How to measure Content Marketing: ROI, KPI and metrics
Posted on August 6, 2013 by Jason Cozens
A relatively new activity for most advertising executives, content marketing showcases online content through a range of channels, such as blogs, social media and email. While there’s little doubt that a wonderful video, infographic or article can invigorate interest in a brand, what’s the real value of content marketing? What is the ROI? What metrics should we be monitoring? And what can it do for your overall online marketing strategy?
Metrics, Return on Investment (ROI) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
As with many forms of marketing, the success of content marketing campaign can take time and will depend on a variety of factors, so bear in mind that perfecting the art of content marketing doesn’t necessarily guarantee any of the below. It does, however, showcase your content to an extensive group of internet influencers, giving you a fantastic opportunity to naturally achieve the following:
Natural inbound links
When a site includes a link to your site, it’s helping to make your content more naturally visible. These high quality natural links occur whenever you are used as a source and can work wonders for improving your rank within search engines.
If someone likes your content enough to share, vote or comment on it, this sends a big thumbs up to Google. And it’s two big thumbs up if that person takes a secondary action, such as make a purchase from you or come back again. In an increasingly confusing world of revolving algorithms and ranking penalties, building positive social signals is one of the few measures you can fall back on to stay at the top of search engine results. There are a number of free social monitoring tools such as Google Alerts and Hootsuite that can give you the metrics you are looking for with more expensive solutions such as Sysomos and Radian6 delivering more comprehensive and detailed metrics and reports.
Many brands are under the often mistaken impression that they can take their branded content, post it to their social media properties (YouTube channels, Facebook pages, Twitter, Pinterest boards, etc.), cross their fingers, and wait for their content to go viral. Paid views will help drive search or access to your content. Paid views can be driven from Google PPC, Facebook PPC, rich media banner ads and native placements. The most effective content marketing campaigns will use paid views to drive social sharing and earned views in order to generate ROI. The lower the cost of the views and visits to your content, the better the ROI.
If another site likes your content so much they choose to share it, they are effectively giving you their audience. This advocating of your brand is more likely to be trusted by that audience because they trust what the site has to say. In turn, this can lead to excellent branding, bookmarking and even conversions. The KPI metrics are very difficult to track for this.
Good content marketing campaigns, and the social sharing, traffic and links that result from it, lead to exposure. Exposure leads to familiarity between your target audience and your brand. Familiarity breeds trust, which in turn, helps to build your brand and remind people that you exist. Although the KPI’s and ROI are nearly impossible to measure, the more successful content marketing campaigns you run, the better your branding.
When people begin to recognise and trust your brand, they are much more likely to convert. While the conversion rate amongst social users may be low, the next wave of traffic (sent to you by those who shared your content), tends to convert much better thanks to improved targeting.
Content marketing helps get increases in rankings
While not a guarantee, and generally no mean feat, an increase in natural inbound links has the potential to improve your rankings in search engines results pages (SERP’s) for particular terms relevant to the text used in and around your content. Natural inbound links to your website have become increasingly hard to stimulate and are now considered gold dust from a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) point of view. The SEO industry was turned on its head in 2012-13 as Google found ways to identify artificial links. As mentioned above, the more people like, share, comment, or view your content, the more relevant and authoritative Google deems it.
Raise your profile
Through interaction with the content you create, there’s a fairly good chance that people will make their way over to your Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram feed. If they like what they see there, they may begin following you, which gets noticed by their followers, who then discover your brand for themselves…
With content marketing will inevitably come feedback and, while it would be lovely to receive nothing but a positive sentiment from your audience, there’s a fair chance you’ll get some negative comments on your content, services, products or site. But, don’t be disheartened. With content marketing, you’ll hear the true voice of your customer, both good and bad, and that will do brilliant things for the future of your brand.
Start the conversation
Content marketing can not guarantee to deliver the above results. Rather it is a process that allows you to start engaging with your audience online. It is a learning process that will give you insight into the behaviour of your target audience so that you can evolve your communication and content marketing strategy. Online behaviour can be different from offline. Bloggers behave differently to offline editors. A feedback loop will allow your content marketing campaigns to improve and get closer to achieving tangible results.