As part of our content marketing analytics practice at Stanke Digital, we use a simple chart to help measure against some channel benchmarks. We bucket content performance in two different buckets, baseline traffic and bonus traffic. Below is a look at the reference guide we use.
At Stanke Digital, we use this baseline document as a reference to measure content marketing efforts in respect to web traffic. Click to enlarge. Click here to download the Content Marketing Baseline and Measurement template.
Baseline traffic vs Bonus traffic
When doing content analysis, we like to compare a piece of content’s performance against either an internal benchmark or a competitor. This is how we determine if our content performance was baseline or if we got bonus traffic. Let's take a look at each type of traffic.
We consider baseline content traffic to be the table steaks of my marketing efforts. In other words, we are going to market our content in these channels every time, like clockwork. (Note: The percentage of traffic for each of these channels is simply what we use as a benchmark. Your breakout will be different depending on your individual strength in each channel).
We look to produce content that will deliver around 10% of my total traffic over the life of the content piece.
Looking at strictly organic social traffic performance, we aim for 45% of my total traffic. For the social channel, this would be all traffic from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit, which are really the only social channels we am active in.
The baseline we aim to achieve for referral traffic is 5%.
Organic Search / SEO
Over the long term, we look for a piece of content to generate around 35% of the total traffic from organic search. This is more of a long-term play, so we try and update this metric about once a quarter, mostly just to see if there are dramatic changes.
Our email list is not very large at this point, so our total percentage of traffic from this channel, at 5%, might be a lot lower compared to many others who have larger lists and strong email engagement metrics.
These five traffic sources make up our baseline traffic. Here is the important part we use as a goal… Our baseline traffic needs to be greater than or equal to that of a comparative piece of content we have done in the past, or that of a competitor site. Again, the percentages are our benchmarks - yours will be different.
For content deemed strategic enough for a little extra push, this is where bonus traffic comes into play. Here are the components of bonus traffic.
Website homepages are a heavily requested piece of inventory, almost guaranteeing clicks. When we feature content on my homepage or sidebar, we am looking for a 50% increase in traffic.
This would be the content being published on other owned web properties, and we aim for a traffic increase of 10%.
Any paid digital media (paid search, display, paid social, etc.), whether in-house or via an agency, would fall in this area. When executed, we aim for a 40% increase in a content's traffic.
Why these baselines are important
At Stanke Digital, we believe that content is not meant for a "spray-and-pray" approach. Where you place your links should be strategic, which is why we like the approach of setting some baseline metrics, and then calculating bonus traffic on top of what traffic you should expect to get.