Marketing metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tell you all you need to know about how your content—and your business—is doing.

There are a wide variety of KPIs and data that can help steer your B2B marketing in the right direction. But which KPIs should you pay attention to? And how can you make sure your marketing activities are resulting in conversions and leads, and driving real bottom-line business results?

Proving the value of a campaign is actually one of the most difficult challenges marketers face. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report, 40 percent of marketers have trouble proving the return of investment of their marketing activities. That’s nearly half of all marketers struggling to figure out what their data is telling them.

To make things easier for B2B content marketers, and to help inform their future strategies, here are four key content marketing KPIs that can help you steer your marketing campaigns into success:

1. Share of Voice. Or SOV, measures your brand’s presence compared to your direct competitors within specific categories or industries. Most brands measure SOV within the media (how much media buzz they’re getting compared to competitors and the rest of the industry) or SOV on social or SOV in organic search.

Calculating your social SOV, or the amount of social conversations happening around your brand or topic compared to competitors, is useful for gauging customer engagement, pinpoint audience demographics (such as job, gender, hobbies, etc.), and measure the strength of your message.

SOV also helps you understand how your thought leadership and reputation is developing over time. If more conversations are happening in your social spaces, your thought leadership is increasing and your customers are remaining engaged.  

While it’s possible to put together a SOV report manually, many analytics platforms will do this for you (which is what we recommend, as it’ll save you tons of time and headache).

2. Number of MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads). Also known as “warm leads”, these are your target customers, the visitors to your website who have displayed enough interest by reading a couple of blog posts, filling out a lead-gen form, or downloading a white paper or other industry report. Like Leo said in that one movie, you had their curiosity—now you have their attention.

If you have a great number of MQLs visiting, then you can then determine several factors:

  • You successfully know your demographics and buyer personas.
  • Your content (blogs, landing page, inbound marketing, etc.) is effective at attracting your buyer personas.   
  • Your buyer personas are open to hearing more about your product or service.

The next step is to let the sales team take over so they can work on turning MQLs into SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads), which requires further and more nuanced interaction to make the conversion.  

3. New Visitors vs. Return Visitors. New users, who are visiting your site for the first time, are a great indicator of traffic growth since they measure how visitors find the website through your SEO and content efforts.

If you’re getting a lot of new organic traffic then your keyword visibility and ranking position is high, your content is relevant to your audience, and your search engine optimization is on-point. If you’re getting a lot of new referral traffic that means people are finding your content through high-quality backlinks on partner sites or your guest blogging efforts are paying off.

Meanwhile, returning visitors keep coming back because they find your content valuable. If you’re getting more new users than returning visitors, it could mean your content needs a refresh. Update more consistently, and you’ll have a more engaged audience and stronger brand identity.

4. Landing Page Conversion Rate. Landing pages for B2B brands are pretty important. Given that the sales cycle for a B2B company can be anywhere from 3 months to 18 months, it’s important to have opportunities early on in the sales funnel to engage and educate prospects. Landing pages do this well by helping convert visitors into leads with authoritative, trust-building content such as ebooks and white papers. How many people are visiting your white paper landing page? Now, how many people are completing an action like downloading a a white paper, watching a video, or filling out a contact form?

If they’re visiting, that’s great—your headline for your content was interesting enough to get them there. But if they’re not completing any actions, something’s amiss. Check to see if your call-to-action button or form is placed in the spot. If it’s all the way at the bottom, visitors may not be scrolling down to see it. If they’re not scrolling down, your landing page text may not be engaging enough. If they’re bouncing off immediately, the banner graphic or video may need adjustment.

There are lots of ways your marketing metrics and KPIs can tell you how you’re doing. And we’ll go deeper into each of these metrics in future articles. Meanwhile, if you need help translating what all that data means, give us a heads-up and we’ll figure out what your metrics are telling you together.

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