As a digital marketer, you probably spend a significant amount of your time planning, executing, and tweaking content marketing campaigns.

How much of that time are you spending on measuring the success of your campaigns, though?

The answer is probably less than you would like.

It’s true, measuring the success of your campaigns can be a daunting task. But it’s a task that can lead to important discoveries for your overall marketing strategy.

So if you’d like to simplify your process, check out the four steps we’ve outlined below.

1. Create Clear and Concise Goals

What is success?

That is a question only you can answer.

This is why goals are so important. You can pull all of the data and analyze all of the metrics, but without goals, you’ll never really see progress.

So at the beginning of any campaign, it’s important to set clear and concise goals. These will look different for every campaign, but a good place to start is with SMART goals.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

Let’s say you want to rank higher on search engines. An example of a SMART goal, as outlined by CoSchedule, would be:

By the end of the year, we will increase our search results page position from 12th to the top 3 for our main brand-related keywords to drive more organic traffic. This also leads to our pages through keyword and content optimization.

I strongly recommend you use a similar outline when creating goals for all of your campaigns.

2. Determine Your Most Important Metrics

Now that you have your goals pinned down, it’s time to determine which metrics will most accurately track them

In some cases, the metrics are obvious. For the SERP example in the previous section, an obvious metric to track is SERP ranking. You would also want to track organic traffic, landing page (i.e. which page are visitors coming to your site through), and time spent on page.

There is no hard-and-fast rule as to how many metrics you should track for each campaign. This will depend largely on your goal.

As long as the metrics you’re tracking enable you to 1) determine whether you were successful or not; and 2) course correct as needed (more on that later), you should be all set.

3. Automate Data Collection

As a digital marketer, you know that data collection is a must. But who says you have to be the one doing it?

With the help of a few tools, you can automate the data collection process so you spend less time collecting data and more time analyzing it.

What does this look like?

Take Google Analytics, for example.

Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that enables you to track metrics on your website for free. You can even create custom dashboards and segments to keep track of your current and ongoing campaigns.

Now logging into Google Analytics and checking these dashboards doesn’t sound too daunting. That is, until you have 5+ campaigns going at a time. Then it can be time consuming and overwhelming.

What’s the alternative?

You can remove at least one step from your busy routine by scheduling weekly Google Analytics email reports.

The majority of analytics platforms offer this feature, so dig around in whatever platform you use.

4. Be Prepared to Change Course

It’s important that you understand whether your campaigns are a success or not.

But what happens when your campaign has flopped?

One option is to stop the campaign entirely. This is a valid choice, and one that makes sense for many campaigns. This is especially true if you were testing out a new technique or targeting a new audience.

However, maybe you want to salvage the campaign. That’s an option, too.

If you set SMART goals, carefully select metrics, and automate your data collection, then you’re likely to be able to pivot your campaign quite easily.

How you pivot will depend on the campaign, your definition of success, and other factors.

Just remember, if you pivot, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at your goals and metrics. You may want to tweak them to more accurately reflect your “new” campaign.

What tips do you have for measuring content marketing campaign success? Share them in the comments!