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As a content manager, you most likely spend most of your time writing quality blogs, email newsletters, and social media posts, all in an effort to ensure the business is growing and achieving its goals. That said, measuring the success of your efforts is another great part of the job, and on many occasions, it can prove to be overwhelming as you need to use multiple tools to gather the data. Enter modern content reports.
Modern content performance reports in the shape of an interactive online dashboard present an intuitive and accessible way to assess your content's success and its ROI in real-time and in one centralized location. To get you started on the topic, we’ve compiled this guide, including definitions, benefits, examples, and a list of best practices. Let’s get started!
What Is Content Reporting?
Content reporting is the process in which marketers analyze data from Web Analytics, Social Media channels, blog interactions, and more to evaluate the success of their content. Like this, they define what is working and what isn't and improve their strategies to succeed.
For decades, businesses have been approaching the reporting process with static tools that make it more challenging to extract insights appropriately. This is no longer the case, thanks to the introduction of modern reporting tools such as interactive dashboards that give you a ready-made content marketing report template. Which we present below.
What Is A Content Dashboard?
A content dashboard (also called a content performance dashboard) is an analytical tool that contains critical performance metrics to assess the success of all content-related initiatives. Armed with real-time data, marketers and content managers can inform their strategies and meet all their content marketing goals.
The value of a content performance dashboard lies in its interactivity and accessibility. When building content for different channels, it is fundamental to be able to make swift decisions that align with what the audience wants, as this is the path to success. Modern dashboard software provides you with the necessary tools to visualize all your most important sources of information in a centralized location. This way, you can spot any issues and improvement opportunities to make the most out of your resources and reach your goals in the process.
Now that we’ve gone through some critical definitions let's look at why analyzing your content can be a successful practice.
Why Is Content Report Analysis Important?
A content analysis template allows you to present relevant information in a way that is understandable and accessible, and it serves as a perfect tool not only to assess internal performance but also to show investors, managers, or clients how the strategies are performing. Some other benefits include:
- Create content that actually is performing: Shooting in the dark when deciding which type of content you will deliver to your audience is no longer possible in today’s fast-paced world. A content analysis report is a perfect tool to get a 360-view of what kind of topics, formats, and frequency your audience enjoys the most and generate targeted content. By looking at relevant KPI metrics to track progress against specific goals, you can make sure to focus only on the successful work and avoid investing your efforts into underperforming areas or areas that are not related to your objectives. This is a great way to maximize your time and resources using real-time data.
- Boost content ROI: By building informed data-based strategies from the insights gathered from your content reports, you will be able to generate content that is likely to be successful. In time, this will not only save your business time and money on generating useless content but will also maximize your ROI by making the most out of the resources available to you.
- Increase brand awareness and loyalty: Customers demand that brands anticipate their needs and wants more than ever. By analyzing your audience behaviors using a business dashboard, you will be able to generate pieces of content that are aligned with what your customers expect from you. In turn, you will see an increase in awareness and loyalty levels that will also significantly improve your ROI as well as the chances of loyal customers recommending you to friends and family.
- Keep clients and team informed: Lastly, from an internal perspective, a content report template can also prove incredibly valuable. Whether you are an agency working with multiple clients or a marketing team for a corporation, using content reports and dashboards to inform every relevant stakeholder about the latest developments is an invaluable approach. These modern reports are easy to share and understand, making them the perfect tools to support discussions and foster collaboration.
Content Dashboard Examples & Templates
To put the value of content reporting tools into perspective, we will now present a list of examples that you can use to measure your content KPIs efficiently. As mentioned before, these content performance dashboards offer data from multiple sources in one single location and can be drilled to explore lower levels of information and extract deeper conclusions.
