There is a business and strategic reason behind the love that players in marketing have for content marketing as a whole.
Costing 62% less than traditional marketing models is one reason to look the way of content marketing. It supports that by generating 3 times more leads even though it did not cost as much.
That is a nice ROI model that no one should ignore at all. Maybe that is why even big brands like Coca Cola throw more funds behind content marketing than they do for traditional advertising.
Unfortunately, not all content marketers know to look out well for their ROI. When you do not know what to look for, you cannot boost it either.
This piece might be about boosting the impact of content marketing ROI, but it won’t help one bit if we do not know what is being analyzed.
How to Measure Content Marketing ROI
It is estimated that about 47% of B2B marketers do not measure ROI from their content marketing efforts. We do not know who those guys are, but we bet that it would be difficult to convince their top management to commit more support to the marketing department.
Their problem is not that they are not getting results. In fact, they can be helping to boost business and sales massively. Without the numbers to show for it, though, all that good work could as well be attributed to another department.
This is one of the many reasons why the marketing department does not get the thanks that it deserves. That should not happen on your watch.
Before you can get people to take any action at all, you need access to them. That is the first thing to measure in your content marketing.
Every piece of published content should be analyzed for how many people it has reached. Fortunately, you can get in-depth insights on that from free tools like Google Analytics.
This content reach is not analyzed in isolation, either. Marketers should keep an eye out for:
- Bounce rate – defines the relevance of your topic to your audience. It also explains the relevance of the body of content to the topic. The higher the bounce rate, the more you have to do something on that content.
- User demographics – the Google Analytics tool does not only tell you how many users came to your website. It also gives you an overview of where they were from. An understanding of where most of your audience is based allows you to cater to them better.
- Platform – did the readers access your website on mobile or desktop? More traffic is coming from mobile these days, but it doesn’t help to assume either. It is better to have hard facts supporting this instead.
- Average duration – how long are readers spending on your page? If not long enough, you might need to improve the depth, mode of delivery or packaging of your content to better suit the target audience.
- Actions – some marketers track comments as part of their actions. We have read publications that we loved and didn’t comment on, and we know a lot of people are doing so too. Instead, track actionable metrics like clicks, downloads (of lead magnets, etc.), and such.
Some of your content marketing could lead the prospective visitors into exchanging their information for a lead magnet.
Depending on your industry and offering, that lead magnet must have some quality behind it to be convincing at all. That makes this metric a pretty obvious one.
Already, the ultimate goal of the content is to get readers into the sales funnel which you have designed for them. We want to believe that the sales funnel has been optimized to take care of the buyer from the start of their journey to when it ends.
A common mistake that most content marketers make here is going with the bare numbers alone. There is no better way to leave too much money on the table than this.
Rather than celebrating getting 100 new leads, check the ratio that made that happen. Having a hundred leads from 200 visitors is decent – but it is ugly if you are getting that from 20,000 visitors. It means that something is wrong somewhere.
We would be lying if we said that we could put a direct dollar value on the social media shares that your content gets. What we can assure you, though, is that all those shares will expose you to a new audience that you might not have been able to reach by yourself.
That makes organic sharing a very reliable ROI measurement too.
When people see something that they believe is of value, they share it without incentive. These readers want to believe that they are also helping others to discover great content. That is why you should take note of the shares which your content is getting.
Some tips to ensure better sharing results in your ROI report includes:
- Going long – the articles that get the most shares start from about 3,000 words of content.
- Be visual – posts with images get a lot of views. That trickles down into their share count too. Infographics also happen to be the most shared of all visual types
- Stay original – Content with original research get millions upon millions of shares on Facebook. Considering the reach of this social media behemoth, we can say that this data holds water
At the end of the day, every brand will want to see some solid numbers.
Website engagement is great, SEO placement is awesome. We also love to see some solid reach and an uptick in the generated leads. None of these will pay the bills though.
Sorry, but that is just the way that it is.
Thus, always keep the sales in your sights when measuring your content marketing ROI.
For a more comprehensive result, you need to keep accounts since the beginning of the content marketing campaign. Here, track:
- All the costs involved in creating the content – Even if the content was created in-house. That includes video, graphics, research, and other related costs
- The costs involved in distributing the content – spending involved in promoting content, getting influencers, running ads, hosting landing pages, etc.
- Leads generated – how many leads came in via the content marketing campaign
- Lead conversion – how many of the leads followed through to the end of the buying process?
The proceeds from the leads can be compared against the amount spent to get them in. Such sales figures provide a tangible ROI result for top management.
Boosting your Content Marketing ROI
Reading through the Stratabeat content marketing report is as interesting as it is eye-opening. While some marketers focus on advertisements, 80% of business buyers and decision-makers prefer organic content. They believe that such content is more representative of the business than their ads are.
