How Should the Success of Your Content Marketing be Measured?
It's possible that your content marketing won't be effective long-term the way it's currently managed. Why? Because about 80 percent of companies have no effective method of measuring its success. Naturally, this can be changed, and in the following article, you will get an overview of the metrics used to measure success, as well as some guidance about what should be measured, and how this might be achieved.
It’s possible that your content marketing won’t be effective long-term the way it’s currently managed. Why? Because about 80 percent of companies have no effective method of measuring its success. Naturally, this can be changed, and in the following article, you will get an overview of the metrics used to measure success, as well as some guidance about what should be measured, and how this might be achieved.
In Content Marketing, as in all strategic decisions, a concrete evaluation of results is extremely important. After all, this is how we decide which activities are worthwhile, what improvement is needed and at what point there should be no further investment – this is a well-established business practice. So why, according to the latest study by the Content Marketing Institute, do so many decision-makers find it difficult to measure their content marketing activities in a meaningful way? Simply because the topic seems so intangible, and planners often find it difficult to determine exactly what the current target should be or which metrics point the way to success.
No success without goals
In exceptional cases, content marketing campaigns without well-defined goals can be successful. But unfortunately, this is not the case with the majority. So always remember that before you move to the planning phase, you must first identify your goals! Taking into account, for example, a push for increased website traffic, more visitor engagement or increased distribution of content beyond the site.
Metrics to measure success
The following metrics can help you determine your performance targets and monitor results:
Metrics to increase website traffic:
- Number of unique visitors over a given period
- Number of return visitors over a given period
- Increased traffic via mobile, tablet or desktop (depending on your preference)
Metrics for visitor engagement within the site:
- Residence time, bounce rate, number of pages visited
- Number of new subscribers (alerts, newsletters, etc.)
- Number of comments
- Number of new registrations (forum, shoppers, etc.)
- Number of participants (webinar)
- Number of views/downloads (e-book, infographics, photos, etc.)
- Number of leads and/or conversions
Metrics for the dissemination of content beyond site:
- Number of likes, tweets, “1+” shares on social media
- Number of backlinks to content
Of course, as in the case of cross-media marketing campaigns, this is rarely the end of the story. The above is more of a benchmark indicator to suggest the pathways you should follow. Remember to assign a specific value to each individual metric — such as person-hours or dollar — this will subsequently allow you to measure your success.
From metrics to an ROI
In content marketing, as in other business areas, the application of the ROI (Return On Investment) formula can be very helpful. Once the results of your campaign monitoring become available, the ROI is an indicator as to whether or not the investment in infographics, for example, has paid off. In principle, the ROI formula alongside the performance metrics offers your budget decision-makers a very convincing argument when it comes to determining what additional content marketing activities should be undertaken.
A reminder of the ROI formula:
A practical example using the above:
Let us assume an event agency wants to develop its reputation by using an infographic. On the one hand, its visibility on Facebook and Google+ increases while on the other hand, backlinks are generated providing more Google authority. The calculation could be represented as follows:
1. Investment: An estimated cost of a good Infographic from conception to fine-tune is about two full working days, say 16 hours.
2. The profit here would be a mixture of shares and backlinks. A share is rated as half a person-hour and a backlink three person-hours.
3. The metrics give a result of 20 shares and 3 backlinks over a period of one week – a total of 19 person-hours.
4. Thus, the ROI is about 18.8 percent.
Do the maths
Finally, it’s clear that performance measurement is an important adjustment tool when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of content marketing. It’s not just a monitoring device, but instead it’s more of a fundamental component of content marketing success. Only when goals and results are concretized can they can later serve as the basis for future action – without groping around in the dark and making decisions on gut feelings. The content marketing ROI also assists this process, and its tangible calculations can convince even the harshest of critics. This is the best way to plan and implement successful and effective content marketing campaigns.
About the author:
Sabine Langmann is Online Marketing Manager at the Cologne Agency mindshape. She specializes in content marketing and has already guided many projects from A to Z – both for clients and for internal projects. With the active support of mindshape-teams, she has developed the largest German-language infographics platform, die-infografik.de. Apart from content marketing, Sabine has a passion for conversion rate optimization and the analytical aspects of her work. She is happy to attend conferences and is looking forward to exciting developments in online marketing.