Data from the Content Marketing Institute shows that most marketers don’t have KPIs for measuring the success of a campaign. However, marketers have to justify the spend for their content marketing efforts; either to a manager, CFO, or a client.
While statistics reveal that content marketing works, which specific aspects of content marketing should you track for success? Remember that leads generated or converted are not the only metrics for calculating content marketing ROI.
But first, we need to understand what content marketing ROI is.
What Is Content Marketing ROI?
Content marketing ROI is the revenue generated directly from your content marketing efforts. It considers the cost of creating and promoting content. Content Marketing ROI is expressed as a percentage of how much income you gained from content marketing when compared to what you spent.
The ROI of content marketing is one of the most critical metrics of content marketing success because ROI is tied to money.
But is money the only determinant of success in content marketing?
How about shares, pageviews, and visitor engagement? You’re not getting any direct revenue, but they lead somewhere.
4 Simple Steps to Measuring Your Content Marketing ROI
There are four steps to measure the ROI you get from your content marketing campaigns.
Step 1: Determine the Cost of Content Production
Many people erroneously assume that content marketing is free.
It takes time and money to create content for lead generation and long-term revenue.
Even in-house content creation costs money. You are paying salaries, utility bills, and other overhead costs.
The words of the 19th-century American retailer, John Wanamaker, comes to mind.
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.
The typical costs associated with creating content include:
Graphics design cost – This include costs for tasks such as cover page design, charts, landing page, infographics, and more.
Image subscription– This includes the purchase of royalty-free images, gifs, and illustrations. If you opt for custom images, add the cost here.
Video production cost – If you paid an agency to produce your video or paid for a tool to create the video yourself, ensure you add the expenses to your overall cost.
Programming cost – Some content, such as interactive website tools requires a higher level of programming.
Proofreading and editing cost – For written content, you need a second eye to produce flawless work. If you hired an editor or proofreader, add the price here.
Tools subscription cost – Every copywriter relies on copywriting tools for content creation. Accessible tools include SEMrush and Ahrefs to discover keywords to use in your content. Others include Canva, Moz Explorer, Copyscape, Yoast SEO, and more.
The cost of creating content vary by content type. For example, it will cost more to create video content than to create an infographic.
If you outsourced the entire content creation, add up the money paid to the freelancer or agency.
Step 2: Calculate Your Cost of Content Promotion
The days of relying exclusively on free social media for content distribution are long gone. Today, you need to promote your content aggressively using paid media.
Associated cost may include:
- Email marketing
- Social media ads
- Google search ads
- Sponsored placements
- Display Ads
- Influencer marketing
- YouTube ads
- Content Promotion Networks
Step 3: Determine the Revenue Generated from Your Content Marketing Campaign
Content marketing isn’t like Pay Per Click advertising where people see your ad, click on it, go to a landing page and buy your product. That’s easy to attribute.
Knowing the revenue generated directly from a particular content marketing strategy can be straightforward at times; at some other times, not so much.
Some people may see your ad and convert immediately. Others may take more time. It’s harder to track conversions that are not through landing pages from ads concerted efforts.
While you may attribute the sale to social media, the content the customer consumed in the past assisted in the conversion.
To track and measure the cash value of your content marketing ROI, you need to put tracking mechanisms in place before content promotion. For tracking, analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Google Campaign URL Builder are useful.
Google Analytics helps you set conversion goals and value. You can track campaign link clicks and measure your web traffic.
Step 4: Calculate Your Return On Investment (ROI)
Here is the formula to measure content marketing ROI:
Revenue – Investment/Investment x 100
Here’s a practical example
- Content creation cost = $5,000
- Content promotion cost = $1,000
- Revenue generated from content = $30,000
ROI = $30,000 – $6,000 = $24,000
$24,000 / $6,000 = 4
4 X 100% = 400% ROI
If you earn more in sales than you do on content production, then it’s totally worth it.
Beyond the Revenue Metric
Albert Einstein was right.
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
While revenue contributes to the bottom line, other content marketing metrics are essential.
For instance, the brand equity created by your content is a gift that keeps on giving. Prospects will find your brand more trustworthy. How do you measure that?
The metrics depend on your goals. Let’s assume you’re writing a long-form content to rank high on search engines and attract backlinks. Your ranking position after you publish the post and the number of backlinks you earn is what matters.
If you’re building buzz for a social media campaign, track shares, likes, and engagement.
But none of these is useful without specific goals to determine which metrics to track.
Here are other valuable content marketing metrics you should monitor and measure
Unique visitors and returning visitors
What’s the point of creating content if no one is reading it?
Measuring the number of unique visitors enables you to determine if your digital marketing campaign is working. But returning visitors are just as important. It tells you if your content is sticking.
The Quality of Leads Generated
If you consistently publish great content, you attract a devoted audience that generates leads. You can tell the quality of leads if:
- People grab your lead magnet after reading your post.
- Visitors check out similar topics as part of the sales funnel
- They get in touch with your sales team to ask questions.
- They visit vital pages on your site such as pricing page
If you get a lot of traffic but suffer a low conversion rate and a high bounce rate, that’s a sign of low-quality leads.
Use Google Analytics to monitor the total number of pageviews to a page. Also, track the total number of unique visitors and unique pageviews. Unique pageviews combine pageviews from a user during a single session. The information helps you understand the number of sessions a user viewed the page.
For a more precise look at performance, create an advanced segment to split specific types of traffic. For instance, you can compare the performance of blog posts with the rest of your website.
Natural inbound links
These links have more SEO juice than the ones you build manually. They also provide high-quality leads. Measure organic inbound links to monitor the traction your content gains with your community.
Call to action CTR Rate
Confused about the source of reduced lead-close rate? Using a call to action CTR as a proxy to measure lead-close rate helps you determine if the source is your sales process or your content.
For every $1 spent, email generates $44 return on investment. Track:
Email open rates: A/B testing leads to a higher open rate
Clicks: How many people open your emails. Do they click on the links to a blog post or a landing page? This shows which posts are most beneficial to your audience.
If you want a full picture of your content marketing ROI, track engagement, even though it doesn’t directly result in revenue. Consumption metrics is a great way to measure content performance. Engagement metrics to track include:
Average time on page: Time differences between posts gives you an indication of what type of content your audience engages with the most.
Pages/session: This is the total number of pages a visitor browses on your site. It shows how they engage with different pages on your website.
Referral traffic: The websites sharing and linking to your webpages.
There is no revenue without traffic. Google Analytics shows you how much traffic each content generates for your site.
Head over to Behaviour – Site Content – Landing Pages. The report shows the entry page a visitor lands. Sort results by the pages with the most traffic.
People will share or link to your content on social media if they find it useful. Peer recommendations influence purchase decisions. Which social media channels do your customers hang out? That’s where they make decisions.
Shares: Repins from Pinterest, Retweets from Twitter, and Shares from Facebook.
Comments: It requires more effort for a reader to comment than to like a post. A comment is a reliable gauge of how engaged your audience is with your content.
Follower Growth: Do you have new followers in your reports? Follower growth is an indication that they like your content and made a decision to stay updated with your posts.
For better analytics, use Buzzsumo to retrieve data on social shares based on content length, type, and channels where the shares originated.
Measuring your content marketing ROI should not be a one-off event. Schedule it at intervals to ensure you get the best out of your content marketing campaigns. The right metrics to measure your content marketing depend on your organizational goals. Whatever those goals are, make it a priority to build your visibility, reputation, and audience.