How to measure Content Marketing ROI 2X faster in 2020 (+metrics to target)

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I know how it feels.

You spend hundreds or thousands of dollars in content marketing but go blank when it’s time to measure your content marketing ROI.

Every time you think about doing the calculations, you feel like giving up due to the complexity of the process. It frustrates you. And deep down your mind convinces you that you suck at tracking your ROI.

The good news is you’re not alone.

Content marketing ROI relies on several variables. This is why only 45% of B2B content marketers consider themselves successful at tracking results.


Source: Content Marketing Institute 


Here’s the thing.

Calculating content marketing ROI is not as hard as it seems. The process is super-easy once you understand your marketing goals, pick the right metrics and measure them against your goals. It’s a no-brainer.

In this guide, I will walk you through EVERYTHING you need to know about content marketing ROI.

What is content marketing ROI?

Content marketing ROI is the figure that reveals the amount of money you gained from your content marketing efforts compared to what you spent.


For example, if you invest $1000 on ads and make $100,000, your ROI is $99,000.  

There are several types of content marketing from blogging, podcast, e-books, whitepapers, and infographics. They have different motives like:

  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Generating new leads
  • Strengthening relationships with your readers or viewers
  • Skyrocketing your revenue amount (key reason)
  • Gathering new backlinks and so on.

So, how will you know if your content marketing efforts are paying off if you don’t track your results?

This leads us to the next topic.

Reasons to measure content marketing ROI like a pro!

Content marketing is expensive. Depending on the size of your business, you can spend between $2000 and $70,000 monthly. Like all investments, you deserve a return on your investment, right?  

In this section, we will look at the reasons why you should measure your ROI.

1. Avoid the wrong strategies like plaque!

Chances are, your company is experimenting with different content marketing strategies that can drive in more revenue. By tracking your ROI, you will know the marketing strategies that are generating a good return on your investment and those that are not paying off.

You can tweak the non-working strategies, or eliminate them to boost your overall marketing strategy.

For example, you can capitalize on Facebook if it’s the main source of referral traffic compared to Twitter and Instagram. Your team can increase the expenditure on Facebook marketing, e.g., increasing the budget allocation to content promotion tools to spike your traffic and revenue amount.

The best part?

You can split-test different marketing strategies to boost the traffic amount from Twitter and Instagram.

2. Work within your limits

Your previous content marketing ROI shows the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. You should use the data to set your next goals. For instance, if your ROI is negative, you can set achievable goals like increasing it by 10 or 20%.

You can allocate more funds to the sure-fire marketing strategies. We recommend focusing on long-term goals and documenting your plans. Track your progress and consult experts if your strategies are ineffective.

3. Doing this instead of making excuses

The purpose of tracking your content marketing ROI is not to eliminate the non-working strategies but improve them, e.g., If you want to skyrocket your traffic, go to Google analytics, and note your highest and lowest sources of traffic. Try alternative marketing strategies to boost traffic in channels streaming in the lowest traffic amounts.

4. Streamline your Content Marketing Budget

You will waste your content marketing investment if you continually increase your budget blindly, especially if your current strategies are ineffective.

We recommend projecting your next content marketing budget based on your previous ROI. The data makes it easy to predict your next profit goal.

Allocate funds strategically on working and alternative methods. Select your next campaigns and project the revenue amount. You can improve your campaigns with time.

Pick your metrics, whether you want to gain new leads, exposure, or sales. Choose a budget and refine it based on the previous ROI.

Content Marketing ROI formula: How is marketing ROI calculated?

Calculating your ROI is easy. You should comprehend content marketing ROI elements like investment, utilization, and performance.

Focus on your investment first.

Ask yourself, what is the motive behind my investment? Do I want to rank top on Google or generate buzz on my new product? Having a specific motive provides a ground for tracking your returns.

Your content marketing investment will cover everything from the:

· Salary of your employees.

· Cash spent on writers, consultants, graphic designers, and videos.

· Cost of outsourcing services like research, content strategy and link building.

Quick note: calculating your investment can be overwhelming if you have in-hour employees though you can make rough estimates. Here’s an example:

  • Plan A: Outsourcing- Content marketing + copywriting= $70,000 per campaign
  • Plan B: In-house content marketer (100 hours at $100/ hour= $10,000) + copywriter (200 hours at $50/ hour= $10,000) + SEO consultant ($400,000) = $420,000.

Next, calculate the cost of distribution like influencer marketing, social media, and cost spent on distribution software and ads.

