Three is a magic number (of performance metrics)

Page views are the most elementary way to measure how your content is doing. Let’s get beyond that, shall we?

Lots of content marketers look at lots of numbers, but in practical terms, only page views really matter.

Problem: Focus on a single metric usually creates an incentive for counterproductive behavior.

Example. If you’re writing for a niche audience, but your page views are too low, gravity pulls you to broaden the content. Now you’re not serving the original target audience, but hey, those numbers are looking good!

Here’s my theory. Healthy content operations measure success with at least three different metrics.

  1. One measure that shows audience growth.
  2. One measure that shows audience engagement.
  3. And one measure that is focused on the long term.

For example, here’s a set you could apply to a new-ish newsroom or online magazine.

  1. Okay, fine, page views. It’s practically inevitable, so let’s embrace it as a growth metric, and try to achieve balance with the other two.
  2. Newsletter subscriptions. Or something else that suggests relationship, conversion, movement along buyer’s journey, lead nurture, etc. Time-on-page and pages-per-visit are interesting but less actionable, harder to move.
  3. Domain authority. Do you know your domain authority? We’ll talk about this later too. It’s actionable, particularly for newer sites, because that’s typically when it’s easiest to improve your number.

The three metrics have to be equally important. Because the content team is going to spend time and effort on each of them.

When the site is more mature, I’d probably replace the domain authority metric with something else.

What are your three? Why? Email me. (I have disabled comments because … because … have you ever moderated comments on a blog?)