With the growing complexity and competitiveness within the content marketing world, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for brands to measure their returns.
Recent studies have shown that 65% of marketers aren’t able to quantitatively measure the impact of their marketing efforts.
If this is the case for your brand, it’s time to turn things around.
Keep reading this article to find out what exactly content marketing ROI is, what it can do for your business, and how you can make the best of the metric to promise your future content marketing campaign’s success.
What is Content Marketing ROI?
Content Marketing ROI is the percentage that reveals the amount of revenue collected from your content marketing efforts by comparing it to your expense.
Content marketing provides several benefits, including increased search rankings, improved web traffic, and improved conversion rates. It would be challenging to evaluate the success or failure of your content without measuring the precise ROI.
How to Measure Content Marketing ROI?
Not only does measuring content marketing ROI help you prove that your content marketing strategy works, but it also ensures that your content adds value to your business.
Measuring content marketing ROI can seem like a daunting task, but there are ways to make it easier. One of the best ways to measure is to tie your content marketing activities to your website goals. If you know your business goals, creating content for those goals is likely to produce results.
Other steps to measure your content marketing ROI include:
- Calculate the amount you spent while producing the content. Include things like the salary you paid your content creator, the amount spent on images, audio, video, outsourced work, and so on.
- Find out the cost of distributing the content. It will include the cost of paid promotions and tools and software employed while creating and distributing content.
- Adding these factors will give you the total cost of creating your content. From here, you can calculate the amount you received in return. You should be calculating the sales you made directly from a content piece.
- The last step involves calculating your content marketing ROI. A simple formula to calculate this is: Return minus investment divided by investment.
Follow this 4-step content marketing formula to measure your content cost against the revenue gained from it.
How to Estimate the ROI for a Potential Content Marketing Program
1. Look at case studies for inspiration
Your content marketing program can be more effective if you use case studies. Case studies can prove that content marketing works and provide the users with a better idea of how content marketing is done.
For instance, SAP, a German software company, increased its ROI by 7x after changing its content marketing strategy.
Case studies are not only convenient for inspiration, but they also help you discern what strategies may work for you. After all, one of the best ways to learn how to do something is to see how others are doing it.
Make sure to do extensive online research to unearth case studies of B2B or B2C companies that are similar to yours and have successfully executed a content marketing program to get an estimate.
2. Look at surveys or existing research
Surveys conducted with an extensive range of companies can give you a good estimate of the content marketing potential with stats.
For instance, when MarketingSherpa conducted extensive surveys, they found average rates of conversions in their key metrics.
The metrics included all forms, from simple to multiple-item forms, to qualify prospective clients into actual buyers or to retain one-time buyers. The company also broke down the estimated conversion rates by industry type. These figures can give you an estimated percentage of people who visit your blog that will convert.
Conversions are crucial as they can point out how content marketing will drive sales. You can add the conversion percentages to the expected traffic for the period you want to calculate to get estimated revenue.
Another example is this survey from SEMrush:
SEMrush conducted a survey with over 1,500 marketing agencies, B2B organizations, and B2C companies and was able to uncover key content marketing statistics.
3. Estimate your costs
Estimating your content marketing costs can give you great insight into whether or not you are paying too much or too little for your content marketing.
Make sure to add up all your potential expenditure and balance those against your projected results. It will give you a realistic estimate of your predictable ROI.
Key Content Marketing Metrics to Track
1. Lead Quality
Lead quality is an important metric to determine if your content marketing campaign was successful. Success, in this case, means generating qualified leads interested in your company and its products or services.
Lead quality is impacted by:
- The execution of the marketing campaign
- People’s receptivity to the message (which can vary depending on the individual)
- Timing of when prospects find your content
- How prospects respond to it
That said, the overall goal is to convert as many readers into leads that you can nurture into sales down the line.
Many businesses integrate email marketing with content marketing, as email is a great platform to expand your content marketing efforts. Integrating them has the potential to increase shares, expand your audience pool, and garner high-quality leads.
For instance, you can send email surveys to learn about the content preferences of your subscribers.
Here’s an example of a welcome email sent by Refind asking their subscribers for their preferences to supply them with relevant content.
Thus, it is also vital to use email marketing tools in tandem with content marketing to measure the ROI.
To a large extent, it is true that sales rates are one of the most important metrics to your content marketing success.
Sales are going to be the sole reason for your revenue. Thus, the sales rate formula provides you with the information you need to know if the content that you are creating is meeting the objectives or goals that you have put in place for your business.
A content marketer’s ultimate goal is traffic — traffic that leads to business sales and customer acquisition.
