Content Marketing ROI
Almost everyone is talking about content marketing Return on Investment (ROI).
What is content marketing ROI? Do you know how to track it? How do you calculate ROI?
Content marketing is important and over the past few years it has proved to be an effective method of brand promotion and lead generation.
Would you know a successful content marketing program if it walked right up to you and introduced itself? Well you are not alone.
However one element of content marketing still torments many – successfully calculating Return on Investment (ROI).
In fact roughly 86% of marketers use content marketing to grow their business and only 66% of B2C marketers are not properly measuring their content marketing ROI.
Table Of Content
Below are the contents of how to measure, calculate and apply content marketing ROI that is important for your business.
Click on any of them to get diectly to your prefered section or you can scroll down slowly and read from the start.
Measuring content marketing ROI
Measuring the ROI of your content and the success of your content are totally interdependent of each other.
ROI focuses on the actual money and time spent on creating and promoting content.
The success of content depends on the goals you set in place for your content like social shares, marketing qualified leads (MQLs), page views or all of the above.
The ROI of your content cannot be determined without a clear understanding of what successful content means for your business and vice versa.
According to the 2020 Content Marketing Research published by Content Marketing Institute only 43% of B2B organisations measure content marketing ROI and 65% of B2B organisations has established KPIs to measure content marketing initiatives.
In this essential guide, we break down the steps involved for effective measurement of your content marketing efforts.
Two Factors Affecting Return On Investment (ROI)
You need to be aware of two factors marketers face when calculating the ROI of a campaign.
- That content marketing is a long-term investment. Almost every campaign begins with a negative ROI overall that should improve over time.
- There are many benefits that content marketing offers that are hard to quantify numerically and brand perception is one of them.
In this article we are going to teach you:
- What is content marketing ROI
- How to measure your content marketing ROI
- What metrics you need to track your content marketing ROI
You will also learn other ways content marketing can benefit your business and if those indirect benefits can be measured – of course they can.
What Does Return On Investment (ROI) Means
Return on Investment (ROI) measures the gain or loss generated on an investment relative to the amount of money invested.
ROI is usually expressed as a percentage and is used for personal financial decisions to compare a company’s profitability or to compare the efficiency of different investments.
What Is Content Marketing ROI?
Content marketing ROI is a percentage that shows how much revenue you gained from content marketing in comparison to what you have invested or spent in creating, distributing, marketing and more.
ROI is said to be one of the most important measures of successful content marketing because it is directly tied to revenue.
Revenue is not the only measure of success in content marketing strategy. If you are not getting the page views, shares, likes and visitors are not engaging with your content – you are not going to earn any revenue.
First let us take a look at the content marketing ROI formula. This is how you are going to figure out exactly how much your content marketing is earning you.
As always like everything in marketing – it is not that simple. There are other elements that go into both the return and the investment of a content marketing campaign. Some of these are quantifiable and some are not.
A content marketing ROI breakdown generally looks more like this:
The 3 Main Components of Content Marketing ROI
The three main elements of ROI for content are:
Let’s talk about content utilisation. According to Sirius Decisions reports – around 60-70% of content has never utilised.
If your content is not being used then all of the monies spent for creation and promotion will result in a negative ROI.
Therefore before you go creation-crazy always remember that your content would not have any impact if it is never used or shared.
Content marketing ROI also needs to define the business value of the outcomes it generates.
What was the original goal of creating your content? Was it to support a product launch or gather new social followers?
Every piece of content should have its own goal in addition to the general ROI calculations that you will be applying to.
Excellent – now that you understand how complicated ROI can get let us start calculating.
There is a 4 simple step content marketing formula to weigh the cost of your content against the revenue you earn from it.
Here is how you work it out:
Before seeing the results of your content you will need to put some work in.
This will include anything like content creators salary or wage, work done by other departments, imaging cost, video and audio costings, outsource work and content creation cost and in-house content work.
Look at all of the funds you are contributing to make your campaign a success.
If you are working with an external content marketing agency like Best-Digital Marketing Services, this will be a straightforward cost for all of the elements of a campaign including writing, SEO, social ads and more.
However if you are utilising full-time employees to do the work or enlisting multiple contractors your calculations may get more difficult.
In this case you may want to create an average estimate for how much time these individuals spend per month and how that matches up with their salaries.
What this looks like:
Option One: Agency spending (PPC, copywriting, paid social ads, etc.) = £40,000 per campaign
Option Two: In house copywriter (130 hours at £30/hour= £3,900) + social ad spending (£12,000) + PPC (£13,000) + content creation (£2,500) + SEO consultant (£7,500) = £38,900*
*This is just an example. You may find that outsourcing can be cheaper or more expensive for your business/campaign.
This includes paid promotional cost like Pay per Click (PPC), social media advertising and other channels of distribution and marketing costs.
