How to Measure Content Marketing Performance and Calculate ROI
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An Extensive Guide to Measuring Your Content Marketing Campaign’s Performance

how to measure content marketing performance

In today’s dominantly digital world, content marketing is crucial for your business’ success online. That is why 70% of marketers actively invest in creating content. However, not all of them measure their content marketing performance.

If you’re a seasoned marketer, you know that paying attention to your marketing campaign metrics on the fly is essential. By neglecting to do that, you put your business at a significant disadvantage. Currently, only 69% of B2B marketers have an on-paper content marketing strategy, which means that about one-third of them have no insight into their campaign’s performance. Whether they realize it or not, that is highly detrimental to their business goals.

So if you are one of these unfortunate marketers and are looking to learn how to measure your brand’s content marketing performance, you’re in the right place! We are going to teach you everything you need to know. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Without further ado, let’s begin by taking a look at some terminology!

KPIs — What They Are and Why You Need Them

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are measurable values that indicate how effectively your business has been achieving its key objectives. In other words, they are the metrics you track to define whether your campaign is successful or not.

KPIs are essential to any marketing campaign because they provide a tangible way to measure its effectiveness. If you don’t set any KPIs before you launch your campaign, you will be roaming in the dark, without a goal. And that is a surefire way toward wasting precious funds!

Aside from avoiding unnecessary financial losses, tracking KPIs allows you to tailor your campaign on the fly if you see some aspects of it are underperforming. So don’t forget to define your KPIs before you get your campaign on its feet!

But how do you do that? Let’s find out!

How Do I Determine Which KPIs to Track?

This part can sometimes be tricky, but you must do it correctly; your entire content campaign will depend on it! The best way to approach this task is to begin by asking yourselves the following questions:

  • What are your marketing goals?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What would you consider a successful campaign?
  • Which part of the marketing funnel are you targeting?

Depending on your marketing goals, your KPIs will vary dramatically. For example, if your primary objective is to raise your brand awareness, tracking aspects like conversions would be silly. And if you wish to get the most out of your PPC marketing campaign, tracking your social media engagement metrics won’t do you any good.

When it comes to your target audience, it’s only natural to expect different behavior from various age groups and backgrounds. If you are marketing to millennials, you will need a different approach than, for example, when advertising to boomers. At the same time, you will need to adapt your KPIs to your target demographics. While facilitating social media engagement when marketing to millennials is an excellent idea, the same might not be the case for baby boomers.

Your business goals and vision of success are also vital when looking to determine your campaign’s KPIs. If you are aiming to generate leads and boost sales, you likely won’t be satisfied with a mere increase in website traffic that led to no growth in conversions. That is why this aspect will also play a significant role in your content planning process.

Finally, adjusting your KPIs to the part of the marketing funnel your campaign will target can make or break your entire strategy. 

marketing funnel

Let’s take a quick look at how each of these three primary parts of the funnel will affect your choice of KPIs.

The Awareness Stage

If your campaign aims to boost brand awareness, you will want to determine KPIs relevant to that goal. These will differ based on the type of campaign and the content marketing formats you’ll be using, but here are a few relevant KPIs you might want to consider:

  • Website Traffic
  • Page Views
  • Bounce Rate
  • Video Views
  • Social Media Reach
  • Social Engagements
  • Downloads

All of these will help illustrate how well your business is building brand awareness and increasing its reputation and visibility.

The Consideration Stage

If you’re targeting the consideration stage, you will likely be looking to strengthen your brand image and build trust with your consumers. Some KPIs to keep in mind that could help you with that are:

  • Returning Visitors
  • Social Chatter
  • Blog & Email Subscriptions
  • Dwell Time
  • Clickthrough Rate
  • Shares

If your consumers are ready to recommend and share your content, spend longer on your website, and opt to receive regular updates from you, they’re beginning to trust your brand. That is why these metrics are excellent to track when aiming at the consideration stage of the marketing funnel.

The Conversion Stage

When looking to increase your sales, your KPIs will have to reflect that goal. Since you will likely be focusing on promotional content if you’re aiming for this part of the marketing funnel, here are some KPIs you should probably consider tracking:

  • Online & Offline Sales
  • Conversion Rates
  • Effectiveness of Your Landing Page
  • Return on Ad Spend
  • Cost Per Conversion

Also, if you’re looking to maximize your conversions with your content marketing page, make sure to A/B /n test your landing page. That way, you’ll get plenty of insight into what you could do to optimize it further. 

