Analytics & Measurement, Content Marketing 5 mins read

How to Measure Content Marketing ROI

Measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts is done by dividing the reported or estimated revenue generated by the incurred or perceived cost (time and/or money). Measuring content marketing ROI may be a bit harder to do for some since there usually isn’t a defined cost associated with it, as advertising would have.  

There are many types of content marketing pieces and all of them require different ways to measure performance. For data and results-driven organizations, reporting on marketing activities can be crucial in getting scope or budget approved. While some strategies such as paid media and sponsored Facebook Posts have easily-tracked metrics for ROI, those that don’t have a clear measurement tool shouldn’t be cast aside – such as content marketing strategy. 

Becoming intent on directly attributable marketing channels with transparent ROI may limit a brand’s opportunity with content marketing channels. By internally educating your organization on the value and ways to measure results, you will be able to build a strong content marketing strategy for the long term.

Understanding the Costs of Content Marketing

A key aspect of defining content marketing ROI is measuring the financial investment needed to cover it. Content marketing strategies require resources for development, scheduling, and asset generation – all of which involve research, writing, proofreading, publishing, promoting, and analysis of results. Because of the high amount of resources needed for an effective content marketing strategy, it may be wise to recommend that your company outsource content needs to an agency. If hiring an agency to handle content marketing needs isn’t within your organization’s budget, audit the internal resources spent on content creation over time to optimize team members’ efficiency. 

Defining the Purpose of Your ROI

Before defining the metrics you’ll use to measure content marketing ROI, it’s important to look at the purpose or reason you’re doing this work. If the goal of defining ROI metrics is to demonstrate results and attempt to justify a content marketing budget, the overall picture that you create may end up inciting more confusion than enthusiasm. 

content marketing ROI

Each specific type of marketing goal requires different ways to measure success. For example, awareness goals should not be measured by web traffic, but by subscriber or engagement growth. Web traffic can be a useful metric to look at if the goal is to build your audience, but the real value of web traffic data lies in the resulting leads. So it’s important to remind those who are in charge of allocating budgets that numbers that may seem impressive at first look really only provide a blurry view of the whole picture.

The bottom line: Metrics should be used to inform your strategy instead of your budget. Use them to generate insights that will result in the improvement of your content marketing results.

Measuring Content Marketing ROI with SEO Metrics

Without click-through rates, cost per conversion, cost per click, and other clearly-defined ROI metrics to rely on, how can an organization measure the success of organic efforts on marketing channels? When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), data-defined reporting can be a bit tricky, but we’ve listed a few of the ways your organization can report the ROI of content published.

Increase in Organic Engagement

This can be measured by increases (or decreases) in the search engine results page click-through rate (CTR) and therefore inbound traffic to your website. You will also likely see an increase in conversions over time from organic traffic (remember, content marketing and SEO are “slow and steady”), and you may be able to assign credit to specific content pieces if there is an attribution model in place. 

Define Realistic Performance Benchmarks

To prove that it’s worthwhile to create high-quality content for your company, it’s important to establish how content is performing initially before making any optimizations – this will be your baseline or benchmark. Begin by listing the performance of any webpage content or looking back at historical data in Google Analytics. 

Analyzing content pieces over time can help you establish KPIs that are attainable and create goals for improvement based on those. Even individuals who are not well informed on the benefits of SEO will find it compelling that users are finding the content and converting because of it.

Building a Case for Content Marketing Without Metrics

Along with the metrics you use to measure the ROI of content marketing efforts, it may be worth supplementing with information about the general benefits of content marketing

Use these fast facts to boost your management’s perception of the ways content marketing can benefit your business:

 

  • 90% of the most successful content marketers prioritize educating their audience over promoting their company’s sales message. (Source)
  • Regarding content formats, one survey reported that in 2022 they expected to create 49% fewer whitepapers, 60% more podcasts, and 48% more webinars. (Source)
  • In a survey of 500 digital marketers, 88% said their marketing strategy includes blogging, and most posts they publish have at least one visual. (Source)

 

benchmarking content

Data has shown that today’s consumers are comfortable making purchasing decisions based on the content they consume while browsing the web and social media platforms. Let that knowledge guide your business’s strategy!

Whether you’ve already begun your content marketing journey, or you’re still trying to get the budget approved, our team is here to help make sense of the KPIs. Contact us today for a free consultation! 

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About the author

Alexa Parker launched Crimson Park Digital in 2018 with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for digital marketing. With nearly ten years in the industry, she's been fortunate to learn from the best mentors, work on inspiring campaigns, and fine-tune her craft. Now, along with my team, she provides expertise to clients across the country and enjoys every day of it.