Let’s talk about content marketing ROI (return on investment).
Do you have any idea what it is? Do you know what your device is, or even what it looks like? Do you know how to keep track of it?
The importance of content marketing ROI cannot be overstated, but if you couldn’t tell a successful content marketing program from a mile away, you’re not alone.
We’ll teach you what you need to know in this post.
- What is content marketing ROI
- How to measure your content marketing ROI
- What metrics you need to track your content marketing ROI
What Is Content Marketing ROI?
ROI on content marketing is the percentage change in total sales resulting from content marketing as compared to the original investment.
But money isn’t the only yardstick for evaluating a successful content marketing plan. If you’re not getting pageviews, shares, or people aren’t reading your material, then you won’t make any money from it.
To get a solid idea of the return on investment for your content marketing, consider which metrics are most crucial. Later in this post, we’ll look at seven important metrics.
First, let’s look at the content marketing ROI formula. This is how you’ll figure out how much money your content marketing is generating for you.
How to Calculate the Return on Investment for Content Marketing
There’s a straightforward, four-step content marketing formula to help you evaluate the cost of your material against the revenue it generates for you. Here’s how you use it:
Step 1. Calculate how much it cost you to create the material.
Even if you create your material in-house, there is still a cost since you are paying the content creators or other departments’ salaries.
Don’t forget to include anything external content assets you bought, such as photos, videos, audio files, or any other outsourced work.
Step 2: Calculate how much it cost you to distribute the material.
Also remember your in-house expenses. Include any sponsored campaigns, such as PPC advertising and social media marketing, as well as other media channel promotion.
You’ll also need to include the cost of any specialized equipment or software needed for either content production or distribution.
After you’ve totaled up all of the expenditures in Steps 1 and 2, you’ll have a good idea of the full cost of creating your material.
Step 3: Calculate the value of what you received in return.
If your content is effective, it will produce leads that lead to sales.
Sometimes, there’s a clear connection between content and money, such as when readers read something and then click on your call to action to make a purchase.
On the other hand, when everything goes as planned, and your content is relevant (and well-structured), it has a basis in reality that people can relate to. That doesn’t account for everything, though; all we’ve mentioned thus far is based on aggregate data. At other times, this procedure takes longer and the link between content and money is indirect. This can take place when prospects see your material and then search for it again at a later time, maybe months or perhaps even years later. At that point, they’ve forgotten where they saw it and may not remember all of the details, but something about its relevance strikes a chord with them.
If you calculate the total amount of sales that resulted from a piece of content, you’ll be able to determine your return.
Step 4: Calculate your content marketing return on investment.
The easiest content marketing ROI metric we’ve found is the Convince and Convert method: “Return minus investment divided by investment, as a percentage.
“If you spend $600 on creating a piece of content and get leads worth $3000, then your ROI is 400%.
(Return) $3000 – (Investment) $600 = $2400
$2400 / $600 = 4
4 x 100% = 400% (ROI)
So, how do you know whether it’s worthwhile? Here’s a good guideline: if you spend less on content production than you earn in sales, it’s a good idea.
We’ll look at some of the most important metrics to measure and report on content marketing ROI even better now that you know how to calculate content marketing ROI.
We’ve already covered that money isn’t everything when it comes to content marketing success; below, we’ll look at some less tangible metrics as well.
Before we get started, you’ll need to have Google Analytics set up on your site.
Which Content Marketing Metrics Are Most Important?
There are seven essential content marketing metrics to consider: lead quality, sales, web traffic, onsite interaction, social media engagement, SEO success, and exposure and authority. Each metric will be discussed in detail below.
Before we begin, keep in mind that you don’t need to track every statistic.
So, which content marketing metrics should you track?
Instead of attempting to measure all of the content marketing metrics at once, you may find it more practical and gratifying to concentrate on a few metrics that suit your objectives. For example:
- If you’re creating a lengthy pillar piece to get links and improve your search engine rankings, make certain you have specific aims in mind. Then keep an eye on new backlinks to that post as well as your site’s SEO after it goes live.
- Keep an eye on the following metrics if you’re planning a social media campaign to generate buzz around a new product release: Media mentions, for example, and social media interaction.
To estimate the return on investment of your content marketing, it’s usually a good idea to plan, establish specific targets, and track only a few important metrics.
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Do you have content that has the ability to make money?
The first two metrics we’ll look at help us answer this question. To measure the earnings potential of your content, you’ll need to look at leads and sales.
1. Quality of Lead
As our lead generating guide notes, excellent content draws an audience, and an audience may help you generate leads. That’s why content marketing is so important for lead creation.
