Top 15 Goal-Based Content Marketing KPIs for Your SaaS Business

The SaaS space in India is witnessing rapid growth in the number of new innovative startups emerging into the market. According to the Economic Times,

“Growing at 30% CAGR, India’s SaaS revenue has reached $3.5 billion as of FY2020, with 75% of it coming from global sales. Clocking a growth rate of 1.5 times faster than the global SaaS landscape.”

We all know that content marketing is a crucial part of building any sustainable SaaS business. And it shows in data.  

Successful SaaS businesses spend as much as 40% of their entire marketing budget on creating and marketing content, and for good reasons. 

Content marketing costs 62% less than other marketing methods for SaaS startups and generates three times more leads than outbound marketing.

These are all well and good, but the real question you should ask yourself is, are you getting sales for your business from content marketing campaigns! 

Because in the end, it all comes down to sales. Click To Tweet

Many businesses and even content marketers focus on vanity metrics to measure the effectiveness of content marketing efforts. 

Don’t get me wrong, vanity metrics are important. 

They give us a picture of brand awareness and the top of funnel marketing effectiveness. 

But they don’t do much on sales or the bottom of the funnel. 

That is why measuring random KPIs is not enough. You need to define the different KPIs for different marketing funnels. 

Then only you can successfully measure the success of your SaaS content marketing efforts and optimize your campaigns for better results. 

How to Choose What KPIs to Measure?

Setting your content marketing KPI always starts with your company goal or marketing goals.

Suppose your company wants to increase brand awareness or acquire 100 customers in six months. For both cases, your content marketing KPI must be entirely different. 

However, you should never assume the KPIs based on your intuitions. Instead, proceed with a data and goal-driven approach. 

Totally confused, right? I feel you. 😀

In my opinion, SaaS content marketers must observe all the metrics but focus on the few metrics that align with their business goal the most

Let’s see how we can use a data-driven approach to set our content marketing KPIs.

What SaaS Content Marketing KPIs to Measure

As we are breaking down the content marketing KPIs in a goal-based structure, it is best that we first clearly know what are the goals and objectives of your business. 

This is an essential step. It helps you create a framework for your progress and enables you to make necessary modifications in the future. 

Now, here is a list of common goals your SaaS business must-have. 

  • Brand Awareness- Example: Grow website traffic by 50% at the end of December 2020.
  • Lead Generation- Example: Decrease cost per lead by 25% within the next quarter.
  • Sales- Example: Increase conversion rate by 20% from content marketing.
  • Customer retention– Example: Decrease your churn rate by 5%.

From the above list, we can see that there are different KPIs to measure different goals.

Once the goals are clear, we can align KPIs to each of the above goals.

Goal: Brand Awareness

KPI #1: Impressions or Unique Page Views

This is one of the easiest but important KPI to measure for your content. 

A basic tool like google search console and google analytics can give you many useful data on your website’s unique page views. 

You can dig deep into the data and find out audience insight, traffic source, audience demographic, session duration, bounce rate, and many more from search console and google analytics. 

content marketing kpi unique visitors on website

I have seen many startups make a blog section on Medium.com. This is one of the biggest mistakes they make. If the contents are not posted on your own website, you can not get full analytics data, thus can not fully gauge the performance of your content. 

KPI #2: Social Shares

In the last blog, I said that you can not create virality. It sort of happens. That is true. 

But, that doesn’t mean you avoid social media. Social media still plays a vital role in your content marketing strategy. 

It can give you valuable insight into how well your content is performing, what is the audience demographic, etc. 

Social sharing buzzsumo

These data are essential to refine your target audience and create an accurate buyer’s persona for your business. 

The more social share you get, the strong online presence you have, and the more your brand presence will increase exponentially.

KPI #3: Followers/Subscribers

Another easily quantifiable content marketing KPI is followers on social media or subscribers. It gives you a clear idea of your brand presence and can easily track your brand’s growth. 