Organic traffic to your site is an indispensable content marketing metric. It represents the number of people who visit your site naturally from regular web searches. The higher the number, the bigger your audience and the stronger your content marketing effort.
Google Analytics is one of the best free analytics tools to determine your site’s traffic. What’s more, it helps you narrow down your metrics and filter them by source, device, unique pageviews, etc.
You can also leverage paid tools like Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics, HubSpot, and more.
4. Onsite Engagement
Whether you’re a startup or a Fortune 500 company, knowing what content resonates with your audience is key to your content marketing success.
Measuring success comes down to how engaged visitors are with your content (specifically, onsite engagement). To find the most engaging content for your website, you need to measure which pieces of content to create next.
You want your visitors to linger and interact with the content on your pages. There are many metrics you can track and analyze to measure onsite customer engagement, such as bounce rate, conversions, etc.
Understanding how each of these metrics work allows you to establish benchmarks and predict conversion rates for different landing pages.
5. Social Media ROI
Social media ROI is the key content marketing metric for measuring your brand, success, and growth on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest.
Depending on the type of business that you run, social media ROI could significantly impact the way you do online content marketing.
Businesses that offer physical products or services can measure their return on investment by measuring their social media conversions and bounce rates. In other words, companies can examine how many sales they make from visitors who originated from social media channels.
6. SEO Growth
Return On Investment (ROI) is the key content marketing metric, and SEO Growth ROI is a subset of this metric.
SEO growth means increased traffic, leads, and sales that result from your content marketing activity or campaign.
Make sure to implement this SEO growth checklist for the best results:
- Add relevant internal and external links
- Write meta descriptions
- Optimize your images and add alt text
- Use H1, H2, H3 tags and titles
- Do keyword research and placement
- And more!
Factors that Affect Content Marketing ROI
1. Your brand’s reputation
People say that there are three things that you can’t recover from: death, taxes, and a bad online reputation.
You would not look for a restaurant serving unpalatable dishes. You take a look at reviews and compare them to what you’re looking for, maybe even asking your friends if they have had any great experiences with the place before you make a decision.
Content marketing isn’t any different.
How your brand is perceived by the public and customers is strategically important to your content marketing efforts.
When you think of digital marketing tips, the first names that most likely come to your mind are names like HubSpot, Ahrefs, Neil Patel, and the like. The single most reason? You trust these blogs and know you’re going to learn a lot from their posts. And that’s what the brand reputation is all about.
One of the best ways to build an online reputation is by providing valuable content to help your customers. If your website promotes trustworthy information, you’re more likely to build trust with readers and generate leads.
Also, make sure you avoid using forbidden words in your content that may give red signals to your readers and target audience. Some examples are “stuff,” “very,” clickbaity words, jargon, etc.
Another way to build brand reputation is by encouraging your customers to provide testimonials or leave comments on your social media posts.
Look at this example below:
Testimonials and comments like this will instantly invoke customer loyalty and build your brand’s reputation.
2. Long-term online growth
Marketers always talk about their campaigns and goals in the short term. However, if you focus on the long-term, your marketing can put you on an autonomous, but stepwise, path towards online growth.
Content marketing takes several months to start seeing significant results, depending on factors such as business model, goals and strategies, and industry and market. But given time and with the right strategies, you will see positive results.
Take Capgemini’s content marketing strategy, for instance. Their strategy involved converting site content into a storytelling format to provide knowledge and offer solutions to their target audience’s queries on technology-based topics.
These marketing efforts helped them attract 1 million new visitors in the initial year. The company generated almost $1 million in sales and $5 million in the subsequent year.
The company currently generates approximately $20 million in sales in a year with its content marketing strategy. It took years to see their campaign results, but it is worth the time and effort.
3. Attracting quality partnerships
An important factor affecting content marketing ROI is collaborating with the right influencers and brands. As per a study, 89% of marketers say that influencer marketing ROI is better and comparable to other channels.
This makes influencer marketing one of the most effective small business marketing strategies.
Here’s an example that validates the point. Walgreens Photo Center collaborated with Lifestyle influencers to generate superior quality photos of their experiences with the company within their blog posts.
The company hosted a giveaway and posted content on their social channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. They also used the branded hashtag #ShareLifesHappy.
As a result, Walgreens Photo Center saw a 40% increase in page views, a 10.5% increase in website visits, and 6.1 million impressions.
Your Turn to Boost and Measure Content Marketing ROI
So, it should be clear by now that to understand your content marketing ROI, you need to know the pillars of content marketing (reach, engagement, and conversion). Without this foundation, you can't go about truly measuring your content marketing ROI.