Content marketing ROI: How to Identify Key Metrics You Should Track
Are you often left wondering how much your content marketing ROI is?
How do you know if your content marketing efforts are indeed paying off?
What is the yardstick for judging the success of your content marketing programme?
Often, marketers don’t even know how a successful content marketing programme should be like.
According to Marketing Profs and Content Marketing Institute, only 37% of B2B marketers of organisations can tell if their content marketing efforts are successful or not and 63% don’t even have a documented content strategy. That’s lamentable.
The most important question that plagues every marketer’s mind is, “Why should I be creating this content?” Remember that the metrics will depend totally on the goals/objectives you have set for the content. Goals are intrinsic to defining the parameters of measurement.
Never build your content without pre-defined goals as that would make it difficult to figure the metrics for measuring the success of your content marketing strategy. Typically, the objectives include lead generation, customer retention, upselling, and brand awareness. You must be clear on which one(s) you are aiming for.
In this post, we have put together answers to common questions like what counts as content marketing ROI, how to measure it, and the metrics you need to consider.
What is Content Marketing ROI?
In any business, return on investment or ROI usually measures how successful a particular effort has been since revenue has a direct bearing on it.
Content Marketing ROI is a percentage that indicates how much revenue you have obtained from content marketing when compared to how much you had spent on creating and distributing the content. If you produce and promote great quality content regularly, your ROI on content marketing will indeed be good.
Your usual Content marketing ROI aims at three things:
- To boost traffic to your website.
- To convert such traffic into good quality leads.
- To convert and close the leads into sales.
Conversions are integral to the content marketing ROI model and are a metric for determining the success of your content marketing strategy. You can quantify the conversions in terms of sales potential to predict the content marketing ROI.
Let’s take a detailed look at how you can measure content marketing ROI.
How to Calculate Content Marketing ROI?
The content marketing formula to calculate the ROI is simple. The idea is to calculate the cost of content against the revenue you earn. Here’s how you can figure this out.
STEP 1 – Determine how much you spent to create your content
Whether you produce content in-house or source it externally, there is always a cost incurred. Creating it in-house means you will be employing a content specialist to do the job precisely for you against a monthly salary. The same is the case when you hire a freelance content writer.
The cost of producing content also includes expenditure on creating content assets like video, graphics, audio, and presentation, whether done in-house or not.
STEP 2 – Estimate the cost of distributing the content
Distributing your content to communicate them to the right channels will also involve in-house and external costs. This will include paid promotions like social advertising and PPC advertising and also promotion through other media channels. Add to this the cost of any special tools or software necessary for content creation or distribution.
Adding up all the expenses in Step 1 and 2 will give you the actual cost of producing the content.
STEP 3 – Calculate the amount of revenue you get in return
There is a direct correlation between content and revenue. When someone reads your content, clicks the call-to-action button, and avails your products or services, your content generates revenue. Well-created and suitably distributed content creates leads and often results into sales if everything goes well. There are also some less obvious metrics in content marketing that we will look into later in this blog.
Add up all the sales that are a result of your content to arrive at the figure of the total revenue.
STEP 4 – Calculate your content marketing ROI
A simple formula works here.
Revenue – Investment = Return or Profit
Return divided by Investment and expressed as a percentage will give you the ROI.
If your expenditure on a piece of content you outsource from a content marketing campaign is INR 10,000 and the sales resulting from that amounts to INR 30,000, then your return on investment or ROI is INR 20,000 or a gain of 200%!
Revenue should not be considered the only direct indicator of how successful your content marketing strategy is; for some brands the ROI comes from some indirect factors like brand awareness, customer loyalty, brand advocacy, etc.
So, what is a good content marketing ROI measurement approach and which metrics are responsible for it?
Metrics Generally Used for Measuring Content Marketing Success
You should consider these important metrics for measuring the success of your content marketing strategies. However, it may not be possible for you to track all of them. Choose only a few based on your goals!