1. Content Drilldown Dashboard
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Our first content dashboard template is the perfect overview for a company that is generating large amounts of content on its website and wants to assess its success. This most insightful of Google Analytics dashboards provides the perfect mix between overview metrics and more detailed insights. On the top, you can see a graph tracking the weekly development of the website’s users, page views, bounce rate, and session duration, and on the bottom right corner, you can see these metrics tracked by specific pages. Having the possibility to drill down into lower levels of data to understand the reasons behind the numbers is an invaluable practice, especially when it comes to generating content that is targeted to your audience. Let’s look at some of these indicators in more detail below.
- Bounce rate: The bounce rate indicates the percentage of people who entered your website through a particular page and left without clicking on any other pages. A high bounce rate can indicate that your website is not engaging enough to keep users interested, which can also affect the visibility of your content. On the other side, it can also mean that the page they initially viewed answered their question efficiently, which is why this rate needs to be analyzed in detail to find the reasons behind it.
- Session duration: Your content efforts are important not only to drive traffic to your website but also to keep users engaged for as much time as possible since the longer they stay, the more likely they are to come back. The average session duration will tell you which type of content or pages are keeping users engaged for the most time and which ones are not that interesting so you can optimize accordingly.
- User by gender: Learning your share of the user's gender is another technique that can help you boost your strategies. By knowing what type of audience enjoys your work the most, you can make sure you are providing them with the best experience and knowledge possible. You can also drill down into lower levels of data, such as the top pages by female and male users, and extract deeper conclusions from them.
2. Content Quality Control Dashboard
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Assessing content quality is not an easy task, as it can be a subjective process. That said, there are a few indicators that can help you get an idea of how your work is perceived and in which areas it could be improved. The example above helps you do just that by providing insights into the different interactions your content has. In this case, our digital media dashboard focuses on written pieces such as blog posts, and it includes KPIs such as the top 5 articles by likes, the average comments per article, the subscribers gained, and the story turnaround time. Let’s look at some of these metrics in more detail below.
- Story turnaround time: This indicator is not exclusive to online publications; it has been used for decades in the publishing industry to measure the time since an article is approved to the time it is actually published. It can help you optimize each stage to make the process as efficient as possible.
- Flesch reading ease: The Flesch reading ease is a readability test developed in the U.S. and used by different content marketing reporting tools to assess the level of readability of a text. While this indicator might be subjective, it is a good reference to evaluate how easy to read your articles are. You can set a benchmark for your articles and evaluate them accordingly.
- Articles interactions: Interactions such as likes, shares, and comments are the best way to assess the quality of your content. Ultimately, you want your articles to have the most interactions, which means the audience enjoys them. Tracking interactions closely will not only allow you to understand which type of articles and topics your customers like the most but will also help you understand the level of engagement and loyalty.
3. Readers Insights Dashboard
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As mentioned throughout this post, getting to know your audience on a deeper level is a fundamental practice when it comes to building successful content marketing strategies. For this purpose, our digital media dashboard example above provides you with the necessary insights to understand audience demographics and preferences completely.
- Top categories by readers: This is a straightforward indicator that will help you understand which topic categories are the most interesting for your readers. This is a particularly useful metric for a website that writes about a wide range of topics, as it can help narrow the focus on the ones with the most potential.
- Top articles by readers: A drill down into the top categories can let you understand which specific topics and articles from that category are the most successful ones. By looking at this metric, together with the rest of the indicators on this content metrics dashboard, you will be able to build a complete picture of what readers are looking for on your website.
- Readers by gender and age: While knowing the ages and genders of your audience is a valuable tool, these indicators prove to be even more useful when put together, as this will help you build an accurate picture of what your target audience looks like. As seen in the image above, we can see that this business has a high rate of females and males between the ages of 25-34, which is a good place to start building around.
4. Social Media Content Performance Dashboard
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Social media channels are the ultimate tools used to share content and redirect traffic to your website. That being said, our next example focuses on 4 social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube) and how they perform in real-time. Each indicator is tracked against a target; negative numbers are marked in red, and positive ones are marked in green to understand if anything is underperforming quickly.
