Let’s say you have successfully established your marketing strategy, SMART business goals, well-oiled workflow, and created a captivating piece of content.
Still, your content marketing efforts lack one critical move: identifying key metrics to measure content marketing ROI.
Why do these measurements matter?
For starters, using content marketing metrics proves that your content holds value.
More importantly, engagement metrics, traffic metrics, and others help you get a more accurate picture of your audience, interests, and needs. Your content marketing success depends on making the most of this data.
The only problem is that too many content metrics and different approaches to measuring your ROI. This post is, therefore, not going to cover all.
This guide will not be able to cover them all.
Nevertheless, we want to present important content marketing metrics and help you better evaluate your content marketing program.
How to Measure Content Marketing ROI
Every time you publish a blog post or upload a video case study, you’re hoping it will perform even better than before. Why?
Because content marketing is always an ongoing process.
Measuring your results as your marketing campaign develops and matures is the best way to stay on the right track.
Here’s the catch, though.
Marketers are often concerned with simple content marketing metrics like website traffic or social shares. These metrics are not entirely useless, but they don’t tell the whole story.
To see the bigger picture, you need subtler and more comprehensive metrics such as content production costs, lead generation volume, and conversion rates.
Only then can you strategize your marketing direction based on a reliable understanding of opportunities and costs.
This post explains the fundamental marketing metrics you need to measure your content marketing ROI.
Remember that there’s rarely a set formula for calculating ROI. You can use this link to calculate your ROI if you’re in the SaaS industry or run an e-commerce business.
This framework might not be as helpful for service companies or content marketing efforts where indirect conversions drive most of the profit. So, incorporate alternative metrics into your assessment to minimize measurement errors.
Big Universe of Content Marketing Metrics
Now comes the tricky part, determining the most relevant metrics to measure your content ROI.
Finding these metrics takes time, but the effort is well worth it.
Content marketing ROI can be measured differently, depending on your overall focus and marketing strategy.
Establishing your content marketing metrics is primarily a matter of aligning with your content strategy goals and business value.
The first step is identifying your top measurement priorities and the underlying metrics you require to support them.
Next, you need to establish performance benchmarks for your analytics.
Once you have collected all the data, calculate the baseline cost of implementing your content plan to determine the return on this investment.
We’ll look at eight key performance indicators:
- The number of Generated Leads
- SERP Rankings
- Conversion Rates
- Bounce Rate
- Page Exit Rate
- Time on Page
- Time to Conversion
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
These metrics provide a robust framework within which you can collect valuable business insights.
But do not hesitate to add additional metrics that you deem appropriate to measure your content creation process. Now let’s get started:
Number of Generated Leads
You have high-quality content, well-designed web pages, and adequate website traffic.
- But what do your visitors do after they finish reading?
- Do they buy a product or service?
- Or sign up for your newsletter?
- Or click on another link?
If they watch and leave, that’s a sign of a serious lead generation problem.
A lead is an individual or organization interested in the products or services you sell.
If they provide contact information like an email ID, a phone number, or even a social media handle, you automatically consider them a “potential customer.”
However, not all leads are of the same value. Qualified leads are the ones that increase your ROI.
- A qualified lead is a prospect considered by your sales and marketing team to be an ideal customer with the intent to buy.
- An unqualified or irrelevant lead has not been nurtured enough in the sales cycle.
Using these content marketing assets to generate qualified leads:
- Optimizing Landing Pages
- Regularly Updating Email Newsletters
- Writing High-Quality Blog Posts
- Active Social Media Presence
Customer development and retention are central to an effective lead generation process.
The average cost per lead is $99 across all of the surveyed companies working in the marketing field.
You should devote most of your marketing efforts to investing in high-value leads.
Paid advertising is an effective short-term solution. Still, with so many content marketing tools and resources, you hardly need them to generate leads and make money.
Besides, great content is ageless.
Research-based, well-structured, and engaging content will continue to bring customers to you long after it’s been created.
How to Track Lead Generation with Google Analytics
Many marketing experts consider Google Analytics the best lead-tracking tool.
Follow these six steps to integrate Google analytics into your lead-tracking strategy:
- Set up Destination Goals
- Combine the Goals Feature with Cross-Channel Data-Driven Attribution
- Create a Thank-You Page
- Create Custom Events in Google Analytics
- Integrate Google Analytics with Your CRM Tool
- Use Google Analytics Behavior Reports
Does Google rank your website highly?
If not, you need to improve your search engine rankings. Why?
Because it’s the best chance to bring more traffic to your website.
Google’s first page handles at least 71% of web traffic, and the #1 result generates a typical CTR of 39.6%. That’s more than double the CTR for the 2nd position at 18.4%.
