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Measuring Content Marketing ROI: The Complete Guide

When you consider the resources you invest in content marketing, you want to make sure your work is paying off. Ideally, your marketing campaigns should bring in more money than you spend. It’s not worth your time and money to invest in strategies and campaigns that aren’t working.

Tracking the success of your content marketing is an essential part of your campaign. Knowing where to start is another story, because you have so much data available to you. Stop wondering and implement these best practices for tracking content marketing ROI to identify where you should be promoting your content. You’ll also discover which strategies to repeat and which to retire.

Choose the Right Metrics

You have plenty of metrics to choose from to monitor your campaign’s performance. The key is to find the right metrics the ones that give you the information you need. Tracking too many metrics produces more data than you can sort through. Tracking too few metrics may not give you the insight you need to monitor the campaign’s success. 

The following metrics should be at the top of your list, according to Search Engine Watch:

1. Web Traffic

Web traffic refers to the traffic patterns on your website. This metric helps you determine what brings visitors to the site and what content is most popular with them. 

  • Overall web traffic: the number of visitors to the site
  • Sources of traffic: where visitors learn about your site
  • Views per page: how many visitors check out each page

The data you gather from these metrics can help you decide the next steps in your campaign. If overall traffic to your website is low, you may need to promote your content more. Or it may be time to change your content or find new places to promote it.


2. Qualified Leads

An impressive amount of website traffic doesn’t mean much if that traffic doesn’t have many qualified leads. You want people who are interested in making a purchase.

To track the number of qualified leads your marketing generates, look at the following:

  • The number of white paper request forms visitors complete
  • The number of content downloads
  • The number of purchases completed

Each of these actions indicates interest in what you have to offer. You want to know how interested visitors found your site. One way to do this is to assign each referral source a unique code.


3. Sales Volume

The ultimate goal of your marketing campaign is to generate sales by turning leads into customers. Your sales volume is an indication of how well you’re reaching the people most likely to complete a sale.

To track sales volume, look at these details:

  • Conversion rate: what percentage of visitors are purchasing something from you
  • Number of transactions: how many purchases customers are making
  • Page value: which pages on your site are generating the most sales
  • Time to purchase: how long it takes visitors to purchase something

If your marketing efforts aren’t bringing in qualified leads and sales, you’re likely not seeing a positive return on your investment. This is a sign that you need to reevaluate your strategy.


4. Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate refers to the number of visitors who click on specific links. For example, you may want to find out how many people who arrive at your landing page click on a link to view your products page. Or maybe you want to know how many people click to read a specific blog post or article. 


5. Social Media Shares

Social media activity can be a powerful indicator of how your content resonates with your audience. When someone likes a post, shares a link to your blog post or reposts your content on social media platforms, they are approving your content. This helps you determine the types of content that your audience is most interested in.


6. Onsite Engagement

Monitoring how visitors interact with your content lets you see the types of content they’re most interested in. It also offers a glimpse into the quality of the content you’re producing. Note the bounce rate (the number of visitors who do nothing on your site before leaving) and how much time visitors spend on each page they visit.

Set Goals

Your marketing campaign should start with goal-setting to identify what you want the campaign to accomplish. The goals establish a direction for the campaign and give you benchmarks for determining what is and is not working. One popular method for goal-setting is the SMART goal framework. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Assign Each Goal a KPI

You monitor metrics. You create goals. You also need to define those goals with key performance indicators that help you determine how likely you are to meet your goals. Key performance indicators are specific to your business.

Say, for example, you want to increase the number of qualified leads visiting your website. The metrics you will track include the sources of your website traffic and the number of people who share your social media posts. In this case, your KPI may be to post twice as often on the social media platforms that are generating qualified leads.

Test Your Options

Ultimately, each marketing campaign is a test — a test to find out what resonates with your audience and how you can connect with them. To figure out what works, you have to do further testing and be open to letting your campaign evolve. Start by mapping out your options. You could test any of the following:

  • Wording for your ad copy
  • Design of your landing page
  • Language in the call to action
  • Location of the click-through buttons
  • Social media platforms where you post

Be on the lookout for the language, design and locations where your content is most effective.

Use Software

Your marketing campaign can bring in an impressive amount of data. In fact, you don’t have the personnel or time to sort through it all manually. That’s where data analysis software comes in. It streamlines the process by sorting the raw data into user-friendly dashboards.

Many of the most popular websites have software ready for you to use. Google Analytics offers insights into your website traffic, keywords and referral sources that send them there, and what visitors do on your site. Social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, provide data insights for pro users.