s answer this question in general first. Why would you want to do content marketing? Because that is what people are looking for, it is what people talk about, it educates your audience, it strengthens your brand, it generates demand, it can be compelling enough to share on social sites and get more natural promotions from other people and eventually lead to more natural links. Having said all of that and I do not want this to be a full lecture on content marketing, but what metrics would be important knowing why we do content marketing? Different people would be interested in different metrics.


  • SEO:
    • Immediate Metrics Observed
      • Number of links going to the created content pages.
        SEO people use content marketing as linkable assets by making great content that people would naturally link to and pass around.
      • Number of shares on Facebook, tweets on Twitter and other sharing, microblogging, status updating social platforms.
        These shares, tweets, votes, bookmarks and other social interactions do not necessarily affect search engine ranking directly since many of these are either nofollowed, or are running on AJAX/JavaScript, or are behind a login page that Google cannot crawl properly, but there is a correlation between share, likes, tweets, etc. with the links gain. Generally speaking, if people like talking about it, and passing it around in social media, it is a testament of the quality of the content already. The more people that see it, eventually someone, somewhere will link to it naturally. The more people see it, the higher the probability of getting more natural links.
      • Incoming Referring Traffic
        The more referring traffic is going to the content pages, the more links you are getting that don’t only give search engine benefit but also traffic directly coming from the links.
    • Longer Term Metrics
      • Organic Search Traffic Over Time
        Obviously, if the content created is really good, and new content is generated over time, you aim to see an increase in organic search traffic over time going to the content pages.
      • Ranking of Targeted Traffic Over Time
        The more content you knock out, and if it is good content that more and more people love, over time people would just talk about it more and it will gain more natural links and improve the ranking of these pages.
      • Number of Incoming Organic Search Keywords Over Time
        The more content you have, the more keywords you will be ranking for. An increase in these keywords is a sign of success.
      • Ranking and Organic Search Traffic of the Whole Site Over Time
        Generally if your content pages start to get more links, and start to rank higher, it helps out in the overall trust and authority of the domain as a whole. This will eventually help the ranking of other pages even if they are not the main content pages.
  • Usability / LPO / CRO
    • Engagement
      There is no really good way to measure engagement if you do not know intent. You may be able to look at metrics such as time on site and bounce rate, and these can be good estimators of engagement, but you never know the intent of the user unless it seems to be really obvious, but if it is not obvious, you might need to ask your audience. For instance a long time on site can mean something good where in someone is really paying attention to a blog post written, or a long time on site can also mean a person is so confused what to click on because the UI is really bad. It takes some extra minutes just figuring out what to click on.
    • Conversion Funnel / Drilldown
      Once people land on the content page, there can be assigned micro-conversion points or main conversion points. The main conversion is a sale, or a lead. The micro-conversions may be signup on the newsletter, or click on the “learn more” button, or watched a video, it really can be anything that the usability person thinks is of value.
  • Social Media
    • Number of Shares, Likes, Tweets etc.
      Similar to SEO, the more people talk about it and spread it, the more successful it is.
    • Number of new Fans, Followers, etc.
      Social media is an audience development tool, or more specifically a community development tool. Normally any online community is bound together by common interest. What can stir up the interest is the content available to the community. The more people you have, the better stronghold on the influence over the community you gain. That influence can translate into an increasing market which further translates into more sales.
  • Executives
    • ROI, Revenue or Profit
      Usually when these people look at the metrics, all they want to know is if they made money or not. Now for content marketing, this is kind of tricky because the content sometimes helps out in the overall marketing but does not generally close the deal, although it can, but it is not always the case. If a service is sold as a bundle service of SEO or Social Media then the executive team will look at this as a whole and just ask the question “how much did I spend and how much return did I get for my money? But what they have to understand is that sometimes the content that attracted people to visit your website is more of an influencer than a closer. So for instance, let’s say you blogged about how coffee helps out relieve asthma and you had a whole study about it, with video and infographic and people passed it around. People talked about you, people linked to you. Ranking went up and everything but the content itself did not make a sale. Now when ranking went up for various keywords of the whole site, traffic went up and sales went up. Lets say the company that made the content was selling a large scale coffee maker machine for coffee shops. It has a larger price tag and people do not buy this right away. Though due to the increased ranking it increased awareness of your brand. Then, more people bookmarked your site in their browsers since they know it already, they go back and forth to your site often and after 6 months they decide to buy. Now the traffic looks like a direct hit, but you cannot deny the fact that part of that success was the awareness push by the higher ranking.The higher ranking was pushed by the linking from the content marketing. So tracking the success of a content marketing campaign  may be harder to explain but with the right tools, it can be done efficiently.

benjWatch out for Part 2 of this interview where Benj talks about how to use Google Analytics to measure the above metrics, tools that help analyze data, and tips on how to interpret huge amounts of data.

Benj Arriola is currently the Director of SEO at Internet Marketing Inc.

Follow him on Twitter.




  1. Jerald says

    Hi Sir Benj. Good day. i decided and eager to learn SEO pero hindi ko alam paano ako mag sisimula. Please advise me kung ano ang dapat ko muna gawin or if mayroon po kayo tutorial lesson or do i need to enroll to any IT school to know more about this field. Your response will be greatly appreciated

    Best regards


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