Example of followers and subscribers

KPI #4: Bounce Rate/Time Spent

Many startup owners and content marketers miss an important KPI while looking at vanity metrics is the bounce rate or the time spent on your page. 

You lose trust when you fail to deliver quality content to your audience. And the high bounce rate is an indication of that. 

You need to also keep an eye on how much time viewers are spending on your website. 

Bounce Rate metrics for website.

Let’s say you have two blogs, one has 15000 unique views, but only 10 seconds of time spent, another has 5000 unique page views but has 1 minute of time spent. Which one, according to you, is more valuable?

The second one probably. 

So, we can say that both bounce rate and time spend metrics are an essential part of your content marketing KPI for brand awareness. 

KPI #5: Heat Map and User Behaviour

Heat map tracking tools allow you to understand how your audience engages with your content. What part of your website is getting more views. 

This is a very handy KPI. It helps you to redesign your website and strategically place the CTAs according to user behavior. 

KPI #6: Inbound Links

When other websites feature your brand on their websites or link your content on their website, people will start to see you as an authoritative and credible source. Even inbound links or backlinks are one of Google’s most important ranking factors.

Backlinks example

So, you must keep track of your inbound links. It helps you see your growth over time and scrub out spam backlinks. 

Goal: Lead Generation

Either you create content or not, lead generation is the primary goal for your business. And you surely need to keep track of your lead generation metrics to measure business growth. 

Here are the KPIs for your lead generation efforts.

KPI #7: CTR

In layman’s terms, CTR or click-through rate is a metric that measures the rate of clicks on an ad per impression. 

Let’s say your advertisement got a 1000 impressions, and only 200 people clicked on the ad, then your CTR is 200*100/1000= 20%

CRT formula

Click through rate determines how effective your lead generation efforts are. Excellent copywriting and clear CTA is the most effective way to increase CTR. 

Whether you want users to read blogs, download an ebook, visit a specific web-page or anything you want, a brilliant copy and a clear CTA can help you drive leads. 

KPI #8: Conversion Rate

Your business probably has different ways to generate leads from various channels. Probably you have,

  • Subscriber for your newsletter.
  • Lead coming from your ebook sign up page.
  • Qualified lead coming from contact us page.
  • Qualified leads who use your freemium product.

All leads undergo different sales funnel. 

And, you need to track and monitor which funnel or content gives the maximum conversion and sales. 

When we did the event on ONECelibre, we used UTM links to get the conversion metrics from our outreach partners. This helped up to track the conversion rate and optimize our outreach strategy for our event.

KPI #9: Exit Rate

Exit rate is different from bounce rate. 

Bounce rate considers the number of visitors exits your website after visiting one single page. Wherein the exit rate takes into consideration all the pages a visitor visits before leaving the website. 

Exit rates are especially beneficial if you have created a funnel through content on your website. By tracking the exit rate, you can quickly tell what stage buyers are exiting from the website. 

Some websites are designed as exit pages. For example, contact us page. A high exit rate on that page means visitors successfully followed the path laid out for them. 

Depending on your service or product, you can also incorporate other KPIs into your Lead generation goal, like

  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Forms filled in
  • Book downloads
  • Videos watched

Goal: Sales

As a business, your main goal is to drive sales. After all, you want your business to make money, right? And there are a couple of Sales KPIs to measure. 

KPI #10: Monthly Recurring Revenue

Recurring revenue is the lifeboat of most of the SaaS businesses.

And, MRR is THE most essential KPI to track no matter what strategy you place for your marketing and sales. 

Here’s a simple way to calculate your MRR:

Let’s say you have ten customers. Five of them are paying you $50 per month. Three of them are paying you $100 per month. And two are paying $500 per year. So in that case the MRR will be 

($50×5) + ($100×3) + ($500x 2/12)

That is roughly equal to $633.

It looks simple, but SaaS businesses need to calculate multiple MRRs depending on the variety of products and a variety of pricing they use

KPI #11: CAC

Many startups failed to become a successful business, even after having successful marketing campaigns. The only reason for this is, they were unable to acquire customers at a minimal cost. 

