How do you measure the ROI of content marketing?

Measuring the success of content marketing is more than a 1:1 analysis of cost versus leads.

By • Nov 26, 2022

Content marketing has the power to drive and scale business, but it takes time, strategy, high-quality content campaigns, and the right tools. 

Look at top companies like HubSpot, Canva, and Toast. They’re all now worth billions of dollars, and have hundreds of millions of customers who use their tools on an annual-subscription basis. And they invested in content marketing right from the start. All of these brands have worked hard to build blogs that now have millions of readers, to publish marketing data reports for leaders and executives, and to create educational content for their audiences. 

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Why? Because content marketing is a cost-effective, scalable way to attract qualified leads to your business, and engage with prospects, turning them into customers.

Key takeaways:

  • Look at the impact of content marketing campaigns over six months, one year, and two years. 
  • Track influence of marketing efforts across the entire customer journey.
  • Measure the lifetime value of customers who engage with your marketing content regularly — is it higher? 
  • See how content marketing affects brand awareness, sales, customer support, brand advocacy, and customer engagement.
  • Try content marketing for recruitment and employee engagement and retention.

Let’s walk through how marketing leaders can measure the ROI of content marketing efforts and plan their content marketing budget accordingly. 

Why does content marketing lead to more revenue? 

Content marketing campaigns serve several purposes, and have relatively low costs compared to the value they bring.

Blog posts can help reach new audiences and build brand awareness through organic search, convert prospects through product CTAs and case studies, and engage existing customers. Research reports help get to decision makers, and influence deals — they’re a key type of sales enablement and brand awareness content. 

Types of content marketing projects that influence revenue and conversions include:

  • Blog posts
  • Market research reports
  • Landing pages
  • Educational guides
  • Templates + checklists
  • Social media campaigns
  • Video content
  • Case studies

How do you measure content marketing ROI?

Measuring the return on investment for content marketing campaigns isn’t a direct 1:1 comparison. As you develop content marketing resources and build trust with your audience, you can influence their decision to choose your product years later. 

Here’s how to look at content marketing and its ROI for marketing, sales, and the overall business. 

1. Set and track goals.

Set goals for new content marketing campaigns, and use tracking to measure all promotional efforts separately. These goals (or KPIs — key performance indicators) can be leads, new contacts, click through rates (CTRs), organic traffic, or whatever your team decides is the most effective way to grow. 

2. Review more than just marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

Look at metrics like downloads, net new contacts, influenced contacts, influenced revenue, organic traffic, and new backlinks.

3. Analyze ROI over one to two years — large campaigns have a long tail.

Analyze content marketing ROI over the course of six months, one year, two years, or even longer. Campaigns like market research reports can have an impact many years later as the data is still relevant and organic traffic grows over time. 

4. Measure audience sentiment and brand trust.

See how your brand reputation relates to ongoing content marketing efforts, including social media, influencer marketing, and advertising campaigns. Use online sentiment analysis and run surveys with your audience.

5. Open a dialogue with all customer-facing teams to learn how content marketing impacts their goals.

Interview sales and customer support teams to learn how content marketing impacts deals won, upselling and cross-selling, customer loyalty, and overall customer success. 

What’s a good ROI for content marketing?

Content marketing campaigns can generate 2X, 5X, 10X, or 50X their investment — it just depends on when you look at the data, and how you look at the data. Overall, as long as the campaign achieved your goals, engaged your target audience, reached or influenced new contacts, and grew your brand awareness, it provided a solid return. 

The value of content marketing for business growth

To better understand why companies are investing more in content marketing, here are some of the latest stats about content marketing and revenue. It’s interesting to note Semrush found that only 15% of marketers chose ROI as their key metric to measure content success. Instead, more than half (51%) look at organic traffic.

Ready to invest in professional, high-quality content that engages the right audiences? Let’s talk.

Our small team of creatives + strategists works with top brands to build high-quality content marketing campaigns, like HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends Report. We’d love to see how we can help you grow your business with content marketing

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