You’ve probably got a blog, and you’re undoubtedly active on social media. You might even be actively promoting your blog through guest posting. So try and answer this question: Do you know how to measure the success of your content marketing strategy in terms of content marketing ROI?
If you’re not aware of your content marketing ROI, you’re not alone. One in four content marketers doesn’t know how much revenue their content marketing is generating. This is hardly surprising. The more marketing channels you use, the harder it is to attribute the results.
This article aims to fish you out of the 25% who can’t quantify the value of their content marketing. Before we discuss this topic in more detail, let’s first get our definitions in order.
What Is Your Content Marketing ROI
Content marketing ROI is a method for establishing how much revenue you generated from your content marketing efforts. It’s measured as a percentage.
To understand your content marketing ROI, add up all the costs of your content marketing efforts from production through to distribution. Then, add up all the money you made through your content marketing. Divide one by the other and multiply it by 100, and you get your percentage.
You can measure the content marketing ROI for any content marketing. This can include videos, blog posts, social media, PPC, etc.
As the formula above makes clear, the way you assess your content marketing ROI is pretty simple. However, if you’re serious about improving your content marketing ROI, you need to take a deep dive into the data. There are three groupings of data you should pay attention to:
- Conversion metrics: track things like purchases, inquiries, or how many people signed up to your email list.
- Consumption metrics: measure how people engage with the content. Common consumption metrics include time on page, sessions, and the number of pages visited.
- Social engagement metrics: this is how people engage with your content on social media. You’re generally talking about things like shares and click through rates.
By analyzing and assessing these different metrics, you should be able to improve your content marketing ROI. I’ll cover some of the most important metrics to review in the section below.
1. Track Your Sales
Custom goals are something you can set up through Google Analytics. You can create a custom Google Analytics goal around any conversion. For example, you might create a custom goal tracking sales.
When you create a goal, you can measure the completion rates. The event goal completion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who completed a set action, in this instance, making a purchase.
On Google Analytics, you can analyze the path people took to complete a goal through the funnel visualization and goal flow features. This helps you understand what landing pages your customers came through, and what actions they took before they made a purchase.
Understanding your visitor journey is incredibly important for conversion rate optimization tests. For example, you might find that changing where elements on your landing page are placed will help improve user flow to your sales. More people arriving on your sales page generally results in more sales.
2. Assess Lead Quality
Lead quality is a metric you can use to assess the value of a lead by traffic source. For instance, there’s a good chance you are working with a company that has a PPC budget. You want to make sure you invest your money in the most effective marketing channel. There are a lot of marketing channels you can choose.
For example, you might be in two minds between investing in Facebook Ads or Google Ads. You want to know which channel provides the best ROI, so you get the most bang for your bucks.
Lead quality is a method for assessing how traffic from different channels converts so you can compare them. This enables you to invest your money in the channel that provides the best ROI for your business.
As I mentioned earlier, you can set up Custom Goals in Google Analytics to track sales. You then assess conversion rates by traffic source.
3. Review the Page Value
If you have enabled custom goals on your site, you’ll be able to access a handy feature called Page Value. Google measures the value of the page through the following formula:
Revenue + Goal Value / Pageviews = Page Value
You can access the Page Value dashboard by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. The table on the dashboard will look something like the screenshot below. This is a great metric for attributing a value to individual pieces of content.
While page value is a useful metric, it does have shortcomings. For a start, it only tracks conversions that take place in one session. It does not track actions across multiple sessions.
4. Track Your Email Opt-in Rate
They say the money is in the list. If your email list is the most critical asset for your business and you know the value of a sign up to your business, it’s logical to track your email conversion rates.
You can track the conversion rate to your email list using custom goals on Google Analytics. This is the best way to see where visitors are converting. You could track the conversion rate through your opt-in form dashboard.
Reviewing the conversion rate through your opt-in form dashboard is good for getting an understanding of your overall website performance, but not for measuring conversions from individual pieces of content.
