Most businesses don’t really have a specific budget for digital content marketing but the overall spent on digital content marketing is often significant. So it’s important to measure the impact and return on investment using content marketing metrics and KPIs.
found 28% of in-house marketers spend more than £100,000 (approx. 150,000 USD or 116,000 EUR) annually on content marketing.
17% of respondents allocate over half their marketing budget to digital content marketing tactics and strategies (the reason there is often no dedicated content marketing spent is that content marketing is an umbrella term).
If organizations spend such amounts on content marketing, it’s obvious they should monitor the return of these investments. Calculating content marketing ROI is done in a very similar way as calculating overall marketing ROI. In order to measure returns, depth of engagement and ROI, you need several digital content marketing metrics and KPIs.
Digital content marketing metrics
In order to know the return of your content marketing efforts, you can focus on several KPIs and metrics, depending on your goals. Some intermediary KPIs and metrics will indicate if your content is engaging enough while others look at the real ROI.
Essentially we can group several content marketing metrics and KPIs as follows:
- Content consumption metrics
- Content sharing metrics
- Lead generation metrics
- Sales metrics
- Content marketing ROI.
Let’s take a look at those FIVE groups,
As you know you’re a bit of a publisher as a content marketer. And a publisher wants to know if his content to be viewed and read from the targeted audience.
If it’s not read or ‘consumed’, you can’t achieve the desired goals. Why are you writing or creating other forms of content anyway? Is what you doing engaging enough for your target audiences?
Some basic content consumption metrics
- Page views: these are typically measured with web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics and in some cases by the social platforms insights.
- Video views: most video hosting platforms can tell you how much viewers your video has reached. The better ones will make a distinction between viewers who started viewing your videos plus the number of viewers who watched your videos until the end. If many people start watching your video but don’t view it completely, then maybe the video is not dynamic enough or simply too long.
- Document views: this is typically used for online presentations or eBooks and white papers that are shared with platforms such as SlideShare, Scribd or Prezi for example. How many viewers viewed your presentation/eBook (and how many embeds are there?).
- Downloads: How many website visitors have downloaded your white paper, eBook? Most analytics programs will give you the tools to measure this and if you use form tools or marketing automation software, to name just two, you obviously get more insights.
Of course, there are more than these four content consumption metrics and KPIs. for example ‘pages/visit’ or ‘returning visitors’ but the four mentioned are among the most qualitative ones to measure pure consumption.
Digital Content sharing metrics
“Depth of engagement can be measured by activity levels – how much of your content prospects view and interact with across each buying stage”
When you have relevant and engaging content, people will share it. This way the reach of the content is extended organically. It’s part of what we could call the ‘new link building’ with a personal and additional social dimension.
Some Digital content sharing metrics
- Likes, shares, tweets, retweets: these are the classic social sharing metrics as they are used in social media. But let’s be clear, just like the content consumption metrics they aren’t your desired goals. Social shares, the number of Facebook fans or your Twitter following doesn’t bring you revenue. It is just an indication that your content is relevant and share-worthy for your audiences and their audiences.
- Inbound links: how many other sites are linking to your content? This is also an indicator of how your content gets spread and shared. It’s important for your link building strategy but also a token of relevance, especially if the links come from sources that are relevant to your goals and target audiences. In this regard, you can also take into account embeds, pins for visual content, how often the content gets curated and much more.
lead generation metrics and KPIs
Content marketing is about attracting, engaging, identifying, nurturing and converting leads (and servicing them once they are customers).
So, lead generation metrics are certainly important and even more so in B2B. How many leads did you get using content marketing tactics? How many have been turned into opportunities?…etc.
Some lead generation metrics and KPIs
- Filled out contact forms: On top of using contact form tools or marketing automation software, you can also set up form metrics in your Google Analytics (or other web analytics) account and depending on your backend data can be collected into your CRM software.
- Subscriptions and registrations: this approach is similar to the contact forms. Track your newsletter subscribers, the people who signed up for demos. Identify the real leads among these prospects.
- RSS subscribers: although this is more an indication of people liking your content, you can use RSS feeds to identify prospects, especially if you track them with email options using tools like Feedburner, that provide you more stats as well.
- Blog and Social comments: it’s important to follow up on these, as with blog comments you have an opportunity to start a conversation. This is good for community purposes and interaction and to identify potential leads.
The digital content's impact on sales
Depending on your organization, the integration of marketing and customer platforms and the way you have closed the gap between marketing and sales can be easy or difficult.
If you sell online, it’s obviously easier than in the case of other sales channels. When you sell online, using your multi-channel reports in Google Analytics, for instance, will give you a clear goal on which tactics worked best for conversions and actual sales.
In the case of offline sales and more complex buying journeys, you need to have more tools and processes to be able to attribute the buy (or conversion).
If you use content marketing as a way to improve branding (often in B2C if there are no online sales) you need to evaluate the impact of your content marketing efforts on branding and the impact of branding on sales.
Calculating content marketing ROI
The C-suite is really interested in the ROI of your marketing investments, including content marketing. The C-level doesn’t care about the number of blog readers, shares, page views, subscriptions or even suspects. They care about revenue, profit, and hot leads.
Marketing ROI is increasingly used and required by management so it’s crucial to have a good view on the return of your content marketing investments (and all other marketing investments). You need to prove it’s worth the money.
Although calculating marketing ROI can be a really intensive process, you can work on some micro-levels, for instance, blogging or social media ROI. Hopefully, these examples of content marketing metrics help you getting started.!