There are several techniques for evaluating lead quality. For example, if you’ve recently published an outstanding blog article with a lead magnet or content upgrade, you may tell it’s working to attract high-quality leads because:
- Your lead magnet, which is the thing you’re offering for free in exchange for their email address, appears to be what they’re pondering.
- Your visitors will also look at related resources that are part of your marketing or sales funnel.
- Visitors contact your sales team to inquire about pre-sales.
These activities suggest that your material is resulting in qualified leads who are more likely to buy.
To determine whether your visitors are qualified, look for signs that they’re visiting crucial pages on your website, such as your price page. To accomplish this, you’ll need to create goals in Google Analytics.
To see which pieces of content aid in the creation of leads, go to Conversions » Goals » Funnel Visualization.
If you’re obtaining a lot of traffic, yet your bounce rate and conversions are low, it’s an indication that the leads you’re getting are low-quality and aren’t looking for what you have to offer.
You’ll next look at how many of these leads turn into sales and what their value is. This will give you one of the important numbers in our Content Marketing ROI calculation above.
Some of those people should buy something if you’ve got competent leads and are nurturing them with appropriate content at the proper time.
If you’ve enabled eCommerce in Google Analytics, you may obtain precise figures by going to Behavior » Site Content » All Pages.
The Page Value column in the Goals page’s Visits view shows you the average value for a page that a user visited before arriving at the goal page or completing an eCommerce transaction. This statistic gives you an indication of which pages on your site are more important to your site’s income.
Still, this only records conversion that occurs in one session. Content marketing isn’t always so straightforward.
What if a visitor comes to your site, reads a blog entry they discovered via Google, does some comparison shopping and research, then returns the next day to make a purchase?
Additionally, you may keep track of this through Google Analytics and Assisted Conversions. Assisted Conversions are the number of conversions a channel (such as sponsored advertising or organic search) facilitated along a customer’s journey at any moment.
You may examine which channels are assisting in your conversions by going to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions. Simply click a channel and view the Lead or Click Direct Conversion Value column to see how much money it generated, directly and indirectly.
In addition to monitoring current performance, pay attention to content performance over time because some material may become more or less relevant, resulting in greater or fewer leads and sales.
You may do this by changing the date parameters in whatever analytics tool you’re using. Here’s how to modify dates in Google Analytics:
Go to the top right of the screen and select a date to view the calendar.
You may choose a time frame, such as the previous week or month, from the dropdown menu, or enter your own start and end dates by scrolling through the calendar.
To compare a period to the previous one, click the little Compare to: checkbox. This will allow you to determine whether your conversions and sales are increasing or declining over time.
After you’ve finished recording data, click the arrow next to the Apply button to refresh your data. Your data will automatically refresh after you click OK. You’ll see more of this period’s data as you go through Analytics.
This enables you to determine which pieces of material are more successful in the long run, allowing you to decide whether they should be included in your sales funnel. This will play an important role in any content marketing ROI evaluation.
Leads and sales are directly related to income, making it easy to calculate content marketing ROI. The following two content marketing metrics are all about engagement.
Do you know if your content is driving engaging?
Engagement is a more difficult performance measure to translate into revenue, but it’s still worth considering if you want to get a complete picture of your content marketing ROI.
3. Web Traffic
The foundation of content marketing success is website traffic; without it, there is no money.
You may once again utilize Google Analytics to discover how much traffic a piece of content is generating for your site. Click on Behavior » Site Content » Landing Pages in the main menu. This report will show you which pages are receiving the most traffic. It’s defaulted to sorting by your highest-traffic pages first.
Aside from simply looking at your raw traffic statistics, you may look at how your traffic is increasing over time by comparing periods as shown above.
It’s also a good idea to look at what source of your traffic you have; this is referred to as referral traffic. You may figure out which part of your marketing campaign is converting visitors into customers and which parts are wasting your time by looking at where your traffic originates from.
Here’s a simple method for determining where your most popular landing pages are getting traffic:
Click on the page you want to examine from the landing pages report. Click the Secondary Dimension button and select Acquisition: Source/Medium.
You can now see where your visitors are coming from for that landing page. In this scenario, you can see that most people come to this page by searching Google:
If you’re seeing this sort of success with your social media marketing efforts when you spend a lot of time promoting your material on social media, something is wrong.
4. Onsite Engagement
It isn’t only about getting people to your site in order for you to have success with content marketing; it’s also about keeping them there. If your bounce rate is low and individuals spend a long time on your site, or even return, you know that your material is effective.
