Want to hear something shocking?
Only 35 percent of B2B marketers measure content marketing ROI.
Seems off, doesn’t it? Especially since the vast majority (91 percent!) of B2B marketers have some sort of content strategy in place.
That remaining 65 percent of marketers don’t measure content ROI, or (even worse) aren’t sure if they do.
The fact of the matter is this: In order to justify the time and resources needed to produce high-quality content, marketers need to be able to measure content performance and effectively communicate success to the executive team.
For anyone who needs to step up their reporting game or wants to show why their content creation matters, this post is for you!
Hold Up: Let’s Talk About Goal Setting
Your team can look at 100 different metrics related to your latest blog post, new landing page, or recent email campaign, but they don’t really matter unless you have goals to measure performance against.
When goal-setting for your content marketing program, the most important piece is to set reasonable expectations. If you had 1,000 organic visits to your blog in 2017, can you reach 10,000 organic visits in 2018 without an increase in budget? Nothing is impossible, but let’s be realistic here…it probably won’t happen.
Focus on historical data to figure out what goals make sense given your budget and team bandwidth, whether it’s related to awareness, traffic, and/or lead generation. Even better, set these goals with your executive team to make sure you’re communicating success in a way that matters to them.
Now, onto the metrics to showcase content ROI:
1. Web Traffic by Source/Medium
For many content marketers, site traffic is a key metric come reporting time. That being said, there are a few different ways to look at traffic metrics. If you’re new to measuring content performance, use the Channel report to see where your blog traffic is coming from.
Are users reaching your content organically? Or are they being referred to your content from other sites (i.e., social)? Maybe most users navigate to your blog from a monthly email newsletter – whatever it is, understand how people actually get to your content.
You can also look more granularly at traffic metrics using the Source/Medium report in Analytics. Maybe your team has put emphasis on optimizing content for search – take a look at organic traffic compared month-over-month or year-over-year to measure success.
If the focus has instead been on social distribution of content, look at how referral traffic has improved over time and/or which channels bring the most users to your site.
- Tools to Use: Google Analytics
- How to Find It: Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and/or Channels
2. User Behavior
On their own, user behavior metrics don’t tell you much. When coupled with other metrics (such as traffic performance), however, they can provide marketers with directional insight about reader engagement and content performance.
I like to keep an eye on the following metrics in Google Analytics. You can find an average for each under Behavior > Overview, or more granular data for specific URLs under Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
- Time on Page
- Bounce Rate
- New/Returning Visitors
Though these are unlikely to be your end-all, be-all metrics, they can (and should!) be used as supporting characters to help tell your content performance story. As an example, you can determine if a blog post matches searchers’ intent based on the fact that it brings users in organically and they’re spending a significant amount of time on page to read it.
3. Content Shares & Backlinks
The overarching goal of any content asset is to provide value for readers. Though no single metric can illustrate this, social shares and backlinks shed light on whether or not people are willing to share your content with their personal audiences.
Say you have a blog post that was shared over 100 times on social, or an infographic that was picked up by several industry-leading publications. These content metrics matter, especially if you have awareness-related goals.
See how well your content resonates with target audiences by looking at how many times it was shared on social:
- Tools to Use: BuzzSumo
- How to Find It: Search by URL (ex. Specific content asset URL or /blog/), sorted by top-shared content.
Measure the value of content by how often it’s linked to and referenced on other sites and sources:
- Tools to Use: SEMRush, BuzzSumo & Others
- How to Find It: Search by URL > Backlinks
4. Keyword Performance
Two specific keyword metrics to measure your content against are rankings and click-through-rate.
Take a look at rankings on a monthly basis. If your team has published three posts that month related to “healthcare marketing” and the site’s ranking improved for that term, you may be able to tie it back to recent content initiatives.
You can also review keyword CTR to better understand content performance. Again, using “healthcare marketing” as an example, teams can look at impressions and clicks in Google Search Console to showcase how well your content performs in search results.
- Tools to Use: SEMrush, Google Search Console
- How to Find It: (SEMrush) Search by URL & (GSC) Search Traffic > Search Analytics > Queries
5. Goal Conversions
Last, but definitely not least – content marketers need to be looking at how many leads their content brings in. For many marketers, demonstrating that content furthers lead acquisition and/or nurturing goals is critical for securing budgets.
- Tools to Use: Google Analytics
- How to Find It: Conversions > Goals > Overview
The first step for measuring this is to set up goals in Analytics. Common conversion opportunities include demo requests, contact us submissions, and asset downloads. Teams can then use Analytics segments to determine how many conversions came in from the blog or a resource hub.
Along with the number of conversions and leads brought in via content assets, with CRM integration marketers can review the quality of those leads. Of course, bringing in a certain number of sales or marketing qualified leads will carry more weight when reporting ROI.
Though the ROI metrics you emphasize are wholly dependent on program goals, this list should help kick-start your journey in content performance measurement.
Are there any metrics we’re missing from this list? Reach out to us on Twitter @KoMarketing — we’d love to hear them!