SaaS Content Marketing:
How to Measure Your SaaS Content’s Performance
When it comes to content performance, data is everything.
You don’t just start writing pieces about a topic and expect your rankings to climb on the SERP (search engine result page) once you hit publish. That’s just a poor SaaS content marketing strategy.
No, what you want is to structure your approach before you even start writing. After that, monitor everything.
Now, this includes a host of elements – keywords to target, topics to cover, publishing schedules. But we’ll focus our attention on measuring your content performance with the help of the metrics outlined below.
This consistent monitoring will be crucial as your content will be one of the reasons why people would visit and stay on your site. If they just click on your site then leave shortly after, you’ll just increase your bounce rate (more on that later).
For now, let’s talk about the importance of these metrics and why you need them to grow your site.
SaaS Content Marketing Metrics: Why It Matters
American statistician William Edward Deming once said,
“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”
That quote perfectly captures the importance of SaaS content marketing metrics.
After all, who would want to listen to you if you can’t back your claims with hard facts and proven information? And that’s just the external aspect of it too. In content marketing, you wouldn’t even have the chance to present your data with the C-suite if the data you’re holding is all over the place. The internal struggle with your team would eat you alive first.
So how do you measure your SaaS content marketing performance? Well, before anything else, you need to lay out what you’re trying to accomplish with your content. And to do that, you need to understand the SaaS sales funnel.
Each of these stages requires different content. For instance, if a customer is on the awareness stage, your content will revolve around providing useful information to your readers. Basically, you’re trying to increase your site’s authority so your visitors view you as a thought leader in your industry.
If they are at the advocacy stage – meaning they’re already a paying client – your content will focus on turning them into ardent supporters. As the name suggests, the goal here is to have them willingly endorse your SaaS product to their peers.
You can do that by showcasing the positive culture of your company or the movement you’re supporting. That could range from fighting climate change or helping non-profit taking care of homeless animals. These are but one aspect of each stage but you get the idea.
The Content Marketing Metrics You Should Pay Attention To
Now, once you have a clear idea of your goals, it’s time to start tracking your content’s performance. But be warned. Always take into account the whole story.
Oftentimes, too many SaaS startups fixate themselves on vanity metrics that are only the piece of the entire puzzle.
Site traffic is a fine example of this.
Yes, traffic is an important indicator that your content is performing well. But always consider the most important factor for all SaaS companies: MRR (monthly recurring revenue) and ARR (year recurring revenue).
Let’s say you’ve been able to increase your traffic by 300 percent in the last six months. But your conversion rates remain static. What gives?
Well, it could be that your SaaS content is focusing too much on the awareness stage and you’re ignoring the decision stage. So keep an eye out on important metrics to increase your bottom line.
So what are these metrics?
1. Site Traffic
Since we’ve already touched on site traffic, we might as well expand on it. Site traffic is defined as the number of people visiting your site. So if you’re publishing valuable and well-written content, you’re going to increase your site’s traffic.
Now, it’s difficult to determine how much traffic you should target. However, your main goal here is to improve your monthly and yearly visits.
Animalz published a solid study on this. Your goal is to grow your traffic by six percent every month. But this will again depend on several factors like the site’s age and its existing monthly traffic. So don’t be surprised if the number you’re seeing experiences an upward and downward trend.
Animalz also said that sites should aim for more than 45,000 yearly page views, get at least 11 percent of traffic from organic search, and grow organic search by eight percent each month. Of course, as mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t rely on site traffic alone to measure the performance of your SaaS content.
This brings us to…
2. Bounce Rate
Similar to site traffic, bounce rate is a key SaaS metric that only becomes valuable when combined with other data. Bounce rate refers to visitors who came to your site and left without interacting with your other pages or triggering an interaction event (clicking a link or playing a video).
Now, this could mean a lot of things like poorly-written content, unenticing CTA (call to action), or irrelevant images. However, a high bounce rate could also mean your content is so thorough that your visitors got everything they needed from that single post.
Think about it. Let’s say you’ve written an expansive and highly detailed piece about key SaaS metrics. Your visitor goes to that page, consumes the content, and left without clicking your other pages. That will count as a bounce rate. And yet, the visitor was more than satisfied with the content they just read.
This is what makes bounce rate tricky. It needs other metrics so you can make sense of the data it’s providing.
So what’s a good bounce rate? Well, that depends on your site, industry. and the page they’re landing on. Again, content pages will often see a high bounce rate, especially if it’s answering queries. Sure, some visitors may comment on the blog but most will silently consume the content and leave.
This is why bounce rate should be measured along with…
3. Average Session Duration
At first glance, session duration can be pretty straightforward as it’s simply the amount of time a visitor spends on your site. It starts when someone lands on your site and ends when they leave. However, if the visitor becomes inactive after 30 minutes, Google Analytics will then end that session.
That session will also be counted as a bounce if the visitor didn’t interact with any of the elements within that page. Google does this to remove artificial inflation like visiting a site and staying on it for hours on end.
As for how Google calculates the average session duration, the formula is pretty simple.
Average session duration = overall session duration/ total sessions
So let’s say your site had five visitors. Three of them spent 120 seconds on your site, while the other two spent 240 seconds. Google will then add all those up for a total of 840 seconds (360 + 280) and divide that by five, the overall number of visitors.
Your average session duration is 168 seconds or two minutes and eight seconds.
That’s a good metric as the industry standard is between two to three minutes. That means users are reading your content.