You’ve got a problem if people just scroll down your amazing blog post and leave in a few seconds. But if analytics data confirms that people are reading to the end and even checking out other material or signing up for your newsletter, then you know you have something worthwhile.
Take a look at your engagement statistics to see whether or not your website’s content is attracting great leads. It’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting traffic that is interested in what you have to offer by tracking how visitors engage with your material.
To get a general sense of your engagement metrics, go to Audience » Overview in Google Analytics.
Pages per session, average session duration, and your bounce rate are all important metrics to examine. If interested in what you have to offer, engaged visitors will spend more time on your site and view more pages.
Go to Behavior » Site Content » All Pages and select the desired piece of content.
Enter the URL for your article into the search box on the right side of the table to find it. Continue browsing through the list of URLs till you discover your material, or type its URL into the search field on the right. Here you can see how popular all visitors who visited your site after landing on a certain landing page are.
5. ROI for Social Media
The ROI of content marketing can also be evaluated by tracking how people react to it after they’ve read it. After reading your material, individuals are more likely to link to or share it on social media.
Keeping tabs on how people respond to your social media posts and whether they interact with your content is essential, as are traffic from social media platforms Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook. When it comes to making purchases, a lot of them are influenced by peer recommendations and other social proof. And where do you think your potential customers spend their time?
Here are a few simple methods to keep track of your content’s social media interaction:
Google Analytics: Tracking Social Engagement
Go to Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals in Google Analytics to see how much traffic you’re receiving from individual social media platforms to your website.
You may also figure out how much money a social media traffic source is bringing you by going to Acquisition » Social » Overview and viewing the income totals.
You can see how much of your conversions are from social media referrals in this example. In the example above, Facebook is by far the most popular social referral, suggesting that their Facebook content marketing ROI is healthy. If they hadn’t been investing in Facebook marketing but were seeing poor results here, they’d know it wasn’t worthwhile.
Overall, though, if they’re focusing on any sort of social content marketing, they aren’t seeing any results from it, according to these analytics.
Is Your Content Found in Search Engine Result Pages?
Another crucial figure to keep an eye on when measuring content marketing ROI is how effectively your material performs in search.
That’s because more people click on the top search results, and that equals more traffic, potential leads, and sales.
6. SEO Success
The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to improve the number of visitors to your website by increasing its ranking in search engine results pages. It’s critical.
You’ll need to assess SEO performance by checking that:
- You’ve established strong connections between your content and the targeted keywords.
- You’re appearing in answer boxes for key phrases that are relevant to your product or service.
- Your domain authority is excellent (when high-authority sites link to you)
- You’re getting more inbound links.
If all of this is true, your material will reach more people and you’ll receive more leads and purchases as a result.
Here’s one approach to evaluate the SEO performance of your content:
To begin, open an incognito or private window in your browser and search for one of the primary phrases you wish visitors to use to find your site.
Where does your material appear in search engine results? If it’s ranked third, you’ll likely receive traffic as a result. As well as more visitors, this provides you with a quicker insight into how your content is performing.
7. Expose and Assume Authority
Metrics such as exposure and authority can be measured both online and offline.
The more people see you as an authority, the more they will want to share and link to your material. The reach of this content is increased, as well as the potential to create leads and sales.
You can check your exposure and authority by looking at how many connections, likes, followers, readers, or fans you have in the following ways:
- You’ve been invited to attend industry events or expert roundups. Keep track of how many invites you receive by monitoring the number of them you get. It’s as simple as that.
- You can increase traffic, sales, and credibility by building a genuine YouTube presence. You’ll also be able to launch new channels, expand your audience and grow your business. A lot of people have started their own video sites without any partnership.
Metrics that measure exposure and authority are indicators of content marketing effectiveness because they allow you to reach a larger number of people with your material.
People will begin to associate your company with your brand and perceive you as an authority, which will lead to more business referrals, leads, and sales. This will improve content marketing ROI.
There you have it: How to measure your content marketing efforts.
Remember, you don’t have to keep track of all of the above indicators. In fact, we recommend that you don’t. It’s ineffective to try to monitor too many metrics at the same time. It’s also possible to get “analysis paralysis.”
Instead, start each new content marketing initiative or campaign by choosing a few relevant metrics to establish concrete objectives for. Then you’ll be able to follow the ROI with ease and know exactly what success looks like.
Now that you know how to calculate the return on investment for your content marketing, go ahead and get started on producing more material. You can begin by conducting some keyword research, which is a good place to start when it comes to producing not just blog entries, but ebooks, case studies, and other lead generators.
Avoid these content marketing blunders that even the experts make to achieve optimum content marketing results.