How to measure your content marketing ROI: A simple guide

You spend hours and hours writing targeted content for your blog posts and promoting it on social media. But do you know whether or not your content creation and distribution efforts are paying off?

According to a 2019 study, 36% of B2C marketers do not measure the return on investment (ROI) of their content marketing efforts.

Worse still, 13% are not sure if they measured their content marketing ROI.

But why should you care about your ROI?

Evaluating your ROI can help you analyze what you gained for the amount of time and resources you invested in content creation and distribution.

It is crucial to track and measure the ROI of your content marketing efforts to analyze if you are on the right track.

But how can you measure it successfully?

Read on for more insights.

Content marketing ROI: A guide to effective measurement

When executives demand to see the ROI of a marketing campaign, they think of it in terms of numbers. They want to see the revenue generated, profits earned, total cost, and overall business growth.

But this may be difficult to track in terms of content marketing.

Because some content marketing benefits such as building trust, awareness, relationships, and customer loyalty are hard to quantify in dollar amounts. It is also hard to evaluate the value of thought leadership, increased visibility, and increased engagement.

What’s more?

It can sometimes be hard to determine which content pieces convinced the customer to convert.

Was it the call from the sales rep or the testimonial from another client?

But even with all of these obstacles, it’s still possible to track the performance of your content marketing initiatives.

How can you tie in all these benefits of content marketing into a quantifiable ROI?

Let’s find out.

1. Define your purpose and determine what to track

Before you can accurately track your content marketing ROI, you need a marketing plan that ensures that every activity you do generates positive ROI.

And what will this plan entail?

  • An understanding of your target audience
  • Your content marketing goals
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to track performance
  • A timeframe

Understanding your audience and goals can help you decide on the content types you will publish and the platforms you will use.

Some common content marketing goals include:

  • Boost traffic to the website
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Boost reach
  • Enhance brand loyalty
  • Increase retention rates
  • Manage brand reputation
  • Increase sales

What about the KPIs of content marketing?

These depend on your content marketing goals.

For example:

If you want to increase brand awareness, the content marketing KPIs you can track include article views, social engagement, and follower growth.

If you want to increase sales, you can track KPIs such as the length of your sales cycle and conversion rates.

Note: Every content marketing campaign you run should have clearly defined goals. You should also define the metrics to track performance and a timeline for achieving your goals. Doing this can make it easier to track your campaign ROI.

Now that you have the basics at hand, let’s find out how you can effectively measure your campaign ROI.

2. Calculate content creation cost

Do you produce content in-house or outsource?

Whichever the case, there’s a cost attached.

Calculate the cost incurred when paying for:

  • The salaries of all content creators
  • Outsourced content assets like video or images
  • Work from other departments
  • Consultation fees
  • Tools used

3. Calculate the cost of content distribution

This amount will include all expenses incurred while publishing and distributing content.

It will include money paid for:

  • Domain and hosting purchases
  • Content creation and distribution tools
  • Guest posting
  • Social media advertising and any other paid promotions

Your total expenditure when calculating content marketing ROI will include the amount spent on creating, distributing, and publishing content.

4. Calculate your returns

Sometimes when you publish a blog post or video, it can take months to identify if it reached your target audience and whether or not they took action.

However, in some cases, the conversion is immediate.

For example, you can post a shoppable image on social media with a call-to-action that directs viewers to buy. If users make a purchase, you can easily track conversions driven by this piece of content.

The total will be the total returns you get from that piece of content.

5. Calculate the ROI of content marketing

To effectively demonstrate value, calculate the ROI of each campaign.

Subtract total expenses from total revenue earned and divide this number by the total expenses. You can then multiply this by 100 to get your ROI as a percentage.

[(Revenue generated – Total expenses) / Total expenses] x 100 = ROI%

For example:

If you generated $3,000 sales from a campaign you executed spending $500 on content creation and publishing, your campaign ROI will be 500%.

However, this formula will only apply to measure the ROI of content campaigns that drive direct sales.

For those benefits you cannot quantify in terms of cash, you should:

Track performance using Google Analytics

Start by setting up goals in Google Analytics.

Then, track metrics such as:

  • The number of people visiting the desired pages and taking actions like subscribing to your newsletter and downloading your ebook.
  • Landing pages with the highest traffic
  • Traffic sources
  • Session time
  • Pages per session
  • Bounce rate

Leverage social media analytic tools

These tools can help you track the performance of your social media posts. Tools like BuzzSumo, Hootsuite, etc. can help you track the number of clicks, views, comments, shares, and reach received per content piece.

Use SEO audit tools

How can you track your SEO results?

You can track the search performance of your content through manual searches on Google and other search engines. Use the incognito mode to search for targeted keywords and check which position your content shows up in.

But doing this can be challenging, especially if your content is not on the first pages of search results.

In this case, you can leverage SEO audit tools such as Moz and SEMrush to track your domain authority, backlinks, and search rankings.

Assess your exposure offline

Are you being invited to interviews in your area of expertise?

Or maybe you’ve spoken at several events, contributed to popular media houses, and featured as a guest on popular podcasts.

If you have, it means that you’ve become a thought leader or are on your way to becoming one. It also indicates that your content is driving returns.

The more people who see you as an authority on a subject, the more exposure you can get. This can then lead to more traffic, leads, sales, and positive ROI.

Time to start measuring your content marketing ROI the right way

The benefits of measuring your content marketing ROI go beyond analyzing whether it offers good returns. It also helps you identify who views your content, whether or not they like it, and which platforms they use.

You can then use these insights to make your content powerful and boost your return on investment.

Have questions about measuring your content marketing ROI? Share them with us in the comments below.

Reena Aggarwal
Reena Aggarwal
Reena is Director of Operations and Sales at Attrock, a result-driven digital marketing company. With 10+ years of sales and operations experience in the field of e-commerce and digital marketing, she is quite an industry expert. She is a people person and considers the human resources as the most valuable asset of a company. In her free time, you would find her spending quality time with her brilliant, almost teenage daughter and watching her grow in this digital, fast-paced era.
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