Customer Buying Cycle Part 2: How To Measure Your Content’s Success

Last month I looked at the importance of implementing the ‘Customer Buying Cycle’ into your approach to content marketing, and how it helps you target the right segment of your audience in an effective way. But how do you measure this and know when you’ve struck a success goldmine?

The importance of these measures is not just for giving yourself a digital pat on the back but, most importantly, for building up a repertoire of content you know will work and can help build broader strategies, depending on business objectives.

To read about identifying the right part of your audience, the aim of your content and approaching each stage of the cycle, then check out my first post here. Part two of the guide focusses on, after identifying your goals, how to measure these and know whether your content has worked.

Measurement & KPIs for Content Success

As I discussed in my last post, the customer buying cycle (or funnel) can be broken down into four key stages – awareness, consideration, decision/conversion and retention. The goals and measures for success at these stages are pretty different, but it’s important to remember that there can often be a little overlap as well.


  • Level of organic & referral traffic
    This measure obviously determines how successful the content has been in generating awareness. This can come from referral traffic from other sources, or organic searches if you’ve targeted longtail phrases (read more about this approach from one of our content gurus Josie Atkinson).More traffic ultimately means more visibility/awareness of your content and, in turn, the site.
  • Number & quality of links (whether through outreach or organically built)
    Again, this is an easily quantifiable result that measures this content success. The more links your content has, the more reach it has and more visibility there is. Organic links are more valuable in this context as it can show how much awareness the site has, but manual outreach can still build valuable relationships and lead to referrals.
  • Level of social success – Likes, Retweets, +1s etc.
    Similar to links, this can be a measure of the reach your content has. There’s more potential for referral traffic, and your branded content is in front of an increasing number of relevant potential visitors.


  • Traffic through to product/service pages
    When you’re trying to draw in potential customers at that consideration stage, views just to the piece of content you’ve created aren’t enough to achieve your goals. You want to get them in front of your service or product, and tracking this is important.You can set this up as a ‘Goal’ through Google Analytics (read our guide on tracking goals in Google Analytics), to see how many visitors successfully click through to a desired page on the site after landing on your initial piece of content – more goal completions, more success!
  • Downloading resources (e.g. the content itself, information sheets etc.)
    Including relevant downloadable resources can be a great way to add value to your content, as well as encouraging some really active engagement with aspects of the content relating to services.For example, writing content for a recruitment client may involve a downloadable CV template – if they download this, you’ve grabbed a visitor who’s at the ‘consideration stage’ of using a recruitment/job search site.
  • Comments on posts
    While those you’re targeting with an ‘awareness’ piece of content might hop on to the page/post, read your content and jump back off again, those with more of an interest or potential consideration are likely to engage.Tracking the number of comments is a potential measure for success here; essentially, have you managed to keep visitors on your client’s site? It’s worth mentioning that this can also be a measure for success in the awareness phase; it’s a valid KPI for both of these aims.


  • Increase in conversion rates/volumes
    When it comes to the conversion/decision level of the cycle, measures like traffic or interest alone won’t cut it. Justin Gray over on Marketing Land says how ‘lead volume’ is an outdated metric on its own; it needs to be coupled with sales you close (i.e. actual conversions).
  • Phone calls or enquiry form submissions (e.g. sites offering services)
    If your client isn’t running an e-commerce site, then the obvious conversion measures come from tracking visits to contact form completion pages and ‘click to call’ tracking. How this factors in to your content is simply tracking the visitor flow from your initial piece of content through to these pages; the customer flow in your client’s Google Analytics is the easiest way to get visibility on this.
  • Signing up using personal details (online accounts, trials, newsletters)
    Conversions don’t have to mean product purchasing. You might be trying to increase the number of signed up users to free accounts or trials for your client’s services (such as trials for software, or free samples of products). Tracking the click-through rates from your content specifically and any subsequent sign-ups is a good indication of success!


  • Reviews/online recommendations
    Measuring the possibility of customer retention or new possibilities can be difficult, but tracking your client’s online reviews or recommendations can be a good indication of this possibility increasing.
  • Social shares of individual products/categories/service pages
    Another way of measuring what are essentially online recommendations, these can be a catalyst of starting this buying cycle all over again.A satisfied customer recommends your client’s products through social media, someone at the awareness or consideration stage clicks through and process repeats!
  • Repeat conversion from individual users (e.g. individual accounts)
    Having grabbed a successful conversion off the back of the content in the previous step, content like carefully crafted email marketing to these users can be perfect for keeping that customer and encouraging them to buy again.We’ve already covered using email marketing and how to improve your open rates. Tracking repeat conversions from email referrals is the ideal way to measure the success of content in an email marketing environment.

Have you had any successes from the buying cycle (or funnel!) with your clients? Did you use any other KPIs/measurement methods than the ones above? Drop us a comment – we’d love to know!

I’d appreciate some social shares as well – we all know it can be a good measure of success…!

Feature image source: Pixabay