Measuring the overall ROI for content is rarely a straightforward process. But there are certainly a few simple steps you can follow to understand how effective your strategy is.
Semrush believes 84% of businesses have a content marketing strategy, but only 11% think they have an excellent one.
There are some clear links between content strategies and revenue, making particular pieces of content much easier to measure—for example a direct form fill.
However, other links are often much less obvious, making attribution a little challenging.
Nevertheless, these still need to be factored in when measuring the overall success of your content strategy.
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There are numerous prevalent formulas to calculate the final ROI, but the most popular is explained by Convince & Convert as: “Return minus investment, divided by investment, expressed as a percentage.” This is the simplest method for calculating ROI and gives a strong indicator of value.
Essentially, using the correct performance metrics in conjunction with data analytics can help you find the sweet spot for content success to take best practices and apply them moving forward.
How to Track Performance
In order to track performance accurately, Google Analytics should be set up on your site as a minimum. It can provide a wealth of data to help you understand how people are using your site and where optimizations are required.
Organizations also use other tools, like HubSpot or Sugar, to enhance their marketing efforts. Key metrics for content performance include information on lead quality, sales, web traffic, onsite engagement, social media engagement, and SEO success. These tools also provide insight to the overall exposure and authority of the content.
While a fully coherent content plan covers all of these metrics simultaneously, an organization in the process of developing its strategy may choose to track a particular metric dependent on their goals, whether that be revenue or brand awareness.
How to Create Quality Content
When creating content, there are some SEO best practices to keep in mind. These range from ascertaining the earning potential of content and driving engagement/awareness of your site to increasing the number of rankings.
Compelling content attracts a larger audience, with a greater chance of generating leads. Understanding your key audience demographics is key for achieving a greater impact and ultimately improving lead quality.
There are several ways to measure lead quality, dependent on the medium of the content you are producing. For example, you could use lead magnets or content upgrades that allow you to ascertain interactions with your content.
However, the prime method of tracking qualified leads and visitors is through Google Analytics and their goal-setting tool. Once this has been set up correctly, it becomes infinitely easier to see which pieces of content create the best leads.
If you are getting a lot of traffic, but have a high bounce rate/low conversion, this suggests either the leads are of low quality, or the content itself needs to be refreshed or rewritten.
The next stage of the process is evaluating how many of these leads actually convert into sales. This gives us the return element of the equation referenced in the opening introduction.
Enabling e-commerce tracking in GA is a key step to accessing accurate figures. This tool allows you to see what pages are driving the most revenue. However, there are limitations; for example, the tool only tracks conversions in one session, which makes the tracking process tricky, as content marketing is not always linear and there can often be multiple touch points required before conversion. There could also be a delay between your lead engaging with the content and making a purchase; as such, attribution is key. The Assisted Conversions tool helps to unpack this by measuring the number of conversions that a channel has assisted with at any point during the customer journey.
To ensure maximum ROI, it is also key to track performance over time, as content may become more/less relevant, and the marketing mix may need to be adjusted accordingly.
The Three Golden Metrics
There are three metrics that are most important for understanding what’s driving engagement and awareness.
The most important metric is web traffic. Without anyone actually visiting your website, there is no revenue. Understanding the pages that drive the most traffic is important, however, understanding where the traffic is actually coming from is equally crucial. Once you know the source of your traffic, you can streamline your strategy and maximize your investment into converting channels.
The second metric is the level of onsite engagement. You measure this by using the bounce rate to understand how long customers spend on the site. If you have a high bounce rate, chances are that people aren’t finding your content useful. Some other important stats to consider include pages per session and average session duration.
The last factor to consider offsite engagement, through channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. The more useful the content, the better the engagement. This can easily be tracked through Google Analytics. There are other ancillary tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social that also help track social shares.
Essentially, ensuring your organization has a strong, coherent content strategy has always been important. However, the pervading trend for the past three years has been to put more emphasis on overall user experience, with content strategy playing a large part of search algorithms ascertaining whether a page is useful or not. The TPT Digital team is here to take our years of industry expertise, coupled with our truly global approach, to maximize the value of your content strategy.
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