It will also include tools and software used for the content creation and its’ distribution.
Step 3: Work out the amount you got in return.
Should your content be working well you will generate leads that turn into sales.
There is a clear link between content and revenue because when target audience read a piece of content and then click on your call to action to buy something – it generates sales.
Sometimes that process takes longer and the relationship between content and sales is not that straight forward.
But if you add up all the sales that resulted from a piece of content you will know how much you earned which is your return.
Step 4: How to Calculate Content Marketing ROI
Understanding Basic ROI Calculations
Before determining what influences your content marketing ROI it is important to understand what ROI is in its simplest form. It looks like this:
This can be written out in another way expressed in percentage:
How do you measure content marketing ROI
To calculate your content marketing ROI we really like the simple content marketing ROI formula – Gains from investment minus Cost of investment divided by Cost of investment and expressed as a percentage.
It may be easier to understand the numbers when you see them as content marketing example:
If you spend $500 on creating a piece of content and get leads worth $2000 then your ROI is 300%.
Here is a good rule to follow: if you spend less on producing content than you earn in sales then it is worth it.
Content marketing has a reputation for doing a lot with a little. This will become apparent when you are calculating your ROI return.
Below are five of the most important content performance metrics and each of them may have a sub performance metrics.
These metrics are broken down further as described below.
1. Consumption Metrics
Consumption metrics focuses on how many people are seeing your content on your website and other channels. Metrics may include:
- Page views
- Time on page
- Downloads either gated or ungated
- Unique visitors
- Keyword and other SEO rankings
- Click through rates for social media and email marketing
- Open rate for email marketing
A. Website traffic
This is the foundation of content marketing success – without traffic there is no revenue. Dramatic but true. If nobody is looking at your content then nobody is buying from your content.
To ascertain how much traffic a piece of content is generating for your site you can turn to Google Analytics. In the main menu click on Behaviour » Site Content » Landing Pages.
This report will show you which pages your visitors are first landing on. By default it is sorted by your highest-traffic pages first.
You can also look at how your traffic is growing over time by comparing time periods. It is also a great idea to look at where your traffic is coming from – this is known as referral traffic.
When you know the source of your traffic you can figure out which part of your marketing strategy is driving traffic with the potential to convert and which parts are wasting your time.
From the landing pages report click on the page you want to analyse. Then click the Secondary Dimension button and click on Acquisition » Source/Medium.
B. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the practice of increasing your website traffic by getting your web pages to rank higher in search engine results and it is so important.
To gauge SEO performance you will need to check that:
If all these things are true your content will reach more people and get more leads and sales as a result.
Here is one way to analyse SEO performance for your content:
First open an incognito or private window in your browser and search for one of the key terms that you would like people to use to find your site.
If your content shows up in the top 3 of search results then you are sure to get some traffic. And more traffic means more leads and sales so this is a great way to get a quick snapshot of how your content is doing.
C. Domain Authority and Page Authority
You can use Moz’s Link Explorer to find your domain authority and page authority and the domain and page authority of inbound links.
Type the URL into the search box and hit enter and you will get an immediate snapshot. This tells you two things:
- High domain authority and page authority informs you that your content is seen as authoritative and will rank well in search results.
- Those same metrics for inbound links shows that respected sites are linking to your content which increases your site’s authority even further.
The more people see you as an authority the more they want to share and link to your content.
This increases its reach and improves the potential to generate leads and sales.
D. Exposure and Authority
You can assess your exposure and authority offline by checking that:
- You are being invited to participate in industry events or expert roundups. Track this by monitoring the number of invitations you get.
- You are getting coverage from respected media outlets including radio and television. Create a spreadsheet to track offline media mentions.
Exposure and authority metrics are markers of content marketing success because they present your content to a wider audience. This is sending more visitors to your site.
Recognising your brand and seeing you as an authority will lead to an increase in business referrals, leads and sales.
This is how you start improving your content marketing ROI.
Retention is determined by how you keep your customers engaged. Metrics include:
- Percentage of return website visitors
- Bounce rate
- Blog subscribers
- Number of followers on social platforms
- Customers engagement through tactics like newsletters in which case click through rates and open rates might also come into play.
Content marketing success is about getting people to your site and keeping them there.
If you have a low bounce rate and people are spending time on your site or even coming back then you know your content is working.
And you are well on the way to generating leads and sales from your content.
If people land on your epic blog post and leave within a few seconds then you have a problem.
But if your analytics data shows they are reading to the end and even checking out other content or subscribing to your newsletter then you know that content is successful.
For a quick and easy way to see whether or not your website content is attracting quality leads is to look at your consumption metrics.
Measuring the way your website visitors interact with your content is a good way to make sure you are attracting traffic that is interested in what you have to offer.
