From SEO to content, every marketing expense must be justified. That said, it’s easier to prove the effectiveness of some forms of marketing than others. Take PPC for example you can physically see how much income you have made versus what you have spent. However, with the ROI of content marketing, it’s a bit more complicated.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s latest B2C Content Marketing report, nearly two-thirds of marketers (57%) expected to spend more on content marketing in 2019 than the previous year, according to the latest B2C content marketing report from the Content Marketing Institute. The pressure to prove to your boss that content marketing is worth the investment is greater than ever, so this article explores the different ways you can measure your strategy.
What are you measuring?
Return on investment (ROI) does not necessarily mean cash; it could be anything your business wants to achieve like more leads, better brand awareness/engagement, media coverage, organic traffic, or whatever, as long as you can attribute it to revenue or calculated value.
Don’t expect results straight away
Just like with PPC, it can take time and patience before you start seeing real results from your content marketing efforts. Take a look at the example below: This blog has had over 3,000 pageviews since posting in early 2017, but it took some time to build the numbers.
After an initial flood of promotion for the post on social media, you may see pageviews increasing gradually in 2017 and 2018. After updating the article to make it more relevant to 2019 and promoting it again on different channels, you can see a significant increase in pageviews at the beginning of the year.
This is a good illustration of how content marketing can drive improved and continuous results over time.
7 ways to measure the ROI of your content marketing strategy
Content marketing fuels all of your inbound strategies, meaning that success can be measured in different ways. Before you can measure the ROI of a marketing strategy, you need to know which KPIs and KPIs indicate success.
Revenue is the most important KPI in calculating the ROI of any marketing strategy. The basic formula for calculating the return on investment is as follows:
ROI = ((Return – Investment) / Investment) x 100
Tracking how much you invest in content marketing is fairly straightforward, but it’s harder to know how much income is attributable to that investment (return). First up, you need to attribute sales to content marketing campaigns, but ideally, you want to attribute other revenue drivers, such as repeat purchases, customer lifetime value, total purchase value, and profit.
It’s relatively easy to attribute sales and other revenue drivers to the bottom of the content the customer viewed before purchasing, but that doesn’t help you calculate the value of the content they interacted with in the early stages. of the consumer’s journey.
That’s why it’s important to avoid the last-click attribution model, and we’ll explain more about this a little later.
Another way to measure the value of your pre-buy content marketing campaigns before the purchase is to track the number of leads they acquire. Depending on the type of campaign you’re running and the stage of the consumer journey you’re targeting, leads can vary from someone clicking through to your website, search or social, to someone answering the phone to request a quote.
Some leads are more valuable than others and, again, attribution is key.
This time around, however, there are two main things you should attribute leads to – the content they are captured with and any future sales they lead to, the latter of which is vitally important.
If you know 10% of campaign X leads are buying your most expensive product will help you calculate a reliable ROI. More importantly, you can optimize this campaign to increase the volume of leads or the percentage of leads making the purchase.
You can track leads in Google Analytics using event metering, which allows you to measure interactions such as clicks on CTA buttons, clicks on video play, and form interaction. You can find out more information in our how-to guide on tracking leads in Google Analytics.
With event metering configured in Google Analytics, you can now create and track goals for very specific actions. This allows you to measure virtually any type of conversion on your website and optimize them to increase conversion rates.
You can now assign conversions to the last piece of content that potential customers interact with before taking action. As we said earlier, however, that doesn’t help you calculate the value of the content they have previously dealt with and wouldn’t have gotten to this stage without.
By default, Google Analytics uses the last-click attribution model, which attributes only the final page/source before conversion. By switching to other attribution models, you can assign value to the first interaction, equal value to all interactions (linear), or based on recency (decay over time).
An overview of the 6 most important attribution models
For a more detailed look at attribution models, see our article on the explanation of marketing attribution models. Once you’re done, you can also find out why we use our proprietary data-driven attribution model (DDA) to accurately calculate campaign value.
4. Organic traffic
Traffic is the most obvious KPI in any content marketing campaign and also one of the easiest to measure. If you want quick feedback on the success of a piece of content’s success, pageviews are a good metric to watch over time, just like we’ve done before.
If 5% of page views result in a purchase, you’re considering 5,000 sales for 100,000 page visits. This gives you an optimization benchmark to increase organic traffic so that instead of driving 100,000 pageviews in a year, you reach 150,000 and +2,500 additional sales over the same time period.
There are, however, variables to consider. Not all page views are equal in value, and similarly, some purchases generate more profit than others. By increasing the quality of pageviews and maximizing the most profitable sales, you can increase your ROI by attracting the right kind of visitors rather than simply focusing on simply maximizing traffic volume.
Plus, it all depends on how accurately you attribute visits to sales and other KPIs.
5. Search ranking
As your content marketing campaign ages, your ranking for specific keywords on Google and other search engines should improve. A higher ranking should translate to more visitors and opportunities to increase ROI. With a strategy like SEO, the bulk of the investment is in content creation and optimization, and the results should generally improve over time.
As your position improves, you should get a higher return on your content with little or no additional investment. This is why SEO remains such an important strategy for digital brands: because the long-term ROI is unrivaled with other strategies, even if the results are not immediate.
6. Community Involvement
Organic search isn’t the only place where your content is driving valuable traffic, and search rankings aren’t the only measure of content quality. Assuming you have the audience, to begin with, great content should get a lot of social media engagement, bringing in likes, views, shares, new followers, and page visits.
Social engagement should lead to more eyes on your content, and ultimately, more traffic that clicks on your website. You can use custom URLs to track which campaigns and posts get the most traffic, and then attribute those visits to conversions and revenue.
Organic reach is getting smaller and smaller on most large networks. So you’ll often find that the best engagement comes from paid social media campaigns. The good news is that it gives you a wealth of targeting options to locate relevant audiences, resulting in more page visits and interesting conversions.
Paid social campaigns also provide a more in-depth data set to work with, allowing you to more accurately attribute social engagement to earnings and other KPIs.
Cost per acquisition (CPA) is a metric that should always closely follow ROI in your marketing reports. This indicates how much (on average) you spend on content marketing to secure each new customer and it’s a key component to accurately calculate and optimize ROI.
Generally speaking, there are two ways to increase the return on your content marketing investment. Either generate more income without increasing spending or reduce spending without reducing revenue.
Cost per acquisition provides a measure of your investment in content marketing, versus capturing a new customer. By lowering your CPA and tracking sales volumes, you can increase ROI by reducing your spending and making sure your sales aren’t impacted due to your more efficient content marketing strategy.
Conversely, you can increase your investments while still using CPA and sales volumes to ensure you get the higher returns you expect.
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