06 September 2023 |

The importance of pages per session––and piecing together a prospect journey

By Tracey Wallace

Content engagement is a trickier topic than you may imagine. For reference, I grew up on content marketing teams that were housed in the growth marketing department. That meant that SEO and lead gen were my primary KPIs––and I was expected to grow those KPIs monthly and quarterly. 

In many ways, SEO and lead gen goals are still great KPIs for content teams. After all, they measure traffic driven to the site and conversion of that traffic into leads. 

But content is more than SEO, as we all know, and not all leads are the same. 

Still, these metrics can serve as a directional indication of content success. If you’re driving more traffic through organic search, and driving more lead gen through content downloads and trial or demo sign ups, then in theory you should have a content program that is engaging prospects and driving top of funnel pipeline at scale. 

That’s the goal. 

But a focus on these two KPIs *only* has created content islands, in my experience. And trust me––optimizing for SEO and lead gen can create a really, really beautiful content island. But an island is by definition not connected to the mainland––and that’s a bad place for content to be. 

Content marketing teams at B2B organizations are often the beating heart of the company’s narrative and positioning. They add depth and real-world examples to what are otherwise internal theories and documents. 

Content should be attracting, yes. It should be engaging, yes. It should also be inspiring. 

And measuring only SEO and lead gen doesn’t really provide enough information to be sure your content is doing that (though it’s a good start). 

This, I think, is where engagement metrics come in. And by engagement, I mean:

  1. Bounce rate 
  2. Av. time on site
  3. Pages per session 

Each of these three engagement metrics aids the other in that people who bounce less stay on your site longer and people who stay on your site longer and often click through multiple pages. 

And it is that pages per session number that seems to be the most important. 

Why? Because it is through pages per session (and an understanding of which pages) that you can begin to piece together a prospect journey. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know, like you, that rarely will two prospects take the same journey toward buying your product. The internet is vast, information is widespread, and prospects are just as digitally native as you and I. We all know how to Google really, really well. And beyond. 

But that doesn’t mean that your content shouldn’t be making a next step suggestion. 

Historically, the “conclusion” section did this for blogs––pointing people to additional reads or what to do next. But, data indicates that folks don’t really read blogs. They scan them. 

And if they scan them, then your CTA at the bottom of a blog will likely be missed (most people also aren’t scanning that far down). 

My boss back at BigCommerce used to remind me often that most people want their hands held. In a world in which all of us have to make an endless number of daily decisions, his belief was that in solving a business problem, prospects are more than willing to take any suggestion you make clear and easy for them. 

The problem is that far too few marketers make those suggestions clear and easy. And pages per session seems to be a good indication on if you and your content team do this well or not. 

Here are a couple important questions to answer with this data:

  • How many pages do folks who begin at the blog browse before leaving the site?
  • Which pages are folks visiting from the blog most often––and how does this differ across various blog posts? 

If content’s main goal is to be a top of funnel driver, then content’s ability to get folks back to the main site’s feature pages is incredibly important. 

Yes, measure your team’s success by traffic driven. Yes, measure your team’s success by leads generated. But don’t discount content engagement metrics that can tell you how well your content is integrating into the larger site (and larger marketing organization, at that). 

Are you driving prospects beyond your blog, to solutions, to case studies, to building a modicum of trust even for your out-market prospects––so that when they are in market, they come looking for you? 

Organic traffic and lead gen are directional KPIs, suggesting larger content impact. And pages per session can help you and your marketing team piece together that impact, journey by journey. 

Do you measure bounce rate, time on page, and pages per session?