It is notoriously difficult to quantify the success of content marketing because many factors are involved. Content does not always lead to direct sales. However, there are many metrics that are useful in gauging how well your content is performing in relation to your conversion goals. In this post, we will look at how you can calculate your content marketing ROI (return on investment) and then the other metrics which can measure content marketing success.
How to calculate your content marketing ROI percentage
Calculating your content marketing ROI is useful as one measure of success but should not be the sole determinant. This is because it is notoriously difficult to put an accurate figure on revenue generated by content.
It is important, however, as a baseline. Your ROI will be based on measurable data, so if it shows a clear and significant return, you can consider this figure your minimum ROI. Other metrics, in addition, will give you a broader picture of your content marketing success.
If your ROI indicates a loss, it is not definitive and should be considered in combination with other metrics. It may, however, be a good indicator that you need to adjust your content marketing strategy. Perhaps your content is successful, but you are simply spending too much on its creation and distribution?
To calculate your content marketing ROI, calculate the figure for your total investment and subtract from this the figure for your return (as far as you can measure it accurately). Then, divide the resultant figure by the investment figure and multiply by 100 to get the percentage.
Investment in content creation = £1,000.
Return in the form of sales = £5,000
Return (£5,000) – investment (£1,000) = £4,000 ÷ £1,000 = £4
4 x 100 = 400% ROI
In this example, the investment is clearly shown to produce a good return.
How to calculate your investment
To measure your content marketing’s success, you need to keep tabs on your expenditure in this area. This includes both the cost of producing and distributing your content. Consider all factors, including:
- Time spent creating content inhouse (time = wages)
- Investments in freelancer or outsourced content creation and distribution
- Cost of subscriptions and tools used for content creation and distribution
- Cost of paid advertising
- Cost associated with running a website or blog (hosting, domain etc.)
- Time spent responding to engagement with your content
How to calculate your return
Calculating your return is a bit more complicated and can sometimes be difficult to measure. There will be times that sales are achieved directly through clicks on your call to actions. However, many times your content will have spread brand awareness and encouraged sales in a way that’s more indirect and difficult to measure.
Use Google Analytics to see which pieces of content lead people to important pages on your website, such as the checkout, pricing or contact us page. This will be an indicator of the content that is generating qualified leads.
You can also track Assisted Conversions for the less linear purchases. This is useful where a customer has viewed your content but not made a direct purchase – perhaps they have waited a few days or shopped around before buying, but your content had an impact. Analytics are available for multiple channels so you can see which are bringing the highest return.
Other useful metrics for measuring content marketing success
While ROI will give you a baseline indicator of whether your content is performing well or not, it is not the only way to measure success. Measuring engagement is a bit trickier but also worth doing. There are several ways to measure engagement, including:
- Website traffic – is your content driving traffic to your site?
- Website engagement – are people engaging with your site’s content by commenting, sharing, and clicking call to actions?
- Social media following and engagement – are people following you, commenting, liking and sharing your posts?
- SEO performance – how well is your site ranking on search engines for targeted keywords?
These metrics can be considered vanity metrics because they are not necessarily an indicator of conversions. That’s why they should be considered in combination with direct sales data. They are helpful, though, in gauging the impact of your content on your target audience. This is important because it means your content is getting exposure, and you are building relationships effectively with prospective clients.
If you seem to be doing well in all these areas, but conversions are low, you need to look at why this might be. What is your website bounce rate? If it’s high, this means people are intrigued by your content but then put off by other factors. Is your site clear and easy to use? Do you have distracting elements on your site? Do your pages have enough information that’s also concise and easy to understand? Is your content geared towards your conversion goals? Are your prices too high or too low?
Content marketing strategies are constantly evolving in line with developments in technology and changes in consumer behaviour. To build and maintain success in this area, it’s important to stay on the ball and adapt your approach over time. Pay attention to key analytics because what is measured can be managed more effectively.
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