To improve your website’s ranking, focus on the essential SEO activities, such as identifying trending keywords, link-building, creating friendly URLs, and acquiring as many backlinks as possible.
Ranking tracking is also crucial for any SEO expert and helps them evaluate, analyze and develop their marketing and SEO strategy.
Keyword rank tracking provides all the data you need to improve the structure and content of your website.
Best SERP Trackers
AccuRanker. Probably the fastest and most accurate standalone daily SERP tracker, relatively expensive.
ProRankTracker. A comprehensive SEO Rank Tracking & Reporting solution with solid reporting capabilities.
Advanced Web Ranking (AWR). An advanced web-based keyword-tracking tool with excellent white-label reports.
Semrush Position Tracker. Highly accurate SERP tracker.
SERPWatcher. An affordable SEO rank tracking tool with comprehensive features for proactive keyword rank monitoring and data analysis
SE Ranking. A cost-effective rank tracker you can use across all the major search engines and multiple locations.
Nightwatch. Accurate and affordable daily rank tracker with in-depth report analysis.
If you are working on a shoestring marketing budget, or your marketing team isn’t yet well-adjusted to multimedia content creation, don’t worry.
You can practice improving multiple SERP features on blog posts, for instance.
These features include the following.
Featured snippet. The featured snippet box is more prominent than the organic search results. Therefore, selected websites can expect a higher click-through rate (CTR) and more traffic.
Images. The number of images in a piece of content impacts a website’s rankings.
People also ask questions. It’s a dynamic Google SERP feature that helps you increase CTR.
It’s well known that click-through rates for well-optimized content with targeted keywords are higher.
Using parent keywords (high-ranking and high-traffic keywords in a niche business) is a huge plus. Combined with seed keywords (short-tail keywords, usually less than two words), you can create world-class content.
Pro tip: Content optimization is not just limited to one keyword, “e-commerce platform”; it includes multiple semantically relevant ones.
Your conversion rate is one of the most informative content marketing metrics for determining ROI. Do you know how many visitors are turning into leads and how many new leads are converting into paying customers? Conversion rate measures the percentage of users who have completed the desired action and turned into paying customers.
Conversion is the end goal of all marketing efforts. Monitoring the conversion path these visitors took from website to purchase gives you valuable insights into which pages are successfully nurturing leads. Still, conversion takes different forms depending on the content type, media, target audience, and stage of the funnel:
- Leaving a comment
- Subscribing to a newsletter
- Signing up for an online form
- Downloading content, etc.
Comparing sales and revenue to total website visitors is one way to measure your conversion and see if your inbound marketing efforts provide real value to potential customers. With Google Analytics, you can create and track sales goals. That will give you the percentage of website visitors who make a purchase.
Once you have collected the data and measured your conversion rate, you can compare numbers with average conversion benchmarks:
- The median conversion rate in B2B is 2.2%.
- Top-performing landing pages (75th percentile) convert at 5.3% or more.
- Best in class landing pages (90th percentile) convert at 11.5% or more
The distribution of traffic sources is also central to defining your general content marketing strategy and generating device-specific content.
In 2020 smartphones drove 64% of online traffic across all industries, followed by desktops (33%) and tablets (2.8%).
Bounce rate is a simple content marketing metric indicating the effectiveness of your landing pages and website content.
The bounce rate shows how many users left a page without visiting another page on the website.
Bounce rates should be lower in general. A high bounce rate is a sign of many things that could be wrong with your website:
- Low-quality landing pages
- Poor user experience
- Poor site navigation
- Low-quality content
- Slow website load time
One of the easiest ways to improve bounce rate is to improve your website’s load time and speed. Improving mobile responsiveness, adding visual content, interactive experiences, and internal links to your content makes it far more captivating to the target audience.
In 2022 the average bounce rate is 44% across five key industries (finance, healthcare, retail, technology, and travel & hospitality).
You can conduct a competitive analysis to assess your specific niche better.
Page Exit Rate
Page Exit Rate is the metric indicating the number of times visitors have left a site from a single page. It measures the number of people leaving your site after viewing any number of pages. In other words, the exit rate is the percentage of recent page views in a session.
To check out each web page’s bounce and exit rates, go to Google Analytics, Reporting → Behavior → Site Content → All Pages.
A high exit rate is not a good sign. It usually means that something on your website is preventing conversion.
That could result from a poorly designed website, high prices, or an unpersuasive copy.
To reduce your website’s high exit rate, focus on viewers’ Behavior and ask your content strategist to devise a new approach.
Optimizing your conversion funnel is also central for an improved user experience.