A business needs to identify customer acquisition costs to optimize the marketing and sales channels.

Here’s how you can do that

  1. Find your total marketing and sales cost in a month
  2. Find out the total number of deals closed in a month
  3. Divide the total cost by the number of deals closed. 

Here’s the formula

CAC formula

KPI #12: Length of Sales Cycle

As a marketer, one of your business goals is shortening the sales cycle. And for that, you need to measure the average length of the sales cycle. 

You see, the longer the sales cycle, the more resources are needed to convert the lead. 

Tracking your sales cycle will help you identify the quickest channels for lead generation and help you optimize your marketing strategy.

Goal: Retention

If you think that your job is over after getting sales, you have never been so wrong in your entire life. 

Unfortunately, not many marketers or B2B businesses think of customer retention strategies, mainly because customer retention does not have the “high” of getting a deal closed.  

It’s kind of ironic because if you look at it, the cost of customer acquisition is way higher than nurturing and retaining an existing customer. 

So here are some of the KPIs you should measure for customer retention. 

KPI #13: Customer Retention Rate

You want your customers to continue using your product. No one will give you money unless they don’t use your product.

Customer retention rate indicates the number of customers that have continued using your product for a while after purchasing for the first time.

You can measure the CRR by comparing the number of repeat orders from customers from the last month and the repeat orders from the customers from two months before. 

Make sure to not add the new customers you have added in those two months. 

For example, suppose 100 customers opt-in for your product two months before, and 80 customers subscribed to your product last month. In that case, the customer retention rate is 80/100. That is 80%.

Here’s the formula:

Customer Retantion Rate Formula

KPI #14: Churn Rate

The churn rate is the opposite metric of the customer retention rate. It is measured by how many customers leave your product in a given time. 

There can be multiple reasons for a customer leaving. Better features, low price, aggressive marketing by the competitors, or even uncontrollable factors like business failures are to name a few. 

The more the churn rate, the more resources required for businesses to maintain revenue. 

For a SaaS company, a 5%-7% monthly churn rate is considered a good churn rate. 

The simplest way to calculate the churn rate is to divide the churn in a given time by the number of customers on the first date of the period. 

Churn rate Calculation

KPI #15: Customer LTV (lifetime value)

Customer lifetime value is one of the most critical metrics for your SaaS business. It helps you understand your customers and optimize your sales and marketing approaches.

Calculating customer lifetime value is relatively easy. You first have to find your customer lifetime. 

Customer lifetime formula

Let’s say your customer churn is 7% monthly, then your customer lifetime will be 14.28 months (1/0.07)

After you calculate customer lifetime, you can find the customer lifetime value with this formula.

Calculation of customer lifetime value

You can see from the equation that customer lifetime value is inversely proportional to the churn rate. If you lower your churn rate by half, you can double your customer lifetime value. 

Identifying KPI is an Ongoing Event

If you think you have identified your KPIs and your job is done, you are wrong.

Identifying KPIs is not a one time process. It continually changes with your business goal. 

As a content marketer, you should closely monitor all the metrics of your campaigns. Even when you change a campaign, you should again measure the KPIs from the beginning and compare it with the previous ones.

Obviously, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of detailed KPIs to measure for a SaaS startup. But I felt these are the primary KPIs every SaaS business must keep track of.

Anyway, what KPIs do you track? Did I leave something? If you are interested in talking about SaaS content marketing KPIs, I’d love to have a chat

Please comment your thoughts below, reach out to me on Linkedin or email me at hola@arnabghosh.co and let the conversation start. 

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    Arnab is a quick learner and a detail-oriented writer. Having known him and following his blogs/writings for quite some time, I can say that he is a skillful professional who knows how to grab attention through words. Also, I have seen that he is committed towards his work.” – Anmol Ratan Sachdeva (Content Marketing Consultant)

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