​How to Measure the ROI of Content Marketing

09 March 2016

How to Measure the ROI of Content Marketing

85% of British businesses use content marketing, but 61% say that measuring the effectiveness of their content is their biggest challenge. The content marketing approach is, generally, less direct than some more traditional methods of marketing, so measuring the return on investment can be a little more complex. However, that does not mean it is not possible. In fact, measuring ROI is vital if content marketing is to be an effective tactic.

The first step in measuring the ROI of content marketing is to decide which metrics you want to track and improve upon. Without these, you can’t set targets and you won’t know whether you have improved or not. These metrics could include:

  • Sales
  • Email newsletter sign-ups
  • Social media traffic
  • Targeted leads
  • Inbound links
  • Website traffic
  • Social shares
  • Brand recognition.

With these metrics decided upon, you will be able to start to measure the value of the content you are creating and demonstrate its worth to the brand.

Google Analytics can play a significant role, measuring your success and comparing your results to previous periods of time. Set up workflows that track traffic that comes directly from your self-hosted content (such as your blog) and don’t forget to set up tracking for external content (such as YouTube videos or SlideShare presentations), too. You want to be able to follow your customers through their website journey and measure how many conversions (in whatever form you have chosen) occur after someone has consumed your content, or track how many site visitors originate from social channels.

With Google Analytics, you can also find out whether the people visiting your site to read your content are regular visitors or whether it’s their first time on the site. You can measure the bounce rate of each kind of site visitor, and compare it between blog posts and website content or videos and infographics. This will help you to decide on future content formats, based on your existing successes.

You should use social media management tools to gain access to a dashboard that will tell you how many social shares individual pieces of content on your site have gained. There are analytics available within some social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, that will tell you how much attention your updates are getting, but also consider tools such as Simply Measured or SoTrender (a much more affordable option for smaller businesses) for cross-platform analytics.

Tools like this use the data that the platforms provide so do not have access to any additional information, but the way it is presented is very accessible and can be easier to manage.

Remember that content marketing conversions are not always immediate. Part of the role of content marketing is to give a brand a personality and develop trust in potential customers before they buy. This means that the road to a conversion may not be a straight forward one but, with analytics tools in place, you will be able to measure the ROI of the work you are doing and improve your success based on what is working most effectively.