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What Are KPIs and How Can You Use Them to Improve Your Content Marketing

By collegemktgrp | June 23, 2022 | Brands/Advertisers

Content marketing is an important organic strategy that helps your school or brand build awareness and trust with college students and their parents. And your blog can be one of the most effective tools for reaching students and nurturing them from awareness through conversion.

Whether you’re trying to get students to enroll at your school or purchase a product or service from your brand, the more targeted content you create, the more likely you’ll see success.

But once you get your blog up and running, how do you know your content is really working? That’s where key performance indicators, or KPIs, come in!

Content KPIs help you understand how users are engaging with your content (or not). By understanding key KPIs like time on page, bounce rate, and more, you can see which pieces of content are resonating best with your audience — and where there might be room for improvement.

Learn the most important content KPIs in Google Analytics, what they mean, and how to improve them so your content can effectively engage college students and their parents.

What are Key Performance Indicators?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurable metrics that determine how well your brand or school is achieving your content marketing campaign goals.

Just as social media platforms have built-in marketing analytics to measure the performance of posts and stories, Google Analytics is a reliable tool to assess the success of your content marketing strategy.

How to Set Up Your Google Analytics Dashboard

Since content marketing is a long game (unlike inbound strategies), you need a reporting dashboard that can help you compare year-over-year data (versus month-over-month).

Google Analytics holds all the pertinent information for your content campaigns. But before you start setting up your dashboard, make sure you have the most recent version so you have access to the latest resources and tools.

You’ll also need to create a Google account if you don’t have one yet. Then register your account with Google Analytics to begin setting up your dashboard.

Once you’re ready, follow these steps:

  1. Set up your Google Tag manager
  2. Create your Google Analytics account
  3. Set up the analytics tag with Google Manager
  4. Set up your Google Analytics goals
  5. Link to the Google Search console

Once you’re set up there are tons of different things you can do with Google Analytics. Start with the performance metrics that best serve the mission of your brand.

Some KPIs can reveal which landing pages and blogs are being read most often (and which organic keywords are driving readers to those pages). Others reveal the amount of time readers spend on certain pages, and whether they’re sticking around to look at other pieces of content before leaving your site.

Whether you’re a college enrollment manager or marketing manager, the right KPIs will help guide your decision-making process, whatever your goals are. There’s a way to measure the success of every target you come up with.

How Do You Determine Which KPI Metrics to Measure?

Your content marketing strategy works to address college students’ goals and pain points at each stage of the buyer journey — from awareness through conversion. Content KPIs can help you understand if your content is helping you achieve the following goals:

  • Generating more leads
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Boosting engagement
  • Increasing conversions
  • Building brand loyalty

When you know what the goal is of your content you can more effectively measure its success. Targeting specific stages of the buyer journey will guide which KPIs you choose to track.

Types of Key Performance Indicators to Focus On

Rather than trying to keep track of dozens of performance data points, narrow your focus down to key metrics. No matter what industry you’re in, a handful of content marketing KPIs are most valuable when looking at the overall performance of your website, content, and engagement:

1. New Users to the Blog

This KPI tracks the number of people who have never been to your website or blog before. Google Analytics will flag these people as “new” if a cookie isn’t present in their browser.

How to improve:

  • Insert strategic keywords and phrases that are strongly related to your brand and product throughout each blog post. These will help organically drive readers to your content when they are searching for resources on the topic you covered.
  • Be sure you’re amplifying your content through your email list and organic social channels. Alert your subscribers and followers to your new content!

2. Unique Pageviews

While pageviews refer to the overall number of times a page on your website has been viewed, unique pageviews show how many users visited that specific page.

If one person visits that page multiple times throughout the day, it is only counted as one unique visit.

How to improve:

Add internal hyperlinks throughout your blog to point to other relevant blogs, eBooks, or product service or service pages.

  • This will help keep students on your website and pique their interest in your school or brand.
  • Internal hyperlinks also help build your reputation as a reliable, trustworthy brand.
  • This gives readers a sense of trust and credibility in your content — you’re researched, you know your field, and you’ve anticipated and answered related questions.

3. Average Time on Page

This performance metric measures the average amount of time spent on a single page by all users who visit your blog or website. Google Analytics won’t count time if a user comes to your page and immediately leaves (bounces). On the other hand, it will count time if a user keeps a page open but is not active on it.

How to improve:

  • Word count (and quality) matters! The longer, richer, and more educational your blog is, the longer they’ll want to hang out and read the full blog.
  • Adding photos, videos, infographics, and other forms of visual content will also help capture attention and hold interest.

Make sure your blog is following best practices:

  • Easy to read and scan
  • Accessible language (conversational)
  • Speak directly to the reader
  • Short sentences and paragraphs
  • Research or resources are provided

If your copy is unengaging and hard to read, visitors will give up and leave. By keeping things short, sweet, and to the point, they’re more likely to stay on board and learn more about what you have to say.

4. Bounce Rate

A “bounce” happens when a visitor lands on your blog and exits it without clicking on any links or calls to action (CTAs). An optimal bounce rate range to aim for is anywhere between 26% and 40%.

How to improve:

  • Make sure your final CTA aligns with the purpose of the blog content.
  • Do you want to raise awareness or drive a conversion?
  • Your CTA needs to make sense and feel like a natural endpoint for the reader to arrive at.

Before you start writing content, know where you want to send students once they reach the end of your post. This can guide the tone you take and the talking points you emphasize most.

5. Sales

While the primary goal of your blog is to educate readers, nurture relationships, and improve organic traffic to your website, blog sessions can also drive direct sales!

How to improve:

  • Make sure your blog topics address the bottom of the sales funnel.
    • If you’re trying to sell your product to a student, post a blog that highlights why yours is the best. For example, if you sell bags and travel gear, you could post a blog that promotes your product specifically for spring break or summer travel.
    • If you’re working towards increasing enrollment in your school, create a post that taps into what a new student wants to know. A blog post on advice for move-in day or the best study spots around campus could pique their interest.
  • Include a clear call to action at the bottom of the blog that drives the reader to a product sales page, to subscribe to your service, or to sign up for a tour of your college or university,


Use the “SMART” framework to direct which content marketing campaign KPIs you’ll focus on:

  • Specific: Your content KPI should be detailed and clear. Example: Improve conversions by 15% by the end of Q2.
  • Measurable: KPIs should be able to be discussed in numerical terms and easy to track.
  • Achievable: Your goals should be ambitious yet attainable. Keep things realistic.
  • Relevant: Your KPI should align with the larger objectives of your brand.
  • Time-bound: Your KPI should have a defined start and end date.

Regularly examine your KPIs to ensure you’re working towards the right objectives. That way you can determine whether it’s necessary to make changes to your KPIs.

Elevate Your Content Marketing Strategy Today

Understanding how to measure the performance of your content marketing strategy is key to creating educational and inspirational content for college students and their parents.

And while performance data is important, remember to focus on the data points that will

help you achieve the goals of your content marketing strategy. Whether you look at month-to-month unique pageviews or the relationship between new visitors and sales, data patterns will help drive new ideas, new campaigns, and new successes.

For most marketing and college enrollment managers, managing your content marketing strategy is yet another hat you don’t have time to wear. Our team is ready to help your school or brand take your content strategy to the next level!

Contact us for a free consultation to elevate your content strategy today>

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