5 Must-Have Metrics When Choosing Content for Paid Campaigns

The tools that help marketers determine their highest-performing web content can also shed light on ad campaign strategy

Evan F.P.
December 18 2018

Paid advertising campaigns are a crucial way to market your brand to new customers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean selling them products. If your goal is to convince consumers who don’t know you from Adam to buy something, odds are they’ll ignore you – no matter how many advertisements they see.

Instead, paid advertising works best when using existing web content to first establish brand awareness before moving to product advertising. By attracting new users with an engaging blog post or video, you’ll encourage them to follow your social media profiles. From there, it’s far easier to create targeted sales ads that actually interest your followers.

The exact nature of this content will depend on your industry and audience. What’s key is featuring the right content from your site, the kind that makes the best first impression with your prospects. It should clearly and concisely communicate your brand’s unique personality while offering them something of value. If you already have a wide selection of content, you’ll need to narrow it down to something that’s high-performing, engaging, and acts as a strong introduction to your brand.

With that in mind, always consider the following metrics when choosing content for a paid advertising campaign:

Social Engagement

The first thing to consider is the extent to which users have directly engaged with the content itself. Overall page views are an essential place to start but don’t stop there – how they reached your site is also important. Social media engagement and click-through rates are a strong indicator of content relevance and will tell you the percentage of users that arrived from a particular source. If most visitors found your content on a site like Facebook, strongly consider bolstering that connection through paid Facebook campaigns.

If your content has previously been shared on social media, don’t get too excited about likes and shares. These tend to be less useful as a barometer from a paid advertising perspective than users who click-through to your site. That being said, they remain useful for measuring the organic impression reach a particular content piece could achieve. And if the post prompted a few visitors to follow your profile, all the better.

Low Bounce Rate

Having a high click-through rate alone isn’t enough to judge the success of a campaign – it needs to be balanced by the bounce rate. This measures how many users arrived to a specific page and immediately left without completing any actions.

The average bounce rate is 58.18%, although this will vary depending on your business. For example, the management/consulting field averages at 67.49%. On-site content that doesn’t call for additional engagement – such as blog posts – could go up to 70%. If you can reduce your bounce rate to below 50 or 40%, you’re well positioned to retain users.

Remember that bounce rates from social media tend to be higher than sources like search traffic. You can reduce these rates by offering something for users to engage with, like links to additional content or a lead capture form.

Time on Page

There are many reasonable explanations for high bounce rates, even in the 60-70% range. But if you have a high bounce rate and a low average time on the advertised content page, consider that a major red flag to be addressed immediately.

While there’s no “correct’ average time, you want users to spend at least 40-50 seconds on your content page. That’s enough time for a user to determine whether your product has value to them, and potentially be encouraged to view other pages. If users only stay for a few seconds, the content might not be engaging or hasn’t been optimized effectively. A longer stay means they’ve actively engaged with it.

High Search Traffic

SEO metrics don’t always get the same attention as overall page views, but don’t underestimate them. Visitors who naturally find your website using Google keywords prove that there is a demand for your content. By the same token, content that already has a high volume of search traffic has immense potential when shared with a new audience.

SEO metrics such as top keywords and landing pages go a long way in determining which content is favored in a search engine algorithm. You should also consider exit pages, as they might determine which content pages created problems for visitors.

Conversion Rates

Is your web content already converting users through organic traffic alone? That’s a promising indicator for successful paid advertisements.

Conversions are arguably a more important metric than overall traffic, since they encourage returning visitors and higher revenue. Overall, organic views should convert about 16% of users on average. This can vary depending on your industry – media websites tend to have 20%, while retail has 11%.

To be clear, these figures probably won’t translate equally to a paid campaign. Organic traffic is driven by search terms that users actively engage with. Meanwhile, retaining 2-5% of users is generally considered a solid conversion rate on social media, one you can increase with optimization techniques. All the same, organic traffic should inform your social ad choices. If your content conversions are above average for your industry, a well-optimized ad campaign can have above average results.

Setting up your first paid advertising campaign can be challenging, but the rewards are significant – provided you choose the right content. By keeping these metrics in mind, you’ll be able to attract new visitors to your site and breathe new life into features that helped establish your brand.


Evan F.P.

Evan is a writer, educator and tech marketer. As content director at Fluid PR Group, he helps businesses tell their stories to the world. He lives in Toronto with his wife, their son and an occasionally well-behaved Australian Shepherd named Islay. Follow Evan on Twitter

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