Majority of these metrics can be tracked in Google Analytics. Downloads, open rate and click through rates can be tracked through marketing automation software and social analytics tools.
Email is especially important to track because it is one of the highest producing ROI tactics.
Most sharing metrics will come from your social media analytics tools – some are free and some are paid version. These may include:
- You may also use a tool like Salesforce to track how your sales teams are sharing content with potential customers.
Offsite engagement is also important for assessing content marketing ROI.
If target audience find your content useful they will link to it or share it with others on social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook.
Social media engagement and referral traffic are important to keep track of because a lot of purchase decisions are influenced by peer recommendations and other social proof.
If target audience are sharing your content on the social networks that are most important then it will enhance your reputation, drive traffic, bring in leads and help you make sales. It is important to do this kind of analysis.
A. Tracking Social Engagement in Google Analytics
With Google Analytics, you can track how much of your website traffic comes from organic search, see what pages people are visiting most and with some limitations learn what keywords are bringing them.
To see how much traffic you are getting from individual social media platforms to your website in Google Analytics you can go to Acquisition » Social » Network Referrals.
Does Your Content Show Up in Search Results?
If you are measuring content marketing ROI another important metric to keep track of is how well your content performs in search.
That is because more people click on the top search results and more clicks equal more traffic and more potential leads and sales.
Great content attracts target audience and audience can generate leads. That is why content marketing is so crucial for lead generation.
There are a lot of ways to measure lead quality. For example if you have just created an epic quality relevant blog post with a lead magnet or content upgrade you can tell it is working to attract quality leads if:
- People read your blog post and grab your lead magnet which shows they could be thinking about doing business with you.
- Your visitors check out related resources that are part of your marketing or sales funnel.
- Visitors contact your sales team to ask pre-sales questions.
These actions indicate that your content is generating qualified leads that are likely to buy eventually.
One way to check if your visitors are qualified is to see whether they are visiting important pages on your site like your pricing page.
You will need to set up goals in Google Analytics. Leads are one of the easiest elements to track through a content marketing automation platform.
According to Salesforce and Pardot’s study organisations that use automation have 53% higher conversion rates from responding to qualified leads.
Always look at those generated across the buyer’s journey (first touch, multi-touch, final touch, etc.)
If you are getting a lot of traffic but have a high bounce rate and low conversions that is an indicator that the leads you are attracting are low quality and are not looking for what you have to offer.
This section is the most important part of your content performance metrics.
It all comes down to how much money your content is making your business. Sales metrics include:
- Percentage of sales opportunities influenced
- Value of opportunities influenced
- Percentage of sales opportunities won
- Value of sales opportunities won
If you have got qualified leads and are nurturing them with the right content at the right time then some of those people will go on into the sales funnel. This will be an important part of any content marketing ROI report.
Since leads and sales translate directly into income they make it easy to measure content marketing ROI.
Which Content Marketing Metrics Should You Track?
Remember you do not need to track every single metric above. Instead of trying to track all of the content marketing metrics all the time you may find it easier and more rewarding to choose a few metrics to track depending on your goals.
- If you are writing a long article to attract links to your site and boost your search engine rankings then set some specific goals for the results you want. Be sure to track new backlinks to that post and to your site and monitor your search engine rankings after publication.
- Should you plan a social media campaign to build interest around a new product launch then track the media mentions and keep an eye on your social media engagement.
To determine your content marketing ROI – it always helps to plan ahead, set specific goals and choose just a few meaningful metrics to track.
Determine Your ROI
Wow we have covered a lot. With all of these elements you can now create your content ROI.
Although you need to take many factors into consideration revenue is really what matters for most businesses at the end of the day.
It is very similar to the calculation you saw at the beginning. But it is important to understand everything that goes into calculating your ROI even if you do not use every metric to prove to that content works.
Consider the Additional Benefits
As marketers we want to know who is seeing our content, how they are interacting with it and how they feel about it.
Try exploring some of the metrics listed above in determining your overall content marketing ROI.
And do not forget the additional hard to quantify benefits such as brand reputation, visibility and the future value your content will bring over time and not just at the time you are measuring.
Content marketing strategy is all about attracting, engaging, identifying, nurturing and converting target audience, leads and continuing to delight them once they become customers.
Measuring and keeping track of your content marketing s clearly a worthwhile investment but there is a learning curve to get started.
It is a complicated in the beginning but it gets easier as time goes on. If you do not have time to learn all the ropes yourself, you will need to find someone you can trust.
Best-Digital Marketing experts are skilled professionals with years of experience helping other businesses improve their rankings and keeping track of your Return On Investment – ROI.
We know what we are doing well enough that we are happy to assist in any way. Get in touch today to see if we can help you start to reap the benefits of SEO.
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