Types of Content Marketing KPIs

Now that we’ve talked about what KPIs are and how you can determine which ones to track, you are probably wondering what kind of KPIs there are in the first place. The short answer is — many! But the long answer is, there are plenty of different KPIs for a variety of content types. In the table below, we have listed some of the most used KPIs for different content formats.

As you can see, each content category measures its success differently. For example, some of the vital parameters for social media content are related to user activity. That is because most social media campaigns strive to make users engage with your content. On the other hand, PPC campaigns focus more on tracking conversions and ROI.

With all of the above in mind, the brunt of the work related to measuring content marketing performance lies in aligning your KPIs and content formats with your marketing goals. That is why, aside from determining your target KPIs, you will have to choose which content types you will use in your campaign.

The best way to do that is to do some audience research. Only by identifying your customers’ needs and wants can you successfully pick which content channels to focus on. Do your videos have particularly high engagement rates? Choose them as your primary content format! Are your email campaigns experiencing particularly high open rates? Don’t forget to include email outreach in your strategy!

Overall, don’t be afraid to experiment a little! 

The Importance of Using the Collected Data to Adapt

Why would you even want to measure content marketing performance if not to tweak and improve your strategy, right?

That’s correct — the key to every successful marketing endeavor is being flexible. After all, consumer trends and habits are fickle, and you never know what might come up in a month or two. What if something big happens in the world that would require you to alter your plans? Who knows?

If you put your efforts into tracking your campaign’s success, there will be no challenges you won’t overcome. Relying on a data-driven content marketing strategy is the best way to minimize risk. And many marketers know that — according to a report by Demand Generation, 89% of marketers stated that improving their data collection and analysis efforts was their number-one priority

So if the information above isn’t proof enough of how valuable data collection and adapting on the go is, we don’t know what is!

Calculating Your Content Marketing ROI

The final step on your journey of measuring content marketing performance is calculating your campaign’s ROI! After all, what’s the point of measuring your performance if you’re not going to calculate how much you’ve earned, right?

When it comes to determining whether your campaign was profitable, there are a few metrics you need to take into account:

  • Content Production Costs
  • Content Distribution Expenses
  • Your Total ROI

Let’s look at each of these metrics in more detail.

Content Production Costs

These entail all expenses that might incur during the content production process. Depending on the type of content you decide to focus on in your campaign, the costs may vary significantly. Here are all the things you will have to pay for:

  • Content Creators’ Salaries
  • Supporting Departments That Contributed
  • Visuals (Images, Videos, Graphic Design, etc.)
  • Audio
  • Any Outsourced Work

Depending on the scope of work you need to meet your campaign’s needs, these costs might end up higher than you’d expect.

Content Distribution Expenses

After you create your campaign’s content, you will need to distribute it. That will also incur some costs, such as:

  • Costs of PPC promotions.
  • Costs of paid social media campaigns.
  • Fees for the necessary software and tools used in the content creation process.

Depending on how expensive keywords you choose to target and the tools you use, these costs can vary dramatically. So make sure to take them into account!

Total ROI

Now that you have all the data you need, you can finally calculate your total ROI. The way you do that is pretty straightforward — deduct your total investment (the expenses we talked about above) from your return, divide that by your initial investment, and multiply by 100.

Doing that will give you your ROI in percentages, which will be an indicator of your campaign’s success. If it achieved high numbers in the return department and ended with a positive ROI, you can consider it a success! Otherwise, you will likely have to rethink your strategy and re-evaluate how you measure your content marketing performance.

Measure, Analyze, Reassess, Repeat!

Now you are equipped with all the knowledge you need to measure your content marketing performance! But let’s do a quick recap of what you need to do:

  • Decide which types of content are most suitable for your business goals.
  • Determine what relevant KPIs you will use to measure your campaign’s success.
  • Gather performance data and adapt your strategy on the fly.
  • Calculate your campaign’s ROI.

There you have it! These are all the steps you should take when tracking and assessing your content marketing campaign’s performance. We know it’s a lot to swallow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day! It will take some time and practice to get the hang of everything. But soon enough, planning your content marketing campaign will become second nature to you.

Until then, best of luck to you!