The truth is that most marketers and business owners have zero clue on how to measure content marketing’s ROI. We don’t blame you and we actually get asked a lot about the ROI on content marketing with all of our clients.
With Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, you can set how much you’re willing to pay for each click, see how many clicks an ad attracts, and calculate the conversion rate into sign-ups or sales. It’s easy to set a marketing budget when you know that every dollar spent turns into a certain amount of revenue over the course of a month due to these set conversion rates.
Content marketing is a long-term investment in recurring visitors over time rather than purchasing individual visitors on a per-click basis.
It can take several months for a content marketing campaign to rank well in search engines and begin producing consistent results. And it might take even longer to build enough credibility with your target audience to drive true engagement and ultimately become an authority within your niche market.
The upside is that content marketing is a great way to produce both tangible and intangible benefits over the long-term.
Measuring organic traffic, engagement, and lead conversion rates provide tangible evidence of success, while also building rapport with potential customers that may buy through another channel and strengthening relationships with existing customers to reduce churn rates and encourage repeat purchases.
In this post, we will take a look a quick look at some of the different ways you can measure your content marketing’s ROI.
Measuring the engagement of your content
Engagement is one of the most important factors that you need to consider when looking into the ROI of your content. If a reader doesn’t find value in what you’ve written, then you’re unlikely to make a positive impression, capture a lead, or make a sale.
The most common metrics used for measuring engagement are:
- Page Views – Most people default to page views as a measure of engagement, but in reality, it’s hard to measure engagement with just page views. For example, a company could be producing clickbaity titles that will generate page views, but those aren’t high quality content and it won’t help you make the sale.
- Time on Page – Time on page is a slightly better measure of engagement than page views, but it can be skewed quite a bit due to bounce time. If a visitor clicks through and leaves within the bounce time, the visit is not factored into the time on page calculation in most analytics providers. Time on page calculations may also be skewed by readers that open multiple tabs or walk away from their computer.
- Social Sharing – Social sharing is another commonly used engagement metric since it stands to reason that people only share content that they enjoy. But, several studieshave shown this to be false. There are many people that share content that they haven’t even read for a variety of different reasons.
The two best metrics for measuring engagement are:
- Scroll Depth – Scroll depth is one of the best metrics to measure engagement. If readers reach the end of your post, the odds are that they’ve found your content helpful in some way. There are several WordPress plugins and Google Analytics add-ons to capture this data and make it intuitive to analyze for insights. Crazy Egg’s heat maps are another tool that tells you scroll depth and a lot more information.
- Moderated Comments – Comments are another way to measure engagement, as long as anti-spam efforts are in place to prevent automated comments. People usually don’t take the time to comment on something unless they have read it and are interested in it – a conversation in the comments suggests that the content was meaningful. Disqus is a great tool for easily adding comments to a website and moderating them.
Most content marketing relies on search engines like Google or Bing to drive consistent long term traffic. While social media and email marketing can deliver quick hits, search engines produce the long-term traffic that really drives return on investment.
Google Analytics has become the most popular platform to track website traffic and engagement. But unfortunately, anyone that has used Google Analytics to track organic traffic has experienced the “not provided” issue. Google search users that are logged in are protected by SSL, which means that their referrer data is hidden from publishers. This makes it difficult to calculate the ROI for specific keywords in organic search.
The easiest way to get around this problem is to use Google Webmaster Tools, which provides search query information in the Search Traffic menu under Search Analytics. The tool shows you how many clicks you’ve received from search, how many impressions the term has received, the click-through rate, and even the search position. You can even download this data for analysis in Microsoft Excel or other statistical applications.
There are also many third-party analytics providers that specialize in unlocking this data. For example, SEMRush provides an Organic Search Insights tool that lets you see organic traffic insights and get past the “not provided” message on Google Analytics.
Tracking results from downloads
The final step is tracking leads and sales that come from content marketing. Even if a piece of content is highly engaging, it’s not worth much to the publisher if it doesn’t produce results. Effective content marketing relies on a balance between engaging content and compelling offers to drive leads that can then be converted into sales over time. As a result, it’s just as important to track these conversion rates as your organic traffic – if not more so!
There are many different ways to track leads and sales:
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics has built-in conversion tracking features that can be found under the Conversions menu item. By setting up Goals, you can measure how well your content fulfills objectives ranging from signing up for a newsletter to making a purchase to registering for a software-as-a-service app.
- Opt-in Providers –There are many different companies that provide opt-in strategies for online publishers as well as the conversion rates. For example, OptinMonsterprovides a full suite of pop-ups, slide-ins, and in-line offers for content and provides detailed analytics covering the conversion rates and sign-ups.
If you’re looking for a simple way to create offers, the Content Upgrades WordPress Plugin provides a streamlined way to create content upgrades, insert them into blog posts, and automatically send them to people. It integrates seamlessly with MailChimp, Drip, ConvertKit, Zapier, and any platform that supports CSV file formats.
Content marketing is a long-term effort with many layers. Many publishers only look at page views when considering performance, but these are vanity metrics that mean very little in terms of return on investment. It’s better to consider track search engine rankings, scroll depth, comments, and lead/sale conversions to get a better idea of where you stand.
If you’re interested in content marketing, SumoDash can help you scale up! Reach out to us anytime either through the chat widget on the right or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org