Content KPIs

These are the performance indicators you should track as a content editor

Katharina Wohlfahrt | © punkt & komma
Katharina Wohlfahrt
Content editor
Is my content performing well? That’s the question that every content editor has asked at least once in his or her career. A quantitative possibility to answer it are KPIs. In the following article, punkt & komma lets you in on what they are, and which of them should be measured. Additionally, we’ll share our tips and tricks on how to choose relevant and informative KPIs and how to interpret them correctly. 

What are KPIs?

A key performance indicator (KPI for short) is an important quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of a business. These performance indicators let you determine the level of attainment of certain goals and success factors within an organisation. To be able to do so, you need to know which performance indicators you should measure, of course. 

What are they and what’s important when selecting, measuring and interpreting relevant KPIs? Let’s find out! 

The most important performance indicators for web copy

If you’d like to measure how your content performs, you should get acquainted with the most important KPIs first. We’ve found eight indicators to be particularly helpful for on-page content – each one answering a different question: 
  • Page impressions: How often is the page fully loaded? 
  • Traffic: How many users have visited the site? 
  • Traffic source & referrers: Where do the users come from?
  • Organic visitors: How many visitors have come to the site via organic search? 
  • Click-through rate: What’s the click behaviour? 
  • Unique visitors: How many users have visited the website within a certain period of time? 
  • Dwell time: How long do visitors stay on the site on average? 
  • Bounce rate: How many visitors only visit one page and then leave the site again? 
Screenshot von Agorapulse mit einer Übersicht zur Page Audience
From a content point of view, what’s particularly relevant are the pages with the longest dwell time as well as the top entry pages of the website. Additionally, the pages with the highest bounce rate deserve special attention. Later on, we’ll tell you why these KPIs aren’t just good or bad. 

What matters are the strategy and the objectives

Every good content strategy has personas and objectives – and when choosing relevant KPIs, these have to be kept in mind. Why? Because that’s the only way to measure the achievement of the goals and thus the success of your content. 

Examples of business objectives include: 
  • transaction and revenue
  • brand awareness and reach
  • customer loyalty and engagement 
  • inspiration and branding 
  • leads 
  • perceived expertise 
  • etc. 
Each of these goals requires different indicators. For a SEO expert, indicators such as bounce rate, average page load time or the site’s ranking compared to competitors are important. A content marketer is primarily interested in podcast downloads or video views, newsletter subscriptions or the most popular published posts. Additionally, the decision for or against a certain KPI depends on the type of media format that is used in each phase of the customer journey. 

Web copy, blog, social media or online shop: Only if you’re aware of your strategic goals, optimum content performance can be measured and reached. You’d like to find out more about KPIs as part of your content strategy? Then you should have a look at the chapter on content controlling in the Content Marketing Workbook! 

Making content success quantifiable

Speaking of measuring: To be able to make content success quantifiable and thus more plannable, analytics tools like Google Analytics are indispensable. Many clever functions assist you in collecting goal-specific data. Here are a few practical examples: 

In the case of online shops, a funnel analysis from the shopping cart to the thank-you page is used. Hard targets such as sending of a contact form are compared with soft targets like the number of views of a certain page. 

By means of channel grouping, paid traffic can be separated into generic and brand-specific content. That’s how you’re able to draw conclusions for brand development. For that reason, certain target pages like the “About” page are interesting. 

How often do visitors return? After how many days? How long are the visits and how many pages are viewed on average? If you’d like to have a look at what your existing customers are doing, Google Analytics lets you do that as well. 
Channel grouping
Screenshot, der die Multi-Channel-Conversion in Google Analytics visualisiert
Target audience analysis
Screenshot von Google Analytics mit verschiedenen Daten rund um die Zielgruppe

Interpreting the KPIS you’ve measured

No performance indicator without interpretation!
We’ve hinted at it already: A long dwell time is not always positive, and a high bounce rate is not across the board negative. One thing’s for sure, though: KPIs are important indicators that help you uncover potentials for optimisation. However, it’s also clear that measuring is much easier than interpreting them. To illustrate this, we’ve got two examples for you. 
Example #1


Can page views be equated to success? Not necessarily! It depends on the phase of the customer journey in which the user currently is. Is he looking for inspiration and keeps clicking his way through to booking an accommodation? Or does he already know where he wants to go on holiday and just has to complete the purchase? 

Additionally, the differentiation between page views and visitor numbers matters. Because: A user can visit just one site but generate multiple page views. Last but not least, every website maintainer knows that so-called “internal” views can skew the results.  
Screenshot von Agorapulse, der Paid, Organic und Viral Impressions vergleicht
Example #2


Yes, dwell time is a tell-tale sign of quality – but this KPI should still be viewed critically. Surely, your visitor is impressed by the inspirational content and devours one topic after another. Or perhaps, he hasn’t found the desired information right away and jumps from page to page, unsatisfied with the results. 

In contrast, a high bounce rate – like we’ve already mentioned – is not always a negative sign. When it comes to snackable content or live information such as the weather or webcams, this one page completely satisfies the information needs of the visitor. 

The click-through rate – the ratio of clicks to impressions – can be deceiving as well. If the bounce rate is high, it can hint at erroneous clicks, which negatively impact performance. 

Lastly, the conversion rate should always be viewed in absolute numbers and together with the various traffic sources. 
Screenshot zu den verschiedenen Engagement-Faktoren auf Agorapulse
We definitely could keep on going when it comes to different scenarios regarding engagement. At any rate: You need to keep the customer journey in mind! The further ahead the customer is in his decision-making process the higher the conversion rate and the other way around. A comparison to last year’s results tells you a lot, too. The motto is “slow and steady wins the race”. Conclusions only become significant once a certain amount of data has been collected – and this data can’t be collected overnight. 

Why KPIs are hard to capture

Pure text content can be measured but it’s not all that easy. Usually, it’s created as part of an entire website relaunch, which means that technical details, design, usability and more have an effect on the results as well. At punkt & komma, we implement lots of projects together with elements, where all departments as a well-in-tune team contribute to the measurable success of a site. 

If you were looking for KPIs that are exclusively relevant for content editors, we’re sorry to disappoint you. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any in the future, though. In times of voice search and needs-oriented content, the current indicators need to be rethought and adapted. The punkt & komma team will keep you posted, of course. 

Generally speaking: KPIs gain in relevance when seen as a collective – and only when viewed in the context of customer behaviour and business goals. The latter again depend on factors like content, media format, personas, consumer value and phase of the customer journey. 

It’s important to adjust performance indicators according to the specific strategy and to embed them in a larger context. Then you’re bound to do well in measuring your success!  
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