It is easy to misunderstand content marketing’s direct ROI as a less profitable strategy than other strategies.
Consider paid search as an example. When you put money in, the sales will come out. It is simple to track, forecast and prove the direct return. Content marketing is not straightforward, so its profitability is often overlooked.
According to Hubspot’s annual round-up of Content Marketing statistics in 2019, marketers who prioritized content marketing in 2019 were 13x more likely to experience positive ROI. 70% of marketers invest in content marketing. Not doing so could leave you behind your competitors.
How to report on the content marketing ROI
1. Identifying the KPIs that indicate ROI in your content marketing strategy
A common mistake in content reporting is to view it through the same success metrics that other channels do.
If you are reporting on low-funnel channels such as paid search, it is sensible to immediately focus on inquiries (lead generation), or online revenue (eCommerce). This way of reporting on content completely ignores the important role it plays in the user’s journey. This puts a short-term focus on a huge long-term opportunity.
While it is important to include big-picture conversions in content reporting, you should also take into account the micro-conversions that contribute to those end goal numbers. Consider the steps a user might take to reach that final conversion.
These are often overlooked but crucial indicators of content marketing performance.
- Increasing site visits You must know that people are reading what you post. Begin by checking impressions in Google Search Console. This is influenced by strong keyword rankings. You can also include pageviews, users, and sessions from Google Analytics. It’s especially important to see if your content drives new users to your site. This is a sign that content plays a role in expanding the internet.
- Growing your potential remarketing audience If you’re able to convince a user to visit the site with a content piece, then you can use other channels to convert them over time. You can, for example, use a content piece that encourages email sign-ups to be its main CTA. This will allow you to send follow-up emails to push them to convert when it’s convenient.
- Driving customer interaction with your brand If your content drives a strong time-on-page, good scroll rate, and embedded link interactions, it is most likely doing its job. Search engines love to rank content that is based on these “soft” metrics. These metrics are crucial early indicators that your ROI-focused strategy is on the right track, even though they may not seem important.
2. Set up performance dashboards for content marketing
One limitation of content marketing reporting is the inability of out-of-the-box data analysis tools such as Google Analytics to prove content’s value.
Content isn’t a standalone tactic. Content is a tool that can be used to improve the performance of every channel. Paid ads, for example, will perform better when they are fueled by multi-channel content. Last-click attribution models are less likely to credit conversion credit with direct or paid traffic sources. This is because they are the ones that push customers over the finish line.
It can also be difficult to link the content performance metrics and the conversion data in GA.
To get to the heart of your content marketing performance, we recommend creating customized dashboards and reports.
This is the best way for all of your content marketing metrics to be in one place. This is also a great way to get very granular with your reporting by setting up filters and customizing metrics that reflect the content marketing work you are doing.
Top Tips for Creating Content Performance Dashboards:
- Choose the metrics that are most important to each piece of content. You can create custom reports/pages to reflect the goals and outcomes of particular content projects.
- Use filters to classify content. By creating custom categories that group content by author, topic, objectives, or completed optimizations you can focus on what works and what does not. This can be done in Data Studio by using custom Dimension Fields.
- Integrate Google Search Console Data. Not just Google Analytics. It is equally important to understand what happens before users visit your website. For demonstrating visibility trends over time, you can add Search Console metrics to your dashboard like click-through rates and impressions for target keywords and pages.
How to predict the impact of content marketing
You will want to know the expected results of different strategies if you’re looking to invest in ROI-focused Marketing. It is often difficult to predict the impact of content marketing, so strategies can sometimes fail at this hurdle. It is possible.
Predicting the content marketing outcome is as simple as determining what you want and then breaking it down step by step.
This is best explained by a hypothetical example. As an example, let’s take a lead generation company that wants to increase bookings for their event space. They make their revenue from bookings so this will eventually prove to be ROI.
Step 1: is to determine the content benchmarks.
The current benchmark is that content pieces drove over 2,500 users to their site in the past year. 25 of those users made a booking (1%), which is equivalent to PS1,500 per booking. (PS37,000,500). Search Console shows that these content pieces had an organic click-through rate of 1.3% from more than 192,000 impressions.
Step 2: Identify the gaps that your content project needs to fill.
Take, for example:
A. CTA-focused solutions aim to increase booking rates by doubling them to 2%. This will result in 25 additional bookings, which will generate an additional PS37,000.
B. Proposed metadata optimizations will increase click-through rates to 2%. This will drive 3,840 visits instead of 2,500, and 38 inquiries, which generates an additional PS19.500.
C. New content would increase impressions by 250,000, clicks by 3,250, and inquiries by 32. This would result in PS10,500 more revenue.