If you find ROI measurement of your content marketing efforts a challenge, you’re not alone. Only 8% of B2B marketers believe they are successful at gauging their content's ROI and influence on revenue. With the content marketing industry constantly growing, making up between 25%-40% of B2B marketing budgets, it only seems fair to understand its metrics and incorporate ROI measurement into your content marketing strategy.
Content marketing has contributed substantially to the B2B marketing sphere. Blog posts, podcasts, infographics, etc. all play a major role in a business’s marketing efforts. But there’s a fine line between good content and content that promotes lead generation. The end goal of content marketing is generating traffic and influencing the conversion of said traffic. So, a conscious effort to measure your content helps lay the groundwork for a content marketing strategy that prioritises the goal and justifies the cost of doing so.
When it comes to B2B marketing, your prime audience is pretty specific. Hence, your content is likely to have a larger impact on pipeline and revenue. 71% of B2B customers consume a blog before making a purchase. Quantifying information like this is effective in distinguishing your leads from your sales. The difference and variety of metrics available for your content provide valuable insights. Understanding the extent to which each metric attributed your leads is an essential aspect of painting a clear picture of your ROI. A classic example of this is to resort to vanity metrics such as organic search traffic to evaluate your content’s success rather than its bounce rate or impressions made which are more conducive in assessing an MQL — marketing qualified lead.
Trial and error is an expected component of your content marketing track record. The data you amass by monitoring your metrics will prove to be insightful in the formation of your content marketing strategy and budget — including the provision of answers to common questions like “what type of content generates the most traffic?” “Which content influences the most revenue and pipeline?” and “Which content had the most effective link building and/or SEO rankings?”
A common barrier to entry for content marketing ROI is your access to customer historical data. To elaborate, your access to said data also includes the cost of acquiring it, the risk associated with losing it, and the availability of precise data when needed — relating to interactions with content. Most software available to track customer metrics like the touch attribution of content, the number of contacts from email, the revenue generated per customer, etc., are fragmented across different software with limited storage of customer data and are behind a paywall. There is even the risk of losing this data because of these stipulations. For this, it is recommended that businesses house their customer data using a data warehouse to retain the historical data of their customers and to use a customer data platform that will organise customer data and behaviour across various software in real-time into a comprehensive format suited for content ROI.
The first step in measuring your content’s ROI is to establish what your lead conversion is. Or in other words, identify what customer action is considered a worthy result of your content’s purpose. This would vary depending on the product and what business it is being targeted to — so organising your leads or conversion goals in conjunction with your products is crucial. Some examples of conversion goals would be — signing into your website, downloading a demo, subscribing to a newsletter, or even a sale, etc.
Your landing page is the first page of your website which is visited by a prospective customer. There are certain metrics that can be used to assess the attribution of your landing page to your conversion goal. Your landing page’s page views indicate the number of visits that have occurred on your landing page. The number of unique visitors helps you identify the number of people visiting your landing page, this is different from page views as it only counts the number of visitors and not the number of their visits.
Other useful metrics for evaluating attribution in your landing page include your bounce rate — which is the number of visitors that navigated out of your page after viewing only one page. Your average session duration is the average time lapsed during a session — a session being a user’s regular interactions — on your landing page. These metrics illustrate the authenticity of your content’s applicability for conversions.
81% of B2B marketers utilize email newsletters as a part of their content marketing strategy — making it the third most popular form of B2B content. If your business sends out newsletters, these metrics are important to track: An email’s open rate measures the percentage of emails opened, and if you link your content webpage in your email, a click-through rate distinguishes the number of users who’ve clicked on the aforementioned link and those who did not.
The most popular form of content (95%!) implemented in a content marketing strategy by B2B marketers is organic social media posts. On channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, Audience engagement on your posts in the form of Likes, Shares, Comments, and even Follows are useful metrics to assess the influence and engagement of your posts. Of course, click-through rate may be tracked as well.
Once we have gathered all the relevant data, we can now measure our content’s ROI. But before doing so, we need to assign a monetary value to your MQLs. If your conversion goal is a sale, then it is the revenue generated from that customer’s sale. If it is a campaign goal like demo scheduled, it is the forecasted revenue from prospective customers that’s most relevant.
Once this is established, organise this data in a coherent manner to measure its ROI. Start by isolating landing pages or content pages to measure them individually. Then we will allocate their respective data to them. For the sake of comparison and future content marketing strategy, it is imperative to distinguish your MQLs from your visitors. The last step is to assign your revenue to your MQLs, whether it be the revenue generated from sales or the forecasted revenue of a particular lead or conversion goal. And finally, we can calculate the ROI with our MQL revenue — the ROI calculation here would be the revenue generated from the MQL divided by the cost of production of the landing page’s content.
To illustrate — let’s say that you were measuring the ROI of one of your landing pages at the end of the month. Perhaps a blog in your payment gateway service company. Organically your blog has amassed 500 unique visitors, and around 300 through social media posts and email campaigns. Out of the 800 visitors, 60 of them signed up for a demo, whose forecasted revenue amounted to around $5000. Using the formula mentioned above and dividing the $5000 with the cost of the production of the content, you will measure your B2B content’s ROI.
Evidently, measuring the ROI of your B2B content is a tough nut to crack, and as I mentioned earlier, trial and error is an expected component of your content marketing track record. While quantifying your means will expedite your strategy, functional results take time and mistakes, and if you’re patient enough, they’ll yield.
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