AKA. How To Find Out if Your Content Marketing is Profitable (Or Not)

The only metrics entrepreneurs should invest energy in collecting are those that help them make decisions. Unfortunately, the majority of data available in off-the-shelf analytics packages are what I call Vanity Metrics. They might make you feel good, but they don’t offer clear guidance for what to do. – Eric Ries, Serial Entrepreneur

Are you tracking metrics that help your business grow?

Or are you wasting valuable time and money tracking vanity metrics and just pretending you understand them?

If you don’t know how your content marketing affect your sales and profits, you can’t optimize it to get the highest ROI possible. Which means you’re basically throwing away money when you don’t really need to.

The only metrics you need to focus on are the metrics that are essential to help you understand how you can make your content better. That way, you can engage your readers better and really boost your sales, profits, and bottom line.

Though the concept is simple, implementing it takes some work.

Here’s a list of metrics to help you understand how well your content engages your readers, and what you need to do to improve it to get more customers and increase your sales and revenues.

So let’s dig in…


Why Measure Metrics in the First Place?

Every business needs to track different metrics, depending on what they want to do. With that said, it’s important for you understand that you can never have a full picture view of what your metrics are doing for you.

Metrics are limited.

They only point you to what your customers really want.

Your customers behavior and motivation for buying is what really matters.

Metrics help you learn what your readers need and desire. And with this information, you can write content that connects with them a deep emotional level, and build a list of dedicated fans and customers.

In fact, tracking the right metrics can help you:

  • DOUBLE or TRIPLE your sales with simple changes to your headline or CTA
  • See what your most popular content is, so you can publish more articles on that topic and give your readers the information they really want (and need) to get their hands on
  • Allow you to see how many people come to your website from other websites, so you know how effective your marketing efforts are, and where your traffic comes from
  • Get a clear perspective on how long readers stay on your website. So you can see if your content is engaging… Or if you’re just boring people to death and losing out sales and potential customers

Now, you want to make sure to track the RIGHT metrics.

Or else you’re just wasting your time and money.

So let’s talk about the specific metrics you can track to get the most out of your content marketing.

First, we’ll start with…


Consumption Metrics

It’s important to understand your prospect’s motivation for buying your products. When you know what your readers want, you can write content that really connects with them, and really boost your sales and revenues.

One great way to know your buyers behavior is by looking at consumption metrics.

These are metrics that show you how your readers are engaging with your content and how they got there in the first place.

Many of these can be accessed right in Google Analytics, which is 100% free and easy-to-use.

Here are the most important consumption metrics for you to choose from…


Pageviews measure the total number of times a page on your website is viewed, including if someone visits your page twice.

Pageviews take account of every viewing of your page, even if someone comes back to your site twice from the same device. So they don’t tell you exactly how many people are coming to your site.

But they still give you a valuable perspective on how much that content is being engaged with.

To see how many people are reading a specific piece of content on your site, go to Google Analytics under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

This will allow you to see which posts are:

  1. The most popular
  2. The least popular
  3. Gaining traffic over time

With this information, you can improve the content that people already love and get even more engagement (and sales) from it.

You can also get rid of any content that flopped, or improve it to try and get it to convert better.


This metric measures the number of actual people that come to your website. So for instance, if you show up to this website twice on the same device, I’ll only see ONE unique visitor for those two visits from you.

With that said, you WILL have duplicate visitors because people will check out your site on different devices.

But this metric is still very reliable.

It allows you to get a good idea of just how much traffic your website (or a specific piece of content) is growing over a period of time.

To see these, go the main Audience Overview in Google Analytics, and look at the Unique Visitors for whatever period of time you want.


This metrics shows you what percentage of your list is opening your emails. You can use it to test subject lines and see which ones get you the best open rate.

You’ll find this metric in most email providers such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, and GetResponse.


This metric allows you to see how many people are clicking through from your emails to your articles.

If no one is opening the content in your emails, you’ve got to figure out WHY.

  • Is your call to action not converting?
  • Are your emails too boring or unrealistic for people to care?
  • Is it your subject line that’s preventing people from opening the emails?

You can see your click-thru rate in most email providers such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and AWeber.

Conversion Metrics


This metric shows you how well your opt-in box is doing at converting visitors into prospects. It also shows you how well your content connects with people. (No one will subscribe to your email list if they don’t like your content.)

If your list is growing, it’s a sign that people like your content and want to hear more from you.

If you’re not getting a lot of subscribers to your email list, you’re probably not connecting with your readers very well.

You can see your email subscriber growth in most email providers such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and AWeber.



As you know, the goal of your content marketing is to convert your readers into lifelong customers and fans of your business.

You want to create an audience that LOVES what you have to offer. And this is why it’s so important for you to track how much money you’re making from your content marketing.

How else will you know if you’re getting a positive ROI?

An easy way to do this is using the “Ecommerce Tracking” feature in Google Analytics. To do this, go to GA > Acquisition > Channels. And you’ll be able to see exactly which channels are making you the most money.


Engagement Metrics



Bounce rate measures how long someone stays on your site for one, single visit. You can use this metric to see if people are engaging with your content, or if they’re just landing on the page and closing it immediately.

A high bounce rate means people are coming to your site and “bouncing” (leaving) quickly. Which as you know, is NOT a good thing.

A low bounce rate means just the opposite – people are engaging with your content.

