Do you know the ROI of your content marketing? Many enterprise content teams struggle with measuring its impact. Because it incorporates many content analytics, it can be a fragmented, cumbersome task. However, there are several content marketing metrics that can help you translate the performance of content to revenue generation.
Why Is Content Marketing ROI So Challenging?
Content marketing is a long-term, ongoing strategy. That makes it different from specific campaigns like paid ads, which spell out your ROAS (return on ad spend). Add to that the no longer linear buyer journey, and attribution can be a headache.
It’s also hard to determine because content marketing could always drive value. An ebook you publish today could continue to drive leads for months or years to come. That’s a much different model than paid ads, which have a specific timespan.
A recent survey of content marketers determined that 54 percent find it somewhat difficult to measure performance.
Many find it so cumbersome that they don’t even measure it. And many that do find it ineffective. It’s a top priority for content teams because you need to show your value to the company. It’s the best way to shift the paradigm of marketing as an expense to an ROI producer.
Content Marketing Impacts Revenue Directly and Indirectly
Another aspect of content marketing ROI challenges is that it contributes directly and indirectly to leads, conversions, and sales. It does so directly with gated content that earns you an email address or a webinar attendee requesting a demo of your product.
Indirectly, it boosts ROI by:
- Improving brand awareness to your audiencePositioning your company as a thought leader and expert, which builds trust
- Helping you rank well organically through SEO efforts
- Creating engagement on social media channels
- Nurturing prospects through the sales funnel
The Gray Areas of ROI Analysis
The indirect effects of content marketing fall into a gray area. For example, blog content improves ranking, engages audiences, and supports thought leadership. There’s value there, but it may not be quantifiable.
To get to a point where it’s clearer, you’ll want to track these essential content marketing metrics, which tell your content story with data.
Traffic is an easy volume metric to measure. You’ll want to look at total traffic to your website and its source. Additionally, you can see new vs. returning users. Traffic metrics help you determine:
- Most viewed pages, which provides insights on the topics and formats of content most appealing to your audience
- Referral channels, which demonstrates those that are working best for you, so you put the most effort into these.
- Who is visiting your pages, in terms of if they are returning users or new ones, which can provide context around who engages with your content
2. Time on Site
Content marketing is a traffic stimulator. Traffic alone, however, won’t result in more conversions. Prospects need to remain on your site for it to influence them to do business with you. That’s why time on site matters as a content marketing metric.
As you track this, you’ll want to understand why it goes up or down. If you see a sharp rise, you should dig deeper. Was it because you had a backlink in a high-profile article for your industry? Context around data helps it become actionable.
A subset of time on site is the number of pages per session. Buyers spend a lot of time consuming content before they are ready to make decisions. If your content addresses every stage of the content marketing funnel, you will likely see this go up, with users exploring your site beyond the original entry page.
Backlinks to your site are very valuable to traffic and SEO. If your content is high-quality and original, other domains will want to link back to it. That signals to Google that it’s an endorsement. Ideally, you want links from high-authority sites. You can track how many links your site has and their quality via an SEO platform or within Google Search Console.
While on the subject, you should strategize backlinking to include:
- Earned media
- Third-party sponsored content
- Guest blogs
- Outreach to partners or other businesses in your ecosystem
4. Social Media Engagement
Social media engagement is a metric to measure because it involves many layers. First, higher engagement helps with SEO. Second, it’s a content distribution channel that drives traffic to your website. Third, it’s a place to generate leads, either with organic posts or paid ads. Fourth, it can be a place to build a community of brand promoters.
In gathering this information, you’ll want to determine:
- What platforms have the most engagement and why
- What topics or formats people share the most
- The number of clicks from social media to your website
- Who your top fans or followers are, which can assist you with better understanding your personas
5. Click-Through Rate
Not all content will have the objective of converting a prospect to a customer. There’s a lot more that has to happen before then. The point is that all content should have a relevant, compelling CTA (call to action) that moves them down the funnel. That’s why you want to measure CTR across it.
You’ll have CTA categories:
- Read or download a piece of content
- Subscribe to content
- Watch videos or webinars
- Attend an event
- Follow on social media
- Request a quote or demo
- Start a free trial
The CTR for all of these can deliver valuable information about the buyer’s journey. It can also provide insights into the type of action people are most likely to take. CTR is critical to understanding performance. If it’s low and not rising, you should reevaluate your CTAs and if there’s a disconnect.
6. Conversion Rate
Content-related conversions are trackable, even if there’s no form for data capture that registers a lead. You can set up goals in Google Analytics that you define as conversion. Special links can also work.
One thing to consider is how you define a conversion. It can vary, and you can have different ones. One conversion may be that you collected a new email address from a gated content offer. Another would be a marketing team handing off an MQL (marketing qualified lead) to sales.
7. Assisted Conversions
Assisted conversions are those that content marketing contributed to in some way. In the example of a person entering your website through a blog from an organic search, how does this activity relate to a conversion?
Example from DivvyHQ Analytics
Upon entrance, your website analytics starts tracking the visitor’s session. If the visitor converts or completes one of your goals during that time, the blog post that started their journey should get credit for the “assist.”
Content Marketing Metrics That Matter Shouldn’t Be Hard to Produce
These metrics are just the start. There are so many ways to measure content marketing ROI. But the production and analysis of them shouldn’t be difficult. Having one platform that aggregates them all into one dashboard can be a game-changer. That’s the kind of view you get with content analytics in DivvyHQ.
See how it works by requesting a demo of DivvyHQ analytics.