It’s definitely more difficult to measure the ROI of content marketing than it is to measure the effectiveness of other types of marketing. Compared with traditional marketing campaigns, content marketing tends to be a slow burner with no “campaign end date”, and results can only be measured accurately over the long term.
It’s also a challenge to attribute successes you do have to your content marketing strategy. While you can track traffic and leads that come from paid search and measure the increase in sales due to a short-term marketing campaign fairly easily, the same is not true for content marketing.
The buyer journey is no longer a linear process that can be tracked easily. A single customer may consume many pieces of content over several months before they decide to buy.
You should also keep in mind that not all your content has the simple short-term goal of making a sale (if it does, you’re doing content marketing wrong.) Content marketing can also be an effective way to raise your brand profile, increase trust, and bring in more web traffic via SEO.
This difficulty means that the number of organizations attempting to measure the ROI of their content marketing is surprisingly low. Only 43 percent of B2B content marketers surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute said they measured ROI.
The same research shows that 80 percent of respondents use metrics to measure content performance, so the difficulty clearly isn’t in collecting the data, but rather how to process it.
So, how do you even begin to untangle all of the data available to you and make it useful? It may be impossible to link every sale back to a certain content campaign, but with careful tracking and measuring, it certainly is possible to measure the ROI of your content marketing to a reasonably accurate degree.
Getting Started with Content Analytics
Start by setting a baseline from which to measure. It’s vital to know your current numbers so you can compare your results after launching a content campaign. Measure everything. This should include traffic, social media followers, sales, conversions, brand mentions, bounce and click-through rates, position in search results, and pretty much every piece of data you can get your hands on.
You can then set a regular schedule for running reports to measure the effectiveness of your content campaigns. This may be monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on your business goals and how much content you are producing.
With a baseline to measure against, you can more accurately measure the ROI of your content marketing efforts. Whether you’re tracking concrete data, such as sales and customer acquisition cost, or other more abstract measurements including brand reputation and site authority, you can easily compare this data to your baseline figures over time to see if your content marketing is paying off.
Using a content marketing platform like DivvyHQ to plan your campaigns and track content analytics from several sources will help you to keep all the relevant information in one place and make it much easier to measure the success of different pieces of content.
Measuring your content marketing ROI may involve a lot of data, but the basic calculation you need to do remains simple:
Content marketing ROI = the value your content generates for you / the amount it costs to produce.
In order to do this calculation, of course, you need to get a clear idea of these figures first, and this is why tracking your content metrics is so important.
The actual data you choose to track will depend on your organization’s goals for content marketing. However, there are certain metrics that are considered a must for any business wanting to measure the success of their content marketing campaigns.
1. Volume of Content Published
It’s impossible to measure your content ROI without knowing exactly the rate at which you’re publishing content.
Keeping track of how much content you’re producing and publishing for specific campaigns or to different channels also helps you to stick to a regular production schedule and monitor output from each member of the team.
2. Production Cost of Content
The next step of calculating your content marketing ROI is to measure how much each piece of content is costing you.
If you’re outsourcing content and paying per piece or by number of words, then this is an easy metric to track. However, you must remember to account for additional time and resources for formatting, SEO, images, editing, and everything else that goes into getting a piece of content online.
If your content is produced in-house, you’ll need to track the hours spent on each piece of content and calculate the hourly cost of content production based on each team member’s salary. You can then work out exactly how much each piece of content cost you to produce.
3. Website Traffic
One of the easiest metrics to track is traffic to your brand site. However, just because this data is easy to measure doesn’t make it any less valuable.
Your web traffic statistics not only show you how your content is bringing more traffic to your website overall, but you can also track visits back to individual pieces of content to determine which of your content is most successfully generating content.
4. Conversion Rate
Not all of your content will have a specific conversion goal, but for those pieces that do, it’s critical to measure how close you are to achieving this goal.
Measuring the click-through rate of your CTAs is the most obvious way to track this metric, although in some cases you might actually want to measure how many clicks actually convert into a sale or lead.
It’s important to track this metric not only to measure your ROI but also to optimize your content. Making small changes to your CTAs can make a big difference to your conversion rate.
If you’re selling anything, whether it’s products or services, your sales figures are arguably the most important figure when it comes to measuring your content marketing ROI.
Of course, you may not be able to definitively prove that a certain sale was made because of a content campaign, but this doesn’t matter.
As long as you have a baseline figure to measure against and you account for your standard rate of growth and other marketing activities, you should find a clear correlation between content production and sales. If not, this is a sign that your content marketing isn’t working and you need to figure out why.
6. Social Media Engagement
Likes and shares on social media may not necessarily translate directly into sales, but social media metrics are important to measure to track awareness and trust in your brand.
Just as increased content should correlate with increased sales, increased mentions and engagement on social media should ultimately mean an increase in revenue.
It’s important to remember that a return on investment doesn’t always mean a monetary return. Benefits such as increased brand reputation and visibility should also be factored into your calculations.
To get a better idea of how DivvyHQ can help you to measure and track your contact performance, contact our team for an analytics demo today.