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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Measuring Content Marketing ROI

Ninad Pathak
June 30, 2023
February 27, 2024
Table of Contents

Did you know the content market industry is projected to reach an astounding $107 billion by 2026? With such high stakes, almost half of the marketers have planned to increase their content marketing budgets this year.

But here's the catch: while everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon, measuring content marketing ROI is where many marketers trip.

In this article, we'll discuss 5 of the most common mistakes marketers make when measuring content marketing ROI. 

What is Content Marketing ROI?

Content marketing return on investment (ROI), is a metric that measures the revenue a business earns from its content marketing efforts compared to the cost of those efforts. It's a way to quantify the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy in terms of financial returns.

Calculating content marketing ROI might seem daunting, but it's quite straightforward. Here's a simple formula:

This formula gives you a percentage that represents your return on investment. 

For example, if you spent $1000 on content marketing and earned $3000 in revenue, the profit is $2000. This means your ROI is 200%---you made $2 for every $1 spent.

Why is Measuring Content ROI Important?

Here are some of the major reasons why every marketer must measure the ROI from content marketing:

Streamline Budget and Resource Allocation

Content marketing is a broad field that includes various types of content—from blog posts and social media updates to podcasts and videos. 

Each of these content types requires different resources and has a different impact on your audience. When you measure the ROI of each content type, you can understand which ones are delivering the best results and allocate higher budgets to that type of content.

Let's consider an example. Suppose you have a budget of $10,000 for content marketing. You decide to split it equally between blog posts and video content, spending $5000 on each.

A few months in, you find that:

  • Your blog posts generated $10,000 in revenue, giving you an ROI of 100% (10,000 - 5,000) / 5,000 * 100
  • Your videos generated $20,000 in revenue, giving you an ROI of 300% (20,000 - 5,000) / 5,000 * 100.

Along with revenue, your attribution model shows that while blog posts are often the first touchpoint, videos are the last touchpoint before a customer makes a purchase.

This data suggests this—blog posts are important for attracting customers and videos are more effective at converting them. As a result, you decide to allocate a higher budget to video production in the future.

This kind of data-driven decision-making can help you optimize your content marketing strategy and ensure that your resources are being used effectively.

Helps with Executive Buy-In

We've all heard of a CEO or CMO who redirected their marketing budget from organic to paid ads. Why does this happen? The answer—content marketing does not offer an immediate or direct conversion, unlike paid marketing. 

However, a comprehensive tracking and analytics system like Factors makes attributing revenue and sales to content marketing easier. All the data is displayed in the form of a user timeline in chronological order. You see all the touchpoints all the way from the first one right up to the conversion, helping you set up attribution and get executive buy-in for increased budgets. 

Can Reduce Churn

When tracking ROI, you tend to notice gaps within your existing content. This could be a lack of knowledge base, FAQs, video tutorials, or other content pieces. 

If you notice that your customers interact and use your existing knowledge base a lot, you can double down on the content there to help them make the most out of your product or service. 

As customers become more invested in your products through these efforts, sunk cost fallacy comes into play and your customers are less likely to switch.

Improve Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing

Measuring content ROI also requires collaboration between the sales and marketing teams. During sales calls, your sales team can identify which content a user viewed before booking the demo. They can then correlate the conversion rates with the type of content to identify what performs best.

For instance, if whitepapers or webinars are effective in moving leads further down the sales funnel, your marketing team can double down on these pieces. This can also help the sales team close more leads and bring in more revenue.

Mistakes to Avoid When Measuring Content Marketing ROI

When it comes to measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your content marketing efforts, there are several common mistakes that marketers often make. Avoiding these pitfalls can help you gain a more accurate understanding of your content's performance and its impact on your bottom line.

1. Not Understanding the True Cost of Content Production and Distribution

Most marketing teams do not track the true cost of content production and distribution. 

This cost includes both 

  • direct costs: such as the cost of hiring writers or purchasing content
  • indirect costs: such as the time spent by your team to manage, edit, and distribute the content.

According to a Forbes article, content is the gasoline that fuels the entire marketing engine. Just like gasoline, there are different grades of content and each grade comes at a different price. Knowing the collective costs of creating and distributing content is the best way to start identifying the ROI from your content marketing efforts.

2. Relying Exclusively on Vanity Metrics

Vanity metrics make you feel good about your marketing efforts. They include website page views, the number of subscribers on your newsletter list, the number of likes or followers on social media, and email open rates.

However, vanity metrics tell you nothing about your business performance.

For example, a million monthly page views might sound impressive. But if they do not translate into sales, they are not contributing to your bottom line. Similarly, having a large number of email subscribers is meaningless if they do not engage with your content and take the desired actions.

Instead, focus on actionable metrics like: 

  • website conversion rates
  • click-through rates of email campaigns
  • customer acquisition costs
  • positive brand mentions on socials and other websites

These metrics help you better understand how your content is impacting your bottom line and make data-driven decisions to improve your content marketing ROI.

3. Ignoring Micro-Conversions

Micro-conversions are the smaller actions that website users take on the path to macro-conversions. 

Micro conversions can include actions such as:

  • signing up for a newsletter
  • downloading a whitepaper
  • brand mention on social media

While these actions may not directly lead to a sale, they are important indicators of user engagement and can provide valuable insights into the customer journey.

Ignoring these micro-conversions can lead to missed opportunities for optimization and improvement. But tracking and analyzing these small actions helps you better understand your customer's behavior and make impactful decisions for your content strategy.