- Engagement rate: The engagement rate is used as a success factor in social media content as it includes any type of interaction, such as likes, shares, comments, clicks, and others, in its calculation. It is a relevant metric to assess the success of your strategies. You can track it for the different channels and types of content (e.g., paid or organic) and understand where you should focus your efforts.
- Average time to conversion: The conversion time is one of the most important metrics from this social media dashboard. Ultimately, you generate all of your content, intending to convert it into positive business results, such as new clients or increased sales. That said, conversions can look different depending on the aim of your strategies. It is important to use this indicator as a performance metric for the success of your content.
5. Page Tracking Content Dashboard
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Google Analytics, a leading content marketing reporting tool, works quietly in the background, collecting details about your website visitors. These metrics can help you optimize your website, improve user experience, and know how your visitors engage with your content so you can see what’s working — and what needs work. Our page tracking content analysis dashboard compiles these key findings into one easy-to-navigate tool for instant updates.
Using this content dashboard, users can drill deeper into website utilization metrics to see varying layers of details, such as page load time by country or which browser your visitors are using and how that may affect their experience. Comparing multiple metrics at the same time can help to provide context into the total website experience and indicate areas for improvement. For example, here are three related insights in this content reporting template:
- Page load time: With short attention spans and high expectations for speed, bounce rate and page views per session may be directly influenced by load times. A fast, responsive website encourages conversions as more time is spent interacting with each page, the bounce rate declines and more pages are viewed per session. As you change your website and SEO, you can see how your efforts are moving the needle by tracking these metrics together.
- Web browsers: You can add another layer of visibility by comparing your data across web browsers. If you notice a higher bounce rate and slower page load times on a particular browser, you can focus on optimizing your website’s performance in that browser, or you might encourage users to switch to another browser for a better experience.
6. Facebook Content Dashboard
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Despite the rise of Gen Z-focused platforms like TikTok, Facebook remains the leading social media network. It boasts over 3 billion users worldwide, helping brands reach their target audiences no matter who they are or where they live. But its sheer size is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity, which is why you need a Facebook content dashboard to gain better visibility into the platform. Our template analyzes content details, including:
- Average impressions per post: Posts can’t get engagement or results if no one sees them. That’s why monitoring social media performance begins with checking the number of impressions per post. If lots of people are seeing your content, but you’re not getting engagement, this could indicate that your content needs to be more compelling or more targeted to your audience, for example. Likewise, low impressions could indicate an issue in the publishing and promotion stage.
- Post reactions: You can view your audience’s reactions (e.g., like, love, wow, haha, anger) to your content. A high level of engagement isn’t always a good thing; for example, garnering lots of Angry reactions on a post could indicate you’ve struck a nerve with your customers. You’ll want to pair this data with the context of your posts to get the complete picture.
- Engagement per post type: All of the core KPIs can be broken down into more detail, such as viewing engagement over specific periods. One area of particular interest is engagement by type of post (e.g., link, photo, video). Using this data, brands can learn more about the types of content and posts their audience wants to see. Users can make better decisions regarding the content style they create and where to allocate their resources for maximum impact.
7. YouTube Video Content Dashboard
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YouTube is the second most popular search engine, right behind Google, which is why many brands and marketers rely on it to strengthen their online presence. Video content has certainly captured the attention of marketers and companies in recent years, especially as more people say they prefer to watch a video than read a blog article to learn information.
However, investing in video isn’t an automatic win, especially given the costs of making quality video content. That’s why marketers should pay close attention to key YouTube metrics that can tell them whether their videos are hitting home and driving interest. Our template above, generated with professional dashboard design software, analyzes single videos, not your entire channel. This provides a better idea of the topics, length, and other details that are helping you reach your objectives. In this example, you’ll find the following performance metrics:
- Video views: Your videos can’t work for you if no one watches them. That’s why one of YouTube’s foundational metrics is video views. In the example above, you can see how video views show details across the last 28 days, last 7 days, and the previous day. One advantage of this single view is the ability to detect any spikes or dips in your data.