Time On Page
One of Google’s ranking metrics is the time users spend on the page. That’s another expression of how engaging your content is. We use this metric to determine what content generates genuine interest.
The longer the average time spent on a page, the higher the captivation and engagement.
Reasons for a low average time on the page include:
- Long and unattractive content
- Poor UX design
- Slow website load time
- Low-quality landing page
- Poor choice of topics
Google Analytics shows you how each page interacts with viewers.
To do that, go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
Improving the average time on a page requires behavioral incentives.
You can do it with a beautiful design and engaging and well-crafted SEO content.
Time to Conversion
Average time to conversion is calculated as the total number of days between the first touchpoint (or so-called first click) and the conversion, divided by the total conversions.
To put it simply, it shows how fast your visitors convert.
The time from impression to conversion is critical to the success or failure of marketing campaigns. Some deals take longer than others to close.
Making decisions within an incorrect time window means your judgment is based on an incomplete picture. Therefore combining data with other metrics like sales cycle length can offer a more accurate context.
Try adding testimonials and customer reviews to your website to reduce conversion time.
Testimonials are a compelling way to add credibility.
You can also remove distractions and unnecessary form fields to make the sign-up and purchase process easier.
Sales Cycle Length
Sales Cycle Length or Average Deal Cycle is the average number of days or months it takes to close a deal, starting from the first touch point. This metric helps in creating sales forecasts and measuring sales efficiency.
B2B SaaS sales cycles allow you to evaluate your sales efforts objectively. They give your reps a thorough roadmap and common reference points, so they know what they and their colleagues are doing.
B2B SaaS sales cycles can last anywhere from 14 days to 3-6 months.
Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
Cost per acquisition (CPA), also known as customer acquisition cost (CAC), is a marketing metric referring to the total cost of a customer taking a particular action. CPA indicates how much it costs to get a single customer down your sales funnel, from the initial contact to ultimate conversion.
CPA is crucial in making strategic market decisions because it informs the advertiser how much of their revenue is going towards marketing and advertising campaigns and whether it is cost-efficient.
The Average Organic customer acquisition cost for B2B SaaS Companies is $205. To calculate your CPA, divide the total advertising cost by the number of new customers acquired through the same social media channels.
As the saying goes, “no wind blows in favor of a ship without direction.”
You need a content strategy to set your direction.
A well-crafted business plan that attracts potential customers in your market niche.
Only then will performance measurement and content marketing metrics make sense.
If you’re aiming to build brand awareness, focus on content metrics that measure success in traffic volumes, new vs. returning visitor ratio, or the number of pages per session.
If you have a more specific goal, for example, to increase email list sign-ups by 50%, you can track conversion rates for email forms and the cost of acquiring new subscribers.
The bottom line is that you prioritize metrics as you do with your business goals.
Once you’ve measured your content marketing efforts and calculated the cost of content production, compare them with your total profit. That’s your content marketing ROI. If the numbers aren’t as dreamy as you thought they’d be, don’t worry.
Consult with your Head of Content or your Content Strategist to develop a new plan. And you’ll be ready to go!
Some of the most common questions regarding content marketing metrics and benchmarks.
What are the four categories of content marketing metrics?
- Search engine optimization (SEO) metrics include organic traffic, CTR, Keyword rankings, and more.
- Engagement metrics include session length and frequency, acquisition, retention rate, screen flow, etc.
- Sales metrics usually use demo requests, sales conversion rate, and sales cycle length to measure content marketing success.
- Brand awareness metrics include your follower count, social shares, retweets, and impressions on social networks.
What is the most important content marketing metric you track?
Pages/session is probably the most critical content marketing metric because it fills the gap between strategy and sales metrics. Pages/session is the number of a website’s total page views divided by the total number of sessions.
How do you measure the performance of your content?
The following steps help you measure the performance of your content:
- Set up your metrics
- Store and categorize data
- Turn data into actionable insights
- Talk to and learn from industry peers
- And always remain prepared to adapt to the market
How is content marketing ROI calculated?
Content marketing ROI is a percentage of how much revenue you made from content marketing compared to how much you spent. To calculate ROI, subtract acquisition costs from LTV (lifetime value) and divide them by acquisition costs.
How do you measure content engagement?
Ten critical metrics for measuring your content engagement are:
- Page views
- Time Spent on Page
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Session Duration and Pages per Session
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Social Media Likes, Shares, and Replies
- Email Sign-ups
- Time on-page in conjunction with scroll depth
What makes content successful?
Content marketing success depends on many factors; the first is choosing the right topic for the perfect audience on the best distribution channels.
Timely publication and content distribution on a specific schedule keep your brand top of mind with your audience. High-quality content is also original and easy to understand.