4. Relying only on self-attribution

Self-attribution is the source of conversion as reported by the customers themselves. This could be through surveys, feedback forms, or other direct communication where the customer tells you how they found out about you or what influenced their decision to convert.

A study by Google mentions that customers have an average of 2.8 touchpoints before making a purchase. This means that if you're only attributing success to the last touchpoint, you're missing out on considering the impact of the other 1.8 touchpoints.

Consider a customer who discovered your brand through a blog post. They also engaged with your social media content before making a purchase through a promotional email. If you ask this customer what influenced their purchase, they may mention it was the promotional email. But that undervalues the role of other pieces of content within the buyer journey.

To avoid this mistake, complement self-attribution data with other methods of tracking customer interactions. This means, using analytics tools like Factors to track customer behavior on your website and across platforms, and implementing various attribution models to consider all touchpoints in the customer journey. 

For example, a linear attribution model would give equal credit to all touchpoints, while a time-decay model would give more credit to the touchpoints closer to the conversion. 

Let’s now look at how we can calculate the content marketing ROI with an example. 

Calculating Content Marketing ROI With An Example

Let's take a look at an example to better understand how to measure the ROI of a content marketing campaign. 

Suppose one of your blog posts started ranking on Google through SEO and was also promoted on social media and email campaigns. 

By the end of the month, the blog got 800+ unique visitors – 500 through search engines and 300 through promotional efforts. Of these 800 visitors, 60 signed up for the product.

You earn around $5000 from these 60 customers

If the cost of producing and promoting the blog post was $1000—which includes the cost of writing and repurposing the content across platforms, what’s our ROI on this piece of content?

Using the content marketing ROI formula:

ROI = ($5000 - $1000) / $1000 * 100% = 400%

This means that for every $1 spent on the blog post, you earned $4 back. 

And because SEO content keeps bringing in visitors, long after the work is done, you continue to reap the benefits from these efforts.

Measure your content efforts with Factors 

Let’s get started with a practical setup of how you can leverage Factors for content marketing ROI measurement. 

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Metrics

Before you start measuring your content performance, you need to determine what success means for content marketing. 

For you, it could mean increasing website traffic, generating leads, improving conversion rates, or boosting customer engagement. Determining your metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you measure your progress toward these goals.

Factors provide Attribution tracking which helps you create reports that attribute your marketing efforts to specific goals and metrics.  

Here's how you can build an event report in Factors.ai:

  1. Log in to Factors and click on Reports > Analyse
  1. Next, click Attribution Reports. These reports keep track of all the touchpoints through the platforms that Factors has connected with and UTM data to identify the source of conversion. 
  1. Next, we need to identify the specific goals that signify a successful conversion. 

Step 2: Set Up Tracking/Attribution

If you haven’t set up events, you can do so by clicking on the configure icon beside your profile picture and clicking Events.

  1. Factors also automatically track events across all the pages of your website. You can simply set a page as your conversion goal (for ex. Demo page). Let’s take this as an example and create an attribution report. 
  2. The conversion goal is set to the /schedule-a-demo page. 
  1. Marketing touch points are the type of marketing campaigns that you want to track within these reports. Tactics are outbound marketing campaigns like Google ads. Offers are inbound marketing tactics like landing pages and content that you create to bring in visitors. 
  2. We then pick the Property as a Campaign here so we can attribute the marketing efforts to specific campaigns. You can pick a source if you want to identify which of your channels is bringing in the most conversions. 
  3. Then, we move to Criteria. This helps you configure how a conversion is attributed to a specific campaign. We’ll start by configuring it to the first touchpoint. This means all conversions are attributed to the first touchpoint. 

We also set the time window to 30 days. This ensures that even if a visitor converts after 30 days, you can attribute it back to the first touchpoint. 

  1. Once done, click Run analysis and you’ll have a complete visual report specifying exactly what campaigns bring in your leads. 

Step 3: Understanding Campaign Costs and ROI

Scrolling down the report will give you a breakdown of individual campaigns that bring in leads. 

  1. Factors can also bring in the ad spends for each campaign on a single dashboard. This means you can identify how much money was spent on a campaign vs. the return. 
  1. Scroll below the chart to see the breakup. This breakup will give you insight into how your content marketing performs and the number of conversions it brings in.

With that, you have a fundamental understanding of how to attribute business success to your content marketing efforts and showcase the impact to the stakeholders. 

However, it’s just the beginning. Factors integrates with 6signal by 6sense, Hubspot, Zapier, Ads platforms, Slack, and many other tools to bring data from across platforms under a single dashboard. This lets you create comprehensive reports and also gives you a holistic view of all your marketing campaigns, no matter the platform.

Leverage The Factors Advantage for Content Marketing ROI Optimization

With content marketing, you're juggling multiple tasks—creating content, tracking performance, and more importantly, measuring return on investment (ROI). But, measuring ROI isn’t straightforward. It involves setting clear goals, tracking the right metrics, understanding your costs, and connecting the dots to get a holistic view. 

That’s a lot to handle. But Factors is here to simplify things for you.

It makes tracking and understanding your content marketing efforts a breeze. With its analytics and attribution tools, you can easily track user behavior, identify key touchpoints, and optimize your sales process. Plus, Factors’ customizable dashboards give you a real-time view of your key metrics, helping you make data-driven decisions on the fly.

So, are you ready to unlock the full potential of your content marketing? Then it's time to take the next step. Book a demo with Factors and start your journey towards content marketing success, today!

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