The return on investment (ROI) from content marketing is typically higher than any other marketing or advertising – as much as four times higher, according to consumer brand giant Kraft. But how do you measure it to ensure your efforts are generating a return?
- Calculate a content marketing ROI for your campaign.
- Measure the costs of content marketing.
- Determine content usage to ensure effectiveness.
- Evaluate lead generation efforts and sales.
The first step in the ROI equation is calculating all the costs involved in your content marketing efforts, including staff time, copywriting fees, design costs, project management, distribution and any software used.
The Content Marketing Institute suggests the following formula:
- Multiply the hours per month required to create the content by the hourly pay rate of the workers who created it.
- Multiply this by the overhead factor (accounting for insurance, rent, super, utilities, etc., and typically 50 per cent extra).
- Add up all the other costs, such as design, hosting, software and subscriptions. Allocate them to a specific content program or amortise them monthly across the whole program.
For example, assuming 40 hours is spent per month at $40 per hour to create a company blog, multiplied by a 50 per cent overhead factor and adding in $1000 per month for design, $100 for hosting and $100 for miscellaneous fees, the total monthly cost equates to $3600.
Content marketing costs can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Swiss retail giant Nestlé has estimated that it produces some 1500 pieces of marketing content per day for more than 800 of its brands’ Facebook pages, at an estimated cost of US$127,500, according to marketing software company Percolate.
As much as 70 per cent of all content generated goes unused, according to Sirius Decisions, and any content which is unused is wasted. This makes it vital to track not only content production, but also usage.
Check Google Analytics data to determine usage metrics such as the number of unique visitors for each webpage, new visitors versus returning visitors, referrals, bounce rate, page load time, keywords and ranking, outbound links, conversions and location. Check out the ‘page value’ section to see how often a page is viewed before conversion.
By identifying the components of content on each page and measuring them with such analytics, it can be easy to determine what’s performing well, and what isn’t.
Check social media analytics too: how many times was your piece of content viewed, shared, liked or commented on in social media such as Facebook or Twitter? How many other sites have linked to your piece of content? Did it generate extra traffic for your website or call centre?
The content marketing campaign should be generating new leads for your business so make sure these are measured too. For example, determine how many people go to the lead form on your website after consuming your content. If leads are handled via phone, install a script showing a different (trackable) phone number after people have watched a video or downloaded an ebook.
Other forms of lead generation could be the number of people signing up for a free demonstration, subscribers to your newsletter or followers for your social media. Check click-through rates (CTRs) for your calls to action too – a low CTR will indicate you are marketing the wrong type of content to a particular segment, while a high CTR shows a positive response from the target audience.
While lead generation is important, sales are the ultimate measurement for the content marketing campaign so make them trackable. Some metrics to consider include the sales conversion rate (sending content to leads should build trust and eventually sales); sales cycle length (effective content should reduce the length of the average sales cycle); and contract size (should be larger for clients nurtured with content instead of those that were not).
Other metrics to track could include the:
- Time in customer conversion.
- Percentage in the sales pipeline generated as a direct result of your efforts.
- Volume of sales-qualified leads.
- Percentage that eventually become sales.
Calculate the return
Finally, calculate the ROI by using the following formula:
* ROI = (Revenue generated – cost of content marketing)/cost of content marketing.
For example, if the content marketing campaign generates $10,000 in revenue and the total cost of the campaign was $5000, the ROI would be 100 per cent.
In the earlier example, the ROI is determined by multiplying the number of leads per month by the lead conversion rate, average lifetime customer value and average profit margin.
For example, collecting 25 leads per month from the company blog at a 20 per cent lead conversion rate generates five new followers. Assuming a $3000 average lifetime customer value and a 30 per cent average profit margin, and the monthly blogging return totals $4500.
ROI is then determined by subtracting the investment from the return and dividing by the investment. Here, this equates to $4500 less $3600 equals $900, which divided by $3600 equals 0.25, or a 25 per cent ROI.
This should be compared to the ROI from more traditional forms of marketing to determine how much content marketing is contributing to the success of the business.
Although content marketing costs money, it can save money as well. For example, if a $500 piece of content attracts 1000 visitors to the website, and Google AdWords would have cost $1 per click, then the content has saved $500. Other benefits could be reduced calls to support staff, or money saved on expensive sales staff.
Content marketing can also help in making long-term strategic decisions for a business. King Content’s Daniel Hochuli suggests using the Advanced Segments filter in Google Analytics to track four core audiences, consisting of new audiences, returning audiences, converters and non-converters, and then placing them into a reporting system based on visibility, community and action.
“Over time, insights start to form. I started to effectively track the rate of brand awareness based on new visitors as well as the rate of growth of my community based on those returning visitors,” he says. “I used the data to improve and tailor the content to what the audiences were telling me they wanted. It created more new audiences and a larger community. I was then able to look at how the audiences were engaging with the content in terms of converting and to reduce the time it took from new visitor to customers.”
A famous management maxim states: “What gets measured gets done”. In the world of marketing, measuring the effectiveness of a content marketing campaign is crucial in justifying the costs and generating a credible ROI that shows how it’s delivering more engaged and profitable customers.
Don’t know where to start? Talk to King Content about how the online platform Communiqué can help streamline the creation, management and measurement of your content marketing efforts to help deliver an effective ROI for your business.
Tracking and improving content marketing ROI is crucial for the success of any campaign.
Ensure you are on top of this by:
- Measuring costs.
- Examining usage and engagement.
- Checking lead generation.
- Tracking sales.
- Calculating a credible ROI for your efforts.
If you are interested in improving your content marketing ROI, please do not hesitate in contacting our strategists here