1. Web Traffic
Think about it. There cannot be any revenue without traffic.
Your content marketing efforts can be successful only if there’s traffic.
Use Google Analytics to understand how much traffic has been directed to your website because of a content piece. In the main menu, follow the options Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages. This report shows the pages your website visitors have been landing on first.
2. Lead Quality
Good content draws your target audience to you. It’s these visitors who generate leads, which in turn makes content marketing absolutely important for lead generation.
Your posts are drawing qualified leads if:
a. People read your blog posts and consider availing your services.
b. Visitors read related resources.
c. When visitors get in touch with the sales team with queries.
Such actions show that your visitors are interested in what you have to say and your content is generating quality leads.
You can set goals in Google Analytics to see if your site visitors are also checking out important pages such as your pricing page.
If the traffic on your website is good but the bounce rate is high and conversions are low, it shows that the leads are of low quality and the visitors aren’t really interested in what you have to offer(considering your content and offering is relevant).
if you want the leads to convert to sales, the key is to provide valuable content to the visitor the instant they come looking for it. If the qualified leads are nurtured with quality content, at least some of them will be prompted to buy something.
Enable e-Commerce in Google Analytics if you want to get the exact numbers of conversions in the form of sales. Navigate to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages and the Page Value column will show the average value for a page a user visited before landing on the goal page or availing a product or service. This figure will give a general idea of the pages on your website which contribute significantly more to your revenue than the others.
4. Customer Feedback
Customer reviews have a direct bearing on content marketing success.
Yes, you got that right!
If a product or service is reviewed positively, it means your offering is a high revenue earner and the target audience has accepted it well.
The content you provide for your offerings should be in tune with what a buyer will actually get. Refrain from making tall claims in your content and promise only what’s fair.
5. Time Spent Onsite
Merely getting your target audience to your page is not good enough if you fail to keep them hooked there.
This means your pages should ideally have a low bounce rate and people should come back to you the next time they need something. It is only then that your content is working and helping in generating leads.
If people are reading your content till the end or are subscribing to your weekly newsletter, it means they like what you post and look forward to reading about you the next time.
6. SEO Rank
The SEO success of your pages depends on how they perform in the search results during a search. People usually do not go lower down on the SERPs and mostly click the results that they see on top.
Your pages are well optimised for search engines if you’re getting good inbound links, have a high domain authority, and your content ranks well for the target keywords and your text appears in search boxes for relevant items.
7. Social Media ROI
Any guesses for the online platforms you will find most of your target audience frequenting? You got it!
Social media sites are where they virtually hang out.
If your business is prominent on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, it means you have a good offsite engagement. This is important for assessing content marketing ROI. If your fans or followers like your posts, they will want to link it or share with others on social media.
Keeping a track of your social media engagement helps. Recommendations and shares from friends often have an impact on the purchase decisions on social media.
Google Analytics can help you get the stats on how much traffic is coming in through individual social media sites. To check this, you can follow the path Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals.
To know the revenue you are earning through traffic on social media, go to Acquisition > Social > Overview.
8. Exposure and Authority
When you manage to establish your authority online over any content, it means people will want to link you and share what you post. This improves your visibility and reach and contributes to generating leads and closing sales.
While this authority cannot be quantified per se, searching for a topic keyword will tell you if your site appears in the top results.
Offline authority and exposure can be judged from the coverage you get from media channels, including TV and radio and if you are being invited to take part in industry events and expert discussions.
Being an essential parameter of defining content marketing success, these factors also ascertain how well your brand is recognised. High exposure and authority aids to direct interested people to your website.
As marketers, we do consider revenue important but it is more important for us to understand how our content is being received, who is seeing it, and how they’re interacting with it. These metrics are a great way of figuring out the enhancements you need to make in your content strategy in addition to ascertaining the overall content marketing ROI.
If you’re on the lookout for expert content writers who can work to further your content marketing strategy, you’re in the right place.