But remember, if those five visitors read your content but didn’t interact with the page (click a link, play an embedded video), they’re considered as a bounce. That means your average session duration is zero.
Here’s another scenario:
- Five users visit your SaaS content
- All five spent five minutes on it then clicked a second link
- They spend another five minutes on that second page but left without interacting with any of its elements
- The overall session is only five minutes for each user, meaning it didn’t count the time they spent on the second page
This is why session duration alone isn’t enough to gauge how much time a user is spending on your site. It’s only a piece of the puzzle.
So how can average session duration help your site climb the SERP? Well, it could tell you two things.
First, it could be that your target audience isn’t interacting with your content due to poor formatting. That could mean a lot of things like blocks of text, no helpful visuals, or the content itself isn’t engaging enough.
Second, you have a poor CTA, meaning you aren’t encouraging your target audience to interact with your content. For instance, let’s say you’re talking about how to find the right SaaS content marketing agency. In that piece, you can link to a previous post you published on how to create your content marketing team without hiring an SEO writing company.
The idea here is to connect your content with similar pieces you’ve published so the user visits another page. That will decrease your bounce rate and increase your session duration.
This brings us to…
4. Average Time on Page
Where average session duration calculates the overall time a user spends on your site, average time on page measures the time someone spent on a specific page.
Again, this will only be counted if that user triggers an interaction event.
The formula for calculating average time on page is:
Total time on page / (total page views – total exists)
So, if a page has 10,000 views, 5,000 exits, and 500 minutes of time on page, you got 0.1 minute or six seconds. That’s a really poor score as you’d want that to be within two to three minutes similar to the average session duration.
So let’s closely look at how Google Analytics measures this specific metric.
Here’s an example:
- Someone visits content A
- They spend five minutes reading, then click a link and land on content B
- Time on page on content A is five minutes
- They spent four minutes on content B, then click a link and lands on content C
- Time on page on content B is four minutes
- They spent another four minutes on content C but didn’t interact with it
- Time on page on content C is zero minutes (bounce)
In this scenario, the user provided nine minutes of total time on page. Note that the minutes logged by content C weren’t counted as the user didn’t trigger an interaction event.
So always consider that when you’re publishing a piece. Your content should have compelling CTAs that would push readers to visit your other pages.
Otherwise known as inbound or incoming links, backlinks are when other sites are linking back to your site.
This is a great content marketing metric to track as it means other sites are finding value from the pieces you’re publishing.
They’re essentially endorsing something you’ve written, which will boost your authority on that particular subject.
This is especially true if high-authority sites are the ones referencing your content.
It sends a signal to Google that you’re publishing valuable information. And as a result, it’ll pull your content higher on the SERP so more people can see it.
Remember, the number one goal of Google is to offer value to people.
When high-authority sites are using your site as a reference point, Google will deem you worthy of more traffic. So it increases your visibility by parading you in front of other users.
To track this key performance indicator (KPI), you’ll have to use backlink checker tools like Ahrefs or Moz Link Explorer. As for the best content marketing strategy to follow for earning quality backlinks, the most straightforward way is to publish highly relevant pieces.
Reports, case studies, and experiments your team has conducted on your site are great options to start with.
Share what works and what hasn’t to provide other B2B marketers with valuable information.
In turn, these marketers could reference your site when they write pieces related to the published content.
6. Lead Generation
Of course, these SaaS metrics all need to contribute to increasing your lead generation. That could be growing your email list, having your visitors sign up for a free trial, downloading a comprehensive report, or a demo request from interested potential customers.
Google Analytics is the most used tool for this. It allows you to see where these leads are coming from and from what specific content that you’ve published.
Speaking of which, to further enhance your lead generation capabilities, you should always pay attention to the content that’s bringing home the bacon. Analyze and extract what you can from that content so you can replicate it.
Perhaps you’ve targeted keywords that have a high search volume but little content is being written on them. In which case, hone in on that specific topic and try to expand on it to cover more ground. But always remember to lead with value. If you’re just repeating your point over and over using different content in an attempt to increase traffic, that could hurt your site rather than help it.
With regards to spreading your content, you should use different social media platforms to reach as many customers as you can. Social media has become a massive player in SEO through the years and it’s only going to grow from here with the spread of more affordable smartphones and 5G technology.
Metrics for Content Marketing
As previously mentioned, all these SaaS marketing metrics should not be evaluated individually. You need to interpret them together so they’ll give you a clearer picture of how your content marketing strategy is performing.
Moreover, the metrics highlighted here are by no means the only KPI you should be looking at. But they are included in the most relevant factors that will tell you how your content is helping your site climb the SERP.
And lastly, always consider the data you’re collecting to the goal you’re trying to accomplish. Your content strategy might be bringing in a large amount of traffic. But unless you’re converting them into paying clients, then your revenue will remain stagnant.
Of course, it could be that you’re a new SaaS website and increasing organic traffic is exactly what you’re aiming for. In which case, go right ahead. It typically takes six months to a year before content marketing produces significant results.
However, this could vary depending on the industry. For SaaS, it’ll be much longer considering the market is saturated already and other companies might already be using a tool similar to your product.
Don’t fret, however. Content marketing may take some time to yield results. But when it does, the payoff is more than worth it, which is doubly true for those with solid foundations.
So focus on value, track the relevant KPI, and adjust your SaaS content strategy based on the data you’re compiling.
For more information about SaaS marketing and other related information, visit our marketing blog here.