As many brands have proven over the last few years, content marketing can be a very effective marketing strategy. However, many marketers have found that quantifying a return on investment (ROI) for content marketing can prove to be challenging.
Unlike other areas of marketing, a content strategy may not achieve an immediate turnaround on investment each month. Due to the nature of content marketing and as brands blog on a daily basis, it may take weeks or months before you see any engagement.
When it comes to measuring the ROI of your content efforts, it is important to have a clear goal set to allow you to measure the performance of your content marketing strategy. Monitoring the relevant marketing metrics to your content strategy is imperative to this.
Important metrics to measure
For measuring ROI, it is generally advised to focus on the following metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), depending on your goals. Some of these will tell you if your content is engaging enough while others will focus more on the actual ROI that your content marketing is generating. Content cannot be measured by just one single metric as no one data point will successfully tell you if your strategy is working.
Content consumption metrics look at user engagement level, the channels used, and the frequency of their consumption. These are important for measuring engagement and seeing the value of your content. Focus on KPIs such as total visits, page views, downloads, time on site and bounce rate. A web analytics program such as Google Analytics can measure this. Look for measurable data that can help you determine how often content is consumed and the path that users follow.
Content sharing metrics is an indicator of how relevant and share worthy your content is. Look at performance indicators such as social likes, shares, tweets and re-tweets across the range of social media channels that are being used as part of your content marketing strategy. Inbound links can also prove to be beneficial. It’s important for your link building strategy but will also give you an insight into gauging the relevancy of your content.
Lead generation metrics are key to understanding how many qualified leads your content has gained. By setting up campaign and event tracking in your analytics program you will be able to track the path taken by leads in the sales funnel. One way of attributing leads to content is by using lead capturing forms such as a newsletter or enquiry form.
The true revenue of content marketing comes from sales metrics. While all the metrics mentioned above are important, sales metrics are the easiest way of proving ROI. This affirms if your content impacts customer acquisition. In order to do so your must ensure that you can track the lead through the sale funnel process.
How to measure return on investment (ROI)
In order to measure the ROI, you must be able to assign a monetary value to your content marketing metrics. This can be done in a number of different ways such as estimating the cost-per-click (CPC) value of keywords bringing traffic to your content, creating a social media ad promoting your content which individuals will have to click in order to like or share and setting up valued event goals for lead and sales metrics.
Once you have all of these, you can calculate your ROI by using the following formula:
(Revenue Generated – Cost of Content Marketing) / Cost of Content Marketing)
The cost of your content marketing may refer to the salaries for those who create content; costs around content distribution; Google Adwords campaigns; Facebook ad campaigns, etc.
Once you have defined the strategy and business goals behind your content marketing and measured the relevant metrics then it will be much easier to calculate the ROI. It is important to continue tracking your content marketing metrics in order to gauge the relevancy of your content and improve upon your strategy in order to generate a higher ROI from future content.
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