How to Measure Content Performance with Just “One Metric”

What if you could measure your content performance with a single metric instead of using pages of spreadsheets and charts?

For many advertisers, this kind of solution would save a lot of time, money, and headaches.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 report on B2B trends, 32% of marketers blame their stagnating success on content measurement challenges, while only 6% categorize their content marketing program as “sophisticated,” which is defined as “providing accurate measurement to the business, scaling across the organization.”

To help this situation, Moz created a single metric system that breaks down your content performance into one, easily digestible number.

Let’s look at everything you need to know about this metric, including how to measure it and what you can learn from it.


What does it measure?

This one metric measures how well your pieces performed compared to previously published pieces. Consequently,  this metric is used for internal benchmarking purposes only. At a glance, it tells you which pieces performed better than yours overall, which is the greatest advantage of using this one metric.

For example, your analytics spreadsheet might look like the one below. Using your new one metric column, you can bypass trudging through all of the other data and view just a single number to quickly check how your content is performing.

content metrics spreadsheet

How do I compute it?

Before we show you how to automate this process, it’s important to understand exactly what goes into this mysterious metric.

Using the spreadsheet above, let’s calculate the one metric for “Blog post 7” using the following four steps:

1. Identify your key analytics

To compute your one metric, you will use each of your key analytics. In the spreadsheet above, for instance, these would be pageviews, unique views, comments, Twitter shares, and Facebook Likes.

Still, you can’t just add 100 Facebook Likes to 1,000 page views and get your number. You have to make sure all of your metrics are on a single scale. You can do this by using averages.

2. Find the average for each

Let’s use page comments as an example. All you have to do is take the average number of comments from the six posts that came before:

                                                                  23 + 46 + 51 + 38 + 29 + 53
                                                                       —————————————        =   40

Now you can see that “Blog post 7” got 47 comments. So, “Blog post 7” performed above average for comments. But how much better than average did it perform? For this, we’ll find the percentage:

                                                                     New post performance
                                                                        ———————————      x  100   =  %

So when we plug in the numbers:

                                                                            ——————————–      x  100   =  117%

Now calculate the averages and percentages for each of the other key metrics:

  • Pageviews = 72% of average
  • Unique views = 143% of average
  • Twitter shares = 61% of average
  • Facebook Likes = 137% of average

3. Combine the percentages

Once you have all of your percentages, you can combine them.

First, we’ll combine our averages by category so that they’re weighted appropriately. This means that we will find the average of the percentages for categories with multiple analytics:

  • Google Analytics
    • Pageviews + unique views = average of 72% and 143% = 108%
  • On-page metrics
    • Comments = 117%
  • Social media metrics
    • Twitter shares + Facebook Likes = average of 61% and 137% = 99%

Now find the average of the percentages for all three categories:

                                                                               108% + 117% + 99%
                                                                                 —————————–         =   108%

This is the first time we get a quick view of the post’s performance: it performed 8% better than average. But this is not the final step.

4. Calculate your two-digit number

You need to convert this percentage into a simple, two-digit number. You can do this by using a logarithmic scale.

This is a graph of the scale that Moz uses, which they invite others to use as well:

moz one metric scale

This is the equation they used to create this scale:

y = 27ln(x) + 50

To break that down:

  • y = the one metric
  • x = the post’s percentage that you calculated

So here’s how we’d calculate the one metric for “Blog post 7.”

y = 27ln(1.08) + 50
y = 52




How do I automate this process?

No matter how valuable the one metric may seem, you probably won’t want to waste time dealing with these numbers on a regular basis.

Thankfully, there are a couple of strategies you can use to automate this process.

Import Google Analytics metrics

If you use Google Spreadsheets to document your metrics, you can sync it with Google Analytics. By doing this, your data will automatically be added to your chart. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open a new Google Spreadsheet.
  • Click the “Add-ons” tab.
  • Choose “Get Add-ons.”
  • Select Google Analytics.
  • Click to install the add-on.
  • Choose “Accept” to give permission to access your Google Analytics data.
  • Now find “Google Analytics” under your “Add-ons” tab.

google analytics report spreadsheet

  • Click “Create new report.”
  • Name your report, select your website, and choose the metrics you want to sync up.

create new google analytics spreadsheet reportGoing forward, you can choose “Run reports” to refresh the data for each report, or “Schedule reports” to automatically refresh the data on given days and times.

Automate the calculations

You don’t have to compute all of these averages by hand — or even by calculator. Google Spreadsheet tools can help. For instance, this is how to calculate your averages:

  • Select the rows of metrics for which you want to find an average.
  • Click the “Σ” symbol on your toolbar and select “AVERAGE.”
  • This will compute your average. Do this for each row of metrics.

google spreadsheet calculate average

To use Google Spreadsheets for more calculations, choose “MORE FUNCTIONS” under the “Σ” symbol, or simply reference this function list. With this list, you can find the functions you need to automatically compute calculations. You can also find the right function by typing “=” in a cell on your spreadsheet and searching for certain terms, like this:

google spreadsheet functions


What can I use this metric for?

You can use this metric to gauge how well your posts performed in comparison to each other. For example, you may want to compute the one metric for all posts in a certain week, month, quarter, or year. This way, you can easily see which pieces came out on top and which pieces didn’t resonate with your audience.

Once you identify your best and worst performers, you can dive into their analytics further to see why they worked — or didn’t. For instance, perhaps your best posts did particularly well on social media. This will give you an idea of the type of content your social users want to engage with. On the other hand, maybe a poorly performing post did well with on-page metrics, but was pulled down by Google Analytics metrics. Using this information, you can optimize your content to better meet consumers’ interests and behaviors.


Track content performance at a glance

As BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Jonah Peretti said, there is no “God” metric for content marketing.  This means that you can’t measure your content by shares, pageviews, or comments alone. In order to truly understand how your individual pieces perform across platforms, you’ll need to dive into the nitty gritty analytics.

This is why the one-metric solution is only for those times when you want to track performance at a glance. It’s for trimming your results down to a simple, digestible number that can be used for internal comparisons and benchmarks. For many marketers, this can be an invaluable tool.

With this new “One metric” column on your spreadsheet, you’ll be able to conveniently find your top-performers, compare pieces in seconds, and easily share your results with colleagues. All it takes is some up-front calculations and automation to save a lot of time and headaches going forward.



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