Mastering ROI: 11 Tips For Measuring Content Marketing and Thought Leadership

19 Feb 2020


You’ve invested in content marketing and thought leadership campaigns in hopes that they will help to grow your business. But, how do you know if they are truly worth the money you put in?

Too often, it can seem difficult to figure out if you should keep funding a particular type of marketing strategy or if that money would be better spent elsewhere.

When you invest in digital marketing, you want proof that you aren’t wasting money. Fortunately, measuring ROI is one way to verify that you’re getting tangible results from your content marketing campaigns.

And, the best part? Figuring out each campaign’s ROI is free and easy to calculate.

What Is Content Marketing ROI?

ROI stands for Return on Investment. Plainly, it is a way of measuring if something was worth the money or was profitable. In content marketing, ROI refers to the amount of money spent on a campaign compared to the results.

Importance of Measuring ROI

Measuring ROI is extremely important for understanding the success of digital marketing. Not all campaigns have the same goals. For example, publishing a thought leadership post on your company’s blog may not increase sales directly. Instead, it might make your company appear more credible or show up more frequently in search results. These results are still valuable.

Types of ROI Metrics for Digital Marketing

There are dozens of ROI metrics that you can monitor for each content marketing piece you deploy. Some metrics may provide valuable data for all types of marketing campaigns, whereas others may only apply to a specific type of marketing, such as email marketing or social media ads. Here are 11 ROI metrics for digital marketing worth measuring:

  • Conversion Rate: The conversion rate is the number of website visitors that complete the desired action over the total number of visitors. For instance, the number of visitors that subscribe to your newsletter over the number of people who saw your website’s request to subscribe. As a sales funnel, this is the number of leads that go to the next sales stage.
  • Conversion Rates by Channel: This compares your conversion rates by different acquisition channels, such as email, social media, and organic search. It can highlight if certain channels have higher conversion rates than others. For instance, if social media has a much higher conversion rate than email campaigns, you can choose to either put more effort into improving your email campaigns or divert that spending to social media campaigns.
  • Conversion Rates by Device: Like conversion rates by channel, the conversion rates by device compares different ways that people access your content. This includes mobile devices, tablets, and computer browsers. Using this information, you can optimize your content for the device most people use to access your site.
  • Cost Per Lead: This metric involves dividing the total cost of the campaign by the number of leads generated. If you pay $1,000 to promote a post on social media, and you receive 10 leads, your cost per lead is $100.
  • Click-Through Rates: This is the percentage of visitors or email subscribers that “click” on the hyperlink on your website page or email. A small click-through rate can be indicative that your Call to Action (CTA) directing them to open a link in your marketing email isn’t working.
  • Unique Monthly Visitors: This number is how many different people visit your website within the span of a month. With good content marketing, this number should continue to go higher.
  • Lead Close Rate: This measures how many sales you made based on the number of leads you had. For instance, if 100 people requested more information about your services, how many of those individuals ended up paying for services?
  • Cost Per Acquisition: This is the amount of money that you had to spend to acquire a single paying customer through the campaign. You can figure this out by dividing the costs you spent getting new customers by the number of customers acquired.
  • Average Order Value: This is the average amount of money that a customer spent in a single order with your company. Seeing an increase in order size could be a strong indicator of strong content marketing campaigns.
  • Customer Lifetime Value: This metric demonstrates the amount a customer is worth over the entire relationship with your company. How much did a single customer spend with your company in total?
  • Return on Ad Spend: This very important calculation is the total revenue per channel or campaign divided by the total amount you spent on that particular channel or campaign. This can be for a certain amount of time or for your company’s lifetime total. For instance, if your company spends $500 in April on Facebook ads and generates $2,000 in sales from Facebook ads in April, your return on ad spend is $4 to $1. For every dollar you spent, you generated $4 in revenue. You don’t want to waste money by supporting channels that don’t give you a return.

Benefits of Closely Monitoring Campaign ROI

There are many different benefits of monitoring ROI in content marketing and thought leadership campaigns. Any company that invests time and resources into marketing efforts should know how the investment is working. Here are some benefits of monitoring ROI.