An overwhelming 95% of B2B buyers also trust content, above all else, when considering dealing with a firm or not.
All that points to the importance of content marketing in your strategy. Not any kind of content marketing either, but effective ones.
Letting the numbers lead, below are some effective tactics to get you there.
Go for Depth
Any content that you put out for your readers should be their last stop. If the reader has to go elsewhere to know more about what you are talking about, you have started bleeding your traffic to other sources.
To create something with depth is to go all-in with every piece of content you are fleshing out.
Explore all angles and bring them to the reader. Leverage internal and external linking to provide access to resources that cannot fit within the scope of your content at that time.
Content with more depth also means more words. Besides positioning you as an authority in the eyes of a search engine, it also means that you get more shares. This has already been covered in part in the section above.
Buyers are getting more sophisticated by the day. When catering to B2B buyers, that level of sophistication is taken up a couple of notches.
These are buyers that want to be sure that they are getting the best value for their money. This does not have anything to do with price, as these buyers will happily pay a premium for something that gives them peace of mind.
The only problem is that your product itself will not tell the buyers how amazing it is. This is where staged content comes in.
48% of marketers support their buyers through at least three stages of the buyer journey. You do not just bring in the leads and let them figure things out for themselves. Go the extra mile of helping the find all the resources that they need before they even know that they need such.
Your content marketing strategy should not be mapped around selling alone. It should include informational content that is only there to add more value to the buyer, and nothing more.
When these potential buyers have such support all along the way, they are encouraged to take the next step. With every step, you are getting them closer to taking out their wallets.
We hate to see marketers put a lot of effort into content research, only to create just one product from such research.
Spending enough time in the market research niche has shown us that effective surveys and researches are no child’s play. That is why we do not understand marketers calling it quits after getting the first content out.
As of the time of this writing, up to 60% of marketers are reusing already-published content. The frequency of usage is pegged somewhere between two and five.
Don’t get us wrong. This is not a call to plagiarize yourself. It is, rather, a charge to get the most juice out of your content research efforts.
We have created a detailed guide on content repurposing to take your content marketing to the next level that you should check out today.
How do you even know if you are getting better or poorer without a benchmark?
Tracking your content marketing stats is not for the sake of reporting to the top management alone. The data from every campaign allows you to devise better strategies for even better success in the short and long term.
The section above mentions the general metrics to keep an eye on. We have also expanded on how these impact the ROI.
An understanding of what is happening – by the numbers – and why they are happening also is important here. It gives you all of the insight you need to launch something better later. Living in the moment, real-time data also allows you to stay agile and innovate along the way.
Little wonder 61% of marketers have stated that their ability to measure and analyze such marketing impacts is a top priority for them.
Data and Strategy
CMI reports that 60% of the most effective B2C marketers work with a documented content strategy. The keyword there is effective.
Conversely, DMA found that the biggest challenges for content marketing are lack of data and strategy – as reported by 27% and 28% of respondents respectively.
These reports might be from different entities and using different sample spaces, but they tell the same story.
Getting better ROI from your content marketing is synonymous with having a documented strategy. With one, there is a directional flow to making things happen rather than just taking them as they come. You can also quite easily see where things are going wrong to fix them, paving the way for an even better strategy.
When 51% of all content consumption comes from organic search traffic, you know that you should be working on your SEO. Add to the fact that 95% of people only look at the first page of search results, optimizing for SEO becomes even more important.
We can argue that it is worth focusing on the other 49% that does not come from organic search traffic too. That is true.
Understanding that a large percentage of that 49% initially discovered your content organically before returning directly further reinforces our position. SEO is just too important to be left on the table.
Pro Tip: SEO is not just about getting the keywords and stuffing them into your piece. You need to also understand your target market, optimize your platform for good user experience, and keep a healthy website, among other things.
Optimize for Mobile
Last, but not the least, is the focus on mobile.
You have been hearing about the importance of mobile platforms for a while now. How serious are these concerns anyways?
We could go on, but you get the drift already.
People are increasingly mobile these days. Your target audience is made up of these people. They want content that they can consume on-the-go, and fast too. Serve that to them and you suddenly have a more special place in their hearts.
Get Started Today
Time is of the essence in the content marketing niche.
Get started on implementing these tips today. Find out where you might be lagging and plug the leaks. Make sure to have/ develop a documented strategy that allows you to keep track of all you have done – and are doing.
In no time, you should have a better ROI package to look at and report – no matter how you internally define ROI
- 53% – mobile users that will leave your site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds. Max.
- 57% – mobile users that won’t recommend your business, just because your mobile website isn’t well designed
- 125% – the growth rate that could be enjoyed from mobile traffic. Desktop stands at just 12%