There’s a lot of clamor about content marketers not effectively measuring ROI, not focusing on measuring ROI, or simply not caring about measuring ROI. But it should be your top priority.
It’s true that content marketing produces three times more leads per dollar compared to other strategies. However, that’s assuming your content marketing efforts are hitting the right target with the right message. The only way to verify your content’s success is to measure.
So how do you do that? Let’s walk through the four main steps for measuring content marketing ROI — from the time you publish to the moment you start closing sales.
You won’t be able to gauge the success of your content marketing efforts unless you have the right tools in place. Whether it’s Google Analytics, HubSpot, or another marketing automation software with built-in analytics, you’ll need some way to distinguish where your traffic is coming from and what visitors are doing on your site.
Google Analytics is the simplest tool for beginners. You can run Google Analytics by copying and pasting a tracking code onto the global header of your site.
If you’re using Google Analytics, you should also set up conversion goals — this is crucial if you want to tie your content to a monetary value.
With HubSpot and other marketing automation platforms, the analytics information is typically built right in. However, many of them require you to build on that platform directly (similar to WordPress).
Once you have your analytics tool of choice up and running, it’s time to get your first piece of content out the door.
Having analytics-tracking capabilities doesn’t make a difference unless your links can be tracked from off-site to on-site content. With most guest posting situations, you can see the exact page someone used to get to your website, whether it’s an article you wrote on Forbes or an interview you did for IdeaMensch. You can simply include a link to your site when you create this content — no additional tracking necessary — and your analytics software will handle the rest.
However, there are a few instances when having a tracking URL leading back to your site is vital. These are basically links with additional bits of data that tell your analytics platform exactly how a person found your site. PPC Hero offers a great guide for using tracking URLs. Specifically, you’ll want to set them up for the following situations:
You’ve installed your analytics tools, set up the links to your site, and published your content somewhere on the web. Now it’s time to see how your content is impacting traffic and, ultimately, sales. So what should an inbound marketer be measuring?
Remember: Just because someone converted from organic search or email marketing doesn’t mean your content didn’t have a hand in the sales process. You can use most marketing automation software to see how the buyer’s journey played out for individual customers. It doesn’t get as granular in Google Analytics, but the multichannel funnels overview tool allows you to set a timeframe (30 days, for example), and Google Analytics will look back to see whether referral traffic or one of your content campaigns played a role in the conversion you’ve set up in your account. This helps you factor in an article’s indirect impact on sales.
Now that you can track the sales coming from your content marketing efforts, you need to assign a dollar value to the content you produce. We calculate content marketing ROI like this:
Whew. You made it! At Influence & Co., we worked through this guide, and our content ROI was 474 percent in Q1 of 2015. What’s yours? What do you think of this guide? I’d love to know in the comments section below.