5. Branded Search Vs Non-Branded Search
It can feel challenging to quantify the success of an offline marketing campaign. Indeed, how can you definitively state that a TV, radio, or PR campaign resulted in additional online sales?
This is an issue when attempting to assign an ROI to your content marketing. One way you can get around this is by reviewing fluctuations in branded and direct traffic.
Branded traffic is the number of people who search for your company name on Google. This is basically “company name + keyword.” Direct traffic is a measurement of the number of people who input your website URL straight into their browser.
An offline marketing campaign should increase in people searching for or visiting your site. Any increase in sales above the average you can attribute to your offline campaign. It’s not a perfect method for measuring the content marketing ROI from a campaign, but it is something.
You can track the number of direct visitors to your site through Google Analytics. Meanwhile, you can track branded search volume through Google Search Console. Add your business name in the “Query” field to check results.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t provide you with a complete data set. This means that there will be a disparity between branded and non-branded search when compared to total search volume.
6. Review Your Search Rankings
If you are choosing the right keywords, your search rankings will play an essential role in gross sales. It’s logical, therefore, to review your page rankings when assessing your content marketing ROI. For example, increasing the search rankings for a piece of content with a high page value should increase site revenue.
You can review your site rankings through Google Search Console. Start by reviewing the search rankings for all of the pages on your site.
Click on a page, then queries, to see what keywords the page ranks for, and where the page is ranking.
Through reviewing the page value and search ranking together, you can create a shortlist of keywords to target. These can become the focus of an SEO campaign.
7. Track Visitor Numbers
Like a coffee in the morning, tracking the number of visitors to your site can become addictive. You might get into the habit of checking your visitor numbers multiple times a day.
Visitor numbers are a tempting metric to track. However, unless you generate revenue through Google Adsense or similar, it’s far better to measure conversions or consumption metrics.
8. Review Time on Page
Average time on page is one method for analyzing content consumption. The principle is simple: the longer a person stays on a page, the more useful and engaging the content. You want to identify pages with a lot of visitors where people decided not to stick around.
Let’s take the screenshot below. You can see that the average time on the page for that second result is really low (just 18 seconds).
You could all too easily conclude that the content with low time on page was not interesting. It’s what this data set reveals.
However, you want to avoid reviewing data sets in isolation. Where possible, crosscheck your findings with other variables. In this instance, there was a high correlation between the page load time and the time on the page.
Reducing the page load time, increased time on page, and resulted in more sales. This is a good example of why you need to take an analytical approach to SEO.
9. Pages Per Session
The penultimate content marketing metric we will look at is pages viewed per session. Like time on page, the principle here is that the more pages a person visits, the higher the lead quality.
Unless your visitors are arriving on a sales page, you want people to visit a couple of pages on your site. If this isn’t happening, you have a problem. I recommend you investigate how people are using your site, and make assumptions about why they are leaving at the first opportunity.
If you have a high bounce rate or a low number of pages per session, I recommend you run conversion rate optimization tests to identify and resolve these problems. Any fix can help improve your content marketing ROI.
10. Social Media Engagement
Your content does not exist in a vacuum. If people think your content is useful and worth sharing, they will share it on social media, whether or not you’ve integrated social media share buttons into your website. There are many ways to track the traffic your content is getting from social networks. Google Analytics has a robust social engagement tracking algorithm.
You can use social media engagement as a metric to define your content marketing strategy. Tools like Buzzsumo come in handy if you plan to take this approach.
Be careful when analyzing content according to social shares. For example, on Pinterest, the featured image you choose has a big impact on social engagement. Equally, any PPC campaign run on a social media platform will quickly distort your results.
In this guide, we showed you how to measure your content marketing ROI. We also listed ten essential metrics to track when analyzing the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts. The stats you choose to review need to be relevant to your business.
Through taking a strategic approach to your content marketing, you can first assess how successful your content marketing efforts are, before running tests to improve your content marketing ROI. By taking this strategic approach to content marketing, you can incrementally increase company revenue.