- Video engagement: Interactions (including likes, dislikes, comments, and shares) reveal a lot about your audience’s preferences and can indicate whether you’re creating quality content people want to see. As with any type of content, marketers need to invest some time in experimentation and optimization. Metrics like the ones shared in the template above can help you find sound starting points to test and tweak your strategy rather than shooting in the dark.
- Audience retention: One area to pay close attention to is viewer retention throughout the video. This shows you the exact second where your audience drops off. You’ll also see what percentage of your viewers make it through to the end of your video. If you have a high drop-off rate toward the beginning, you may need to work on hooking your viewers earlier in the video.
8. Twitter Content Dashboard
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Even after the shift from Twitter to X, the power of a Tweet remains strong. This fast-paced social media network can help brands spread messages like wildfire and grow their presence quickly. However, when brands are Tweeting for the sake of doing so without any real strategy or know-how, it’s hard to measure the effectiveness of Twitter in your content marketing. That’s why the Twitter content report above is valuable. You can craft a winning Tweet strategy that builds on your success by understanding how your audience receives your Tweets, how far they travel, and which ones are your top performers. This dashboard answers the most pressing questions about your Twitter strategy, including:
- Total Tweets: Twitter isn’t your average social network. While some channels benefit from a post a day (or less), Twitter’s format encourages users to stay active and make multiple posts per day. Knowing how many Tweets you’re making over a period of time shines a light on other performance metrics, such as audience growth, impressions, and engagements. You can use this data to improve your posting cadence and overall strategy for better results.
- Click-throughs: Are your Tweets compelling enough to get your audience to act? Measuring click-throughs will allow you to see what types of content drive your followers' most interest. Align click-through rates with specific campaigns and goals to get more context into what your audience likes or doesn’t like.
- Top three Tweets: Every social media network aims to build strong connections with your audience. This means not force-feeding them with content but rather creating content they want to see and engage with. Identifying top performers and tracking the above metrics will demonstrate how your content resonates with your audience and show how your strategy improves over time.
9. C-level Content Marketing Reporting
The bottom line of all your content marketing activities is to bring more customers to the organization and maximize ROI in the process. This is especially true considering that 79% of companies use content marketing to generate quality leads. These goals are what C-level executives expect from the marketing team and what should be included in a report aimed at them. So far, we’ve covered examples of assessing the quality of your strategies and work. Now, let’s look at some high-level indicators to evaluate the success of those efforts.
The website traffic-to-lead ratio tracks the number of website visitors that have turned into actual leads. Naturally, the final goal of generating quality content on your site is to turn visitors into paying customers. That said, this rate should be as high as possible. A low rate could mean your website is failing at targeting new customers.
- Cost per lead (CPL)
Moving on in the process, once you have an idea of your lead rate, you must consider the costs. Marketers can better allocate resources and budget for different strategies and campaigns by quantifying how much it costs to score a potential customer. For better insights, this indicator can be broken down into different channels to get a bigger picture of which areas are most profitable. This leads us to our last example.
Having a high return on investment is the end goal of your content strategy journey. Given that this indicator is directly tied to revenue, it is one of the most relevant success measurements for the marketing department. A good practice in this regard is comparing the different areas and seeing which ones bring the most rewards. In this case, we can see that content has the highest ROI, which means a successful strategy.
Content Reporting Best Practices
Now that we looked at some examples, you might feel ready to generate your own content reports. To help you with this quest, here are a few best practices to analyze your data and successfully generate insightful reports.
1. Make reports based on goals
As a basis, any successful data reporting process should begin with defining clear goals and objectives to use as a guideline to measure performance. In the case of a content strategy, goals should be based on two factors: general business objectives, such as increasing sales, and more specific ones, such as increasing organic traffic through SEO strategies.