Cost of distribution: Influencer marketing ($1000), distribution software ($500 per month), PPC ($200,000)  

Add the cost to the amount you spent on content production to get the net marketing cost. Next, calculate your net returns and use this formula to calculate your content marketing ROI:


Option B: Relate your investment to the ROI. For example, if you invest $420,000 on content that brings in 10,000 visitors with 2000 monthly sales, in this case, your $420,000 investment streams in 2000 monthly sales.

Insider tips: what is a good marketing ROI?

A good ROI depends on your goals, whether you want to increase your social shares or obtain links from authoritative sites etc. For example, we can say that you had a good ROI if you created a piece that got at least five backlinks from authoritative sites if your goal was to gain exposure and authority.

Most experts measure ROI based on direct conversions. You can track the clicks and signs up. In this case, we can assume you got a good ROI if you created a high-quality guide that drove in 1500 new sign-ups.

According to Web Strategies, a good marketing ROI is 5:1 though we believe it varies according to your industry.

Takeaway: There’s no exact figure for a good ROI. The best way to determine if you have a good ROI is assigning monetary values to your goals then measuring it against your budget.

Why is Marketing ROI difficult to measure? (Bookmark this!)

Businesses struggle to calculate their content marketing ROI since it has lots of moving parts. Research proves that 62% of companies don’t know how to measure the ROI of their campaigns.


Source: Optinmonster

There are several reasons why content marketing ROI is difficult to calculate. First, marketers have to factor in several variables depending on their industry. This makes it more of a guessing game. The process is also time-consuming.

Second, it’s daunting to track the channels that lead to a conversion. Unless you use surveys, it will be daunting to account for new customers. Some customers can be referrals, old readers, or users who clicked your ads but never converted at that moment.

4 costly mistakes marketers make when measuring content marketing ROI: Not the obvious ones!

Your ROI is a key metric to comprehend the performance of your campaign. Your business is on the right path if you consistently experience a positive ROI, provided you avoid costly mistakes that marketers make during the calculation process.  

In this section, we will uncover these common mistakes.

Ignoring the right time to measure ROI

Some marketers rush to measure their content marketing ROI in one or two months. The truth is, measuring content marketing ROI is a long term game.

Picture it this way. We often determine the full ROI of our marketing after a complete sales cycle. Remember, a small-sized b2b company sales cycle takes around 2 to 3 months. A large-sized B2B sales cycle can take up to 9 months.

Say you pick a metric like lead quality. You will determine the quality of your leads after getting the number of leads that have converted into customers. It takes time to get results.

The same applies to SEO success that is dependent on the target market, the size of your project, and SEO efforts. You will have to wait for at least 12 months before you get results. Run away from SEO specialists who claim they can deliver high rankings in a few months.  

You should comprehend your sales cycle if you pick a metric like sales. For example, if your sales cycle is 12 months, calculate the return on your investment over the past 12 months and divide it by your investment during that period.

Using metrics carelessly

Content marketing ROI metrics are the cornerstone for measuring your ROI. You depend on the real results to steer your content marketing strategy in the right direction. You should use the correct metrics all the time.

However, several marketers measure their results against the wrong metrics.

Need some proof?

25% of B2B content marketers claim that their teams are proficient at using the metrics they selected. It indicates that a huge percentage of companies are still using the wrong metrics to measure results.

Here’s an example.

You will get the wrong results if you use likes and shares instead of exposure and authority to track results for a piece that received hundreds of social shares outside your target customer base.

On the other hand, the content targeting your ideal customer can get a few likes, shares, or comments though it’s effective in pushing them up the sales cycle. In this case, you should track the performance of your content using likes and shares.

Bottom line: Before you pick an ROI metric, ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of the metrics I want to choose?
  • Does the metric align with my business goals?
  • How long will it take to address the action of this metric?
  • Do I have the right tools to track the metric?

Select the actionable metrics. For instance, you can use exposure and campaign metrics related to gaining subscribers if your goal is to increase conversions through an email newsletter.

Tracking all metrics

Tracking all KPIs is great, but it can do more harm than good in marketing. Businesses that track all KPIs are faced with information overload that leads to time wastage.

Focus on metrics that matter the most to determine the impact of content marketing in your company. First, set your objectives based on your marketing goals. Use at most three marketing metrics that align with your goals.

Relying on one metric only

Some marketers make conclusions based on a single metric. Remember, several factors come into play in marketing. For instance, sales may look great in isolation, but there are numerous factors that have contributed to it.

To get your real marketing results, pick the right metrics that complement each other. For instance, you can’t also rely on onsite engagement alone without considering social shares and comments to determine if your content is driving engagement.

You will only determine if you’re getting high-quality traffic if you know your bounce rate and conversions.

Content marketing metrics that matter- Unbiased!