More Sales

Finding out which campaigns perform the best can lead to more sales, as you can continue to invest in only the most successful campaigns. When you can see which strategies, calls to action, and topics work, you can implement successful strategies in more of your campaigns.

Feedback on Campaign Performance

Measuring ROI can give you an idea of how a marketing campaign performs. Without it, you may never really know if the money you invest in content marketing delivers results.

Ability to Change, Tweak, or Discontinue Less Successful Campaigns

When you monitor campaign performance in real time, you are able to make changes to a campaign while it’s still active. This means that you can tweak or improve aspects of the blog post, email, or paid ad to correct its performance before everyone reads it or you’ve spent all of your allocated marketing dollars.

For instance, if a blog post continues to get comments that ask the same question, it can make sense to revise the blog to answer the question proactively. If you pay for paid social advertising, you can quickly discontinue poorly performing campaigns before you invest more money.

Save Money

When you closely monitor each campaign’s ROI, you can save money by only investing in the most successful campaigns. You can learn from the performance of past campaigns and choose to invest in creating the most effective future campaigns using the knowledge you learned.

Other Ways to Measure Content Marketing Success

Aside from traditional measures of ROI, there are other ways to measure the success of content marketing and thought leadership campaigns. These include:

  • Number of Social Media Followers: Did you see a spike in social media followers after posting something new? Many people will choose to follow brands that put out content that they want to read.
  • Number of Email Subscribers: An increase in email subscribers can be attributed to publishing high-quality email content, as current subscribers can easily forward an email to others in their network to share engaging information.
  • Engagement: You can measure engagement in a number of ways, including whether your social media content receives a larger number of comments or likes.
  • Number of Purchases: An increase in the number of purchases, even of products not featured in your content marketing campaign, can be a sign that your marketing efforts are working. New customers can find out about your company for the first time as a result of a thought leadership campaign and choose to buy products other than those featured in the post.
  • Number of Downloads: The number of downloads of a lead magnet, software trial, or demo can be a sign of an effective campaign.
  • Increase in Leads: Have people filled out a contact form or downloaded a lead magnet in exchange for their email address as a result of your campaign?

Online Tools

You can utilize many different online tools to see how your campaigns perform. Social media sites already provide you with free ways to see how every post performs. Email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp, can show you how many people opened and clicked on links in an email. You can monitor your website’s Alexa Ranking or Google Analytics dashboard to see how campaigns impact your website’s traffic volume.

Other Stats to Track

Monitoring both the long-term impact of content marketing on your business and how individual campaigns perform can provide you valuable insight. The truth is that most leads require several interactions with your business before they decide to make a purchase. Here are some other statistics worth tracking to ensure that you create content that makes a difference in your business.

  • Year Over Year Performance Comparisons: Is your business doing better this quarter than this time last year? While there might be some seasonal fluctuations or uncontrollable events that impact your business, you ideally want to see growth each year during the same time periods.
  • Profit Margin: The most expensive part of sales is customer acquisition. As you sell more products to existing customers, your profit margins should increase. Higher profit margins could be a sign that you’re able to make more money with less marketing spend.
  • Long Term Growth: By investing in thought leadership campaigns, you invest in your brand. While you may not see immediate results from a single campaign, continuing to grow your company’s content marketing efforts should lead to long-term growth, brand recognition, and assets.
  • Cost of Creating Campaign: How much does it cost your team to create a content marketing or thought leadership campaign? While you may not recoup your expenses directly, knowing how much it costs, on average, to create a new campaign can give you an idea of how much you’ve invested.
  • Time to Create a Campaign: How long does it take your team to create a campaign? If your team must divert a lot of time away from existing or revenue-generating tasks to create content marketing campaigns, it might be worthwhile and more efficient to have a content marketing company take care of it for you.

Measuring ROI for content marketing and thought leadership can give you an idea of the effectiveness of your campaigns and whether it makes sense to continue investing in this type of marketing. Keep in mind that a content marketing campaign can sometimes be just one part of growing your business. By using a combination of different strategies, you can increase your chances of reaching your ideal customer.

Melanie Green 

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