Measuring Return on Content Marketing Investments
The Content Marketing Goldrush has marketers far and wide investing in content marketing to grow their sales and ROI (Return On Investment). At the same time, others are wondering how to measure content marketing ROI in order to justify sustained or increased levels of content marketing investment.
Content Marketing for Awareness, Consideration and Conversions
Content marketing enables businesses to fill a conversion funnel by
- Building awareness of their brands, products and services
- Supporting offer consideration throughout the buyers buying journey
- Converting visitors to leads and sales
- Creating advocates of products/services/brands
Content marketing provides the mechanism to engage and interact with customers and potential customers in a unique and creative way. Yet, the question remains, how to measure content marketing ROI?
Check out the infographic below and the post that follows to learn about content marketing, why it’s beneficial and some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) used to measure its success.
Content Marketing to Building Awareness
Building awareness through content marketing means exposing people to a brand, product or service so that they become aware. Measuring awareness from content marketing includes:
- Higher ranking in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for relevant searches,
- Steady increase in a websites first time visitors, monitoring new vs. return visitors,
- Social metrics including tweets, likes, shares, follows, fans, +1s and more.
Why is Awareness important?
Awareness is important because:
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
- 75% of searchers do not move past the first page of the search results
- Quality content can increase the number of keywords that a website ranks for
Social media is an excellent content distributor. In fact, 15.1 million online consumers say they research via social media before making a purchases. In addition, 68% of consumers go to social networking sites to read product reviews. Building brand association to a trending topic can help drive awareness and traffic to a website.
Some tactics for building brand awareness
The following content marketing tactics have been used successfully to create brand/product/service awareness:
- Publishing blog posts
- Writing news articles and press releases
- Using social networks for content distribution and market engagement
Awareness Outcomes from Content Marketing
These content marketing tactics have been shown to yield awareness with positive measured through:
- Improved search engine rankings for searches relevant to a product/service/brand
- Increasing website visitors, particularly new versus returning visitors
- Increasing social audiences including fans, followers and connections
All of these outcomes can be measured and tracked using website analytics and reporting solutions such as the popular and free Google Analytics.
Content Marketing to Drive Consideration
To drive consideration of your product or service during the buyers buying process and comparison shopping, it is necessary to inspire your customers and potential customers to engage by reading, commenting, downloading, following, liking, sharing the content marketing assets invested in.
This can be accomplished by investing in creating content that is
- High quality in terms of depth and breadth, readability,
- Unique as in not plagiarized,
- Provides people information that they are actually looking for.
It’s best not to try to conquer a high competition search phrase with the first page of the search results dominated by high authority, well indexed sites unless you currently have a large, authoritative online presence with which to compete for page one placement.
How to Drive Consideration through Content Marketing
The following are excellent content marketing tactics to drive consideration:
- Category level page content,
- “Long tail” blog posts and news articles (like this one 🙂
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Industry glossary, for example, the eBiz ROI Internet marketing glossary
Metrics for Measuring Consideration Success
- Increased total page views,
- Longer visit duration as measured by average time on site,
- Lower bounce rate where bounce rate is defined as the # of visitors who visit only one page / # of visitors * 100,
- Social metrics (fans, followers, reach, engagement, +1s, shares, likes, views, subscribers, etc.)
Why is Consideration So Important?
Search engines rank content based on relevance as measured by many factors including:
- Time spent on site per user and whether users click back to the search results after a very short period of time,
- Amount and age (freshness) of pertinent, original content,
- Social mentions of site for social validation
- Sites with 300+ index pages, traffic increased by 236%
- Sites with 400-1000 indexed pages received 600% more leads
Trust and social media play a critical role in the buyers journey. 61% of consumers feels better about a company that delivers custom content and 65% of social media users learn about products and services through social media. Remember, for content marketing to have an impact during comparison shopping, it has to be discover-able and useful.
Consideration Outcomes from Content Marketing
When executed well, content marketing can lead to the following positive outcome during consideration and comparison shopping:
- Consumers armed with the information needed to make informed decisions,
- Favorable comparisons lead to winning business from the competition,
- Lower bounce rates means more pages and content are being consumed by more visitors,
- Social recommendations which can strongly influence a shopper during consideration,
- Building of brand trust.
Content Marketing to Drive Conversions and ROI
A conversion is typically when a customer purchases something as in an eCommerce sale or fills out a form to be contacted resulting in an opt-in lead with the potential to be nurtured into a qualified lead. The end results measuring the content creation cost and evaluating that against the value of the sales or a leads it generated.
Why Does Content Marketing Drive Conversions
Search engines support searches for specific products/services with 39% of customers coming from search engines. Social media amplifies word of mouth and typically grows organically over time, unlike PPC (Pay Per Click).
For example, 77% of B2C (Business to Consumer) businesses have acquired a customer through Facebook and 41% of B2B (Business to Business) have acquired a customer through Facebook. My experience is that visitors that come from Facebook are much more engaged in terms of lower bounce rates, higher average pages per visit and increased time on site.
Measuring Conversion Success
- Increased conversion rates as measured by sales and leads divided by visitors
- Track which content sources contribute the most to the conversion funnel
- Social media metrics (likes, shares, +1s, tweets, re-tweets, views, subscribers) and the amount of referral traffic from social networks
- Measure and compare subscriber versus non-subscriber behaviors
Conversion Outcomes from Content Marketing
Conversion outcomes from content marketing include increasing the number of sales and leads while being able to measure and evaluate which of the awareness, consideration and conversion tactics are delivering ROI. Measuring conversion outcomes provides businesses with a tremendous amount of marketing intelligence.
Content marketing is used to create awareness, inform consideration during comparison shopping and drive increased conversions. At each step of the process, content marketing tactics and effectiveness can be measuring using some of the KPIs mentioned in the infograhic and described above.
After the sale, clients share their experiences with others using review sites, blogs, social media, forums and community message boards. These discussions often reference content, which results in inbound links while positively impacting search and social awareness, using new content to continually replenish the funnel.