Content Marketing ROI
Have you invested time and money into content marketing? Or maybe you are just thinking about devising a content marketing strategy. Either way, you are not alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 89% of B2B marketers are relying on content to drive traffic and conversions. Of those 59% of marketers aren’t sure what a successful content marketing program looks like.
Deep down in our hearts and on our analytics dashboards, we know that content marketing is working but how can you prove whether a blog post, tweet or email really contributes to your bottom line?
How else can content benefit your business and can those benefits be measured?
What is ROI
By definition, ROI is your return on investment. As it relates to your content marketing strategy there are a few returns to consider.
Let’s start with defining our investment which is pretty clear cut:
The cost of production (even if you have in house department think about images, videos, etc that you might purchase).
Plus the cost of distributing the content (paid promotions, PPC, software subscriptions, etc).
Then work out the dollar amount for what you got in return. If your content is working it will translate to leads and sales. Sometimes it’s easy to identify the link, for instance when users click on a piece of content then click on the call to action, then buy something. A lot of times the process isn’t so clear cut, we’ll take a look at some of the other metrics later on.
A simple formula is this: Return minus investment, divided by investment, expressed as a percentage.
If you spend $200 creating a piece of content and you get leads worth $1000, then your ROI is 400%
$1,000-$200 = $800
$800/$200 = 4
4×100% = 400%
Basically, if you spend less on creating content than you earn in conversions, it’s worth it.
Now let’s look at some of those other metrics that aren’t as obvious but still matter.
Other Content Marketing Metrics To Consider
Remember to always keep your goals in mind, when considering other metrics.
1. Web Traffic
This is a metric you should always be measuring. We suggest you use Google Analytics, it’s free and very robust.
A few metrics to measure is traffic to the URLs that contain your original content. You can find that here Behavior > Site Content > All Pages or Landing Pages. Google makes it really easy for you to find the page you are looking for by providing a search bar.
You can also see how traffic is increasing over time, by comparing time periods in the date section.
Behavior Flow offers a great visual representation of your user’s journey through your site. This feature allows you to highlight traffic through specific pages.
2. Website Engagement
You can infer how users are engaging with your site by observing metrics like “time on site.” “pages per session” and “bounce rate”.
Another factor to consider is the “exit rate” from your pages featuring original content. If users are leaving from there, you have an opportunity to either improve your content or improve your design layout to encourage users to explore your site.
Website engagement metrics are also how Google measures your site’s usability which could affect your placement in search engine results. Which takes us to the next point.
3. SEO Authority
How well is your content performing in search? The higher it ranks the more likely it is to be clicked which means more leads and more potential conversions.
It’s important that your content is ranking for your target keywords otherwise the traffic you receive won’t be a quality lead. Also, make note of how many inbound links you are getting as these go up so does your SEO authority and if high authority sites link to your site that’s even better.
You can analyze your SEO performance by conducting your own search. Open an incognito window and search for one of the keywords or phrases you are trying to rank for, then look for where your content appears. If you see your article within the first 3 spots – you’re winning – if not you have some work to do.
4. Social Media
When measuring if your content is working it’s important to measure engagement off your site as well, in other words, see how you are doing on social media.
If people find your content useful they will engage with it and share it. Some obvious metrics would be comments, shares and your follower growth.
You can track social media engagement using Google Analytics, you can go to Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals. This tells you how much traffic is generated to your site (where conversions happen) through social media.
5. Email open rates and click through rate
Drip marketing is probably the most traditional form of content marketing there is and a great way to nurture leads through the sales funnel and keep existing customers delighted. However, emails are only a useful marketing tool if they are being read. There are plenty of email automation platforms out there to help you monitor your open rates and keep track of your subscribers and unsubscribers, we suggest Hubspot or MailChimp.
Getting that email open is half the battle. Once you have the recipients attention you have to make the most of it. All your emails should contain a call to action (a link that leads to where the conversion happens). A high percentage means your content was compelling enough for users to read more and hopefully buy.
We’re Still Human After all
And there are some metrics that can only be measured in human sentiment like people recognizing your brand or maybe you are receiving more invitations to be a part of expert panels or participate in industry events. This kind of recognition gives your content an even wider audience and a more personal appeal. Don’t waste an opportunity to be the face of your content!
You don’t need to track every single one of these metrics. Use your marketing objectives to inform which metrics matter to you and your company. And remember the next time your boss or a content marketing naysayer questions the effectiveness of original content the answer isn’t always so black and white.