Setting clear objectives makes it easier to measure the return on investment efficiently and effectively. Once your goals are defined, you can ask yourself questions that you need your dashboard and reports to answer and define the KPIs you will use to measure your efforts. This leads us to our next point.
2. Use the SMART criteria
After you have defined general goals, the next step is to select the KPIs you will use to measure the performance of your efforts toward achieving those goals. To do so, it is necessary to avoid choosing vanity metrics that won’t tell you much about your actual progress. A great practice in this regard is to use the SMART criteria. According to it, your chosen KPIs should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In other words, your KPI should be relevant to your general goals, realistic and attainable considering the business's current situation, and measurable in time. If you want to get more insights on the topic, check out our guide on KPI targets and goals.
3. Consider your audience
When dealing with content reports, you will likely need to show them to different audiences. For example, a content agency might need to generate a client report for different clients about the latest developments in their strategies. On the other hand, a marketer might need to show reports to the CMO or to the rest of the team to support meetings and discussions. That being said, considering the needs of each audience is a great practice for a successful reporting process. Here, it is necessary to consider what questions your audience needs to answer with the report and which KPIs will help them with that.
4. Define a reporting schedule
How often you report on your content metrics can influence your success. Your content needs time to develop; after all, you don’t publish a Facebook post and immediately check your analytics, right? Content reporting time may vary by channel. For example, if you Tweet every day, it makes sense to track the performance of your Tweets daily. But if you’re only posting one YouTube video per month, checking your report daily might not be worthwhile. Figure out a reporting cadence that makes sense for your content channels and internal resources, along with the time you have to spend tweaking and optimizing your content based on your findings.
5. Visualize your KPIs
Turning your KPIs into visual data stories can simplify the reporting process. Visual data is easier to understand and extract quick insights, allowing teams to make faster and more informed decisions. Turning your data into visuals may also allow you to report on your performance more often or at least free up time to act on your findings. Part of this process requires matching the right visual with the data’s purpose. Even with KPI dashboards that are updated in real-time, you won’t want to spend time trying to analyze every detail if it’s not something you plan to address. Marketers need to separate the “nice to have” data from the data they plan on using to drive real impact. This way, they can focus on those visuals without being distracted by other charts and information.
6. Benefit from text analytics
Benefiting from different technologies to extract the maximum potential out of your data is another best practice that you should follow. Text analytics proves to be especially useful when assessing your audience's sentiment towards your content. In short words, text analytics uses machine learning and statistical and linguistic techniques to analyze large amounts of text data, such as social media comments, and understand if the sentiment is negative, positive, or neutral. This is another way to understand how each piece is perceived and find improvement opportunities.
7. Use automation and real-time data
Generating quality content is a time-consuming task. Taking that into account, reporting on the performance of this work can be even more difficult to squeeze in. For this reason, relying on a dashboard creator that includes automation features as well as real-time data is the best option to enjoy all the benefits of content reporting and insights without the tedious task of manually generating them. With an automation tool, your reports are automatically generated and updated with real-time data, so you always have the latest developments at your fingertips.
8. Learn from the process
Reporting on your content performance isn’t the end game. Rather, it’s about what you do next that will have the biggest impact of all. Learning how to analyze content can help you extract insights to improve your content. Marketers need to be prepared to take this next step based on what the data is telling them so they can improve their outcomes over time. By undertaking the reporting process, you can learn from past content, know what your audience likes and engages with, and create better content moving forward.
Also, you can learn from the reporting process itself to ensure you’re focusing on the right insights and metrics. Your content reporting process may also evolve so you can take full advantage of what data reporting can do for you.
Key Takeaways From Content Reporting
As you’ve seen throughout this post, content reports and dashboards are invaluable tools that provide the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions and generate targeted strategies tailored to your audience preferences.
With a modern data-based approach, you no longer need to shoot in the dark or waste valuable resources on wrongly targeted strategies. A modern BI dashboard software provides you with key features to approach your content data in a way that is user-friendly, accessible, and efficient.