How to measure content marketing ROI

4 min read

How to measure content marketing ROI

There’s no doubt that content marketing has become one of the biggest marketing must-haves of today. But how do you measure - and prove - the ROI of your content marketing efforts?

So you’ve built a content strategy that converts, and you’ve executed it beautifully. But measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your content marketing is one of the biggest challenges marketers still face today. 
Counting metrics like page likes, shares, page views and reach are just part of the picture (Note: And easier with a content marketing platform of course). To do it really well, you need to measure your content marketing against the SMART goals you’ve set for your buyer’s journey.

The Buyer's Journey
According to the State of Marketing 2015 report, 66% of marketers found content marketing to be highly effective. So how do you know if it is?

Jay Baer, author of Youtility, talks about the four main metrics marketers need to look at:

1) Consumption metrics

This is the most basic type of content metric, where you track whether your content is getting the exposure it needs and which piece of content is performing better than others. This allows you to tailor your future content to better suit your audience.

This data can be easily obtained from Google Analytics, Wordpress insights, Youtube insights or similar. You’ll also be able to observe your site’s bounce rate and time-on-site metrics. A decreasing bounce rate indicates that you’re giving your visitors what they want - which is great! On the contrary, a high bounce rate paired with a short time-on-site indicates that your content isn’t engaging enough to keep your audience around, and you’ll need to review your site content.

Some questions to ask:

  • How many people viewed and downloaded your content?
  • What is your bounce rate and time spent on site?
  • Which pieces of content are performing well?

2) Sharing and engagement metrics

This is the metric that too many marketers base their content marketing success on. In this section, we’re measuring how often your content is being shared with others, be it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest. A high level of engagement is a good indication that your content is relevant and share-worthy to your audience. You can read more about what makes people share here.

Bc note: Make sharing easy for your audience by adding social share buttons to your content. This will have an impact on your sharing metrics significantly.

Some questions to ask:

  • How often is your content shared with others?
  • What type of content is being shared?
  • Which platforms is your content being shared on?

3) Lead generation metrics

Both the metrics above talk about the traction your content gets. In this metric, we shift the focus to dollars (now we’re getting somewhere!).

If you’re offering a premium piece of content e.g. an ebook, visitors to your website will typically be required to complete a form in order to download the ebook, converting them into a lead for your business.

This is a great metric in itself, but did you know you can also measure the number of people who went to the lead form after consuming your content?

Some key questions you should answer:

  • How often do content consumers turn into leads?
  • What is your visit-to-lead conversion rate?
  • Which piece of content is converting the best?

4) Sales metrics

If you’re using a CRM like HubSpot, you’ll be able to see from your records which content pieces your leads have consumed. When your sales team converts that lead into a customer, you’ll be able to determine the revenue of that customer and assign that ‘win’ to the content they consumed. Neat, hey?

Some key questions you should answer:

  • How often do content consumers turn into customers?
  • Do we need a tighter sales funnel?
  • What is your lead-to-customer conversion rate?

A final note
Content marketing is a long-term game. It is important to have watertight objectives at the planning stage, which are aligned to the business goals (really crucial) and then broken down by the stages in the buyer’s journey. It's equally important to give your bosses the metrics they really want, to demonstrate content marketing's value. Our guide The 6 Marketing Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About will help you out - download it today.

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