To see the bounce rate of a specific page go to Google Analytics under Behavior > Site Content and select the page you want to see the bounce rate for.



This metric shows you all the websites that are sharing and linking to your content. You can use it to see where some of your traffic is coming from.

Referral traffic can help you find websites who linked to your site without you asking them to. Which is a great way to find potential joint ventures with business owners who naturally link to your content because they love it so much.

To see this metric, go to Google Analytics under Behavior > Acquisition > Referral Traffic.



This metric allows you to see how long someone spends reading your content. You can use it to see which pieces of content are the most popular. So you can develop more content like that and get rid of anything that flopped.

To see this metric, go to Google Analytics under Behavior > Site Content > Avg. Time on Page.



This isn’t a metric, but it’s still a great way to see if people are moved by your content.

People don’t take the time to write comments unless they feel emotionally impacted by it. When people spend their most valuable resource (time) writing YOU a message, they want to connect with you and learn more.

And THESE are some of your best prospects.

So be sure to comment back and give these people the attention they deserve.

Now, that you know about engagement metrics, let’s discuss…


Retention Metrics

Retention metrics allow you to see if people REALLY want what you have to offer. They show how well you’re able to hold onto your readers after their initial visit to your website or piece of content.

Retention metrics can help you answer questions such as:

  • How many readers come back to your site?
  • How often do readers come back to your site to read your content?
  • How many people are subscribing to your email list to stay up to date on your business?


This metric can help you see whether or not people are coming back to your site for more.

If people are coming back to your to read new content, ask you questions, and buy products from you, then you know you’re on the right track.

But if you notice that almost nobody comes to visit your site, then you’ve figure out how to turn that around.

You can see this metric in Google Analytics under Audience > Behavior > New vs. Returning.



This metric shows you the number of times someone has come to your website or piece of content, and how long it’s been since their last visit.

You can use this metric to see how well people are engaging with your content. If people aren’t coming back for more, then they’re not interested in what you have to offer them… whatever the reason may be.

If that’s the case, then it’s up to you to figure out WHY this is happening and correct course.

You can track this in Google Analytics under Audience > Behavior > Frequency & Recency.



This metrics allows you to see whether your emails are connecting with your readers or chasing people away.

If your unsubscribes are going DOWN instead of UP, then you want to identify WHY this is happening and do something about it.

For instance, are your click-through rates from your emails to your content really low?

If so, that means the copy in your email isn’t persuading people to buy… instead it’s chasing them away. So you need to fix that if you want to make any sales with your emails and content marketing.

Now that we’ve covered retention metrics, let’s move onto…


Content Costs

It’s important to look at how much you’re paying for content so you can get an accurate idea of your ROI.

You want to know exactly how much you’re spending, and what your ROI is.

That way, you know just how much money you’re making, and how many customers you’re getting through your content. From there, you can improve upon it, and figure out how to rake in more and more sales.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you account for…


Cost and Return of Ads

Aside from spending money on content, you’ll may also be spending money to get traffic to your content. (Though there are many ways to get free traffic too.)

If you’re going to spend money on ads, you’ll need to track how much you’re spending, so you can figure out if it’s worth it for you.

You definitely don’t need to buy ads to promote your content.

But it CAN bring you a new stream of traffic to your site and speed up your results.

When you’re spending money on ads, it’s crucial for you to track how much you’re making per click and page impression. Or else you won’t have an accurate idea of how well your ad is doing in the first place.

Fortunately, Google Adwords, Facebook, LinkedIn and many other ad platforms will show you how much you spend per click and page impression.

Once you have these numbers, you can find out how much these ads contribute to your total revenue.

If you’re making money off of each customer, then keep on spending!

If you’re not making money off your ads, you’ll want to:

  1. Test a specific element of your ad to improve your sales
  2. End your campaign

Now, that’s all the metrics you need to get started.

But before you leave, I just want to say…


Measuring Metrics Matters

“If you can learn to effectively track the important metrics of your business, you’ll be able to see how your marketing efforts are affecting your revenue and have a better understanding of how you can improve and optimize your marketing efforts.” (See his full blog post on metrics here.)

Neil Patel, Founder of QuickSprout, HelloBar, and KISSMetrics

If you want really to optimize your content and get the most sales and customers out of every article you publish, you NEED to track metrics.

Metrics allow you to learn about your target market’s hopes, dreams, and fears. And you can use this information to create better products, build a larger customer base, and scale your business fast.

Making money online is an ever-changing process.

If you really want to thrive in this competitive marketplace nowadays, you need to stay focused the critical few tasks that are essential for you to get more customers and boost your sales.

Don’t get lost in things that SHOULD have worked.

Stay flexible, and adjust to the feedback your customers give you.

Peter Drucker, author of the Effective Executive, says it well, “People in any organization are always attached to the obsolete – the things that should have worked but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.

Don’t waste your time on tasks that don’t matter…



More is not always better.

When choosing the metrics you need to measure for your business, only choose what’s essential to help you make your content better.

You want to track as little metrics as possible.

Why make any more work for yourself than you need to?

Also, don’t limit yourself with metrics…



While metrics are great at helping you understand your customers, they’re limited.

You need to take the time to talk with your customers in REAL LIFE and get to know who they really are if you want to serve them in any meaningful way.

How else are you going to know what they really want?


Metrics are just ONE aspect of your marketing. If you want to learn more about Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Facebook Advertising, and you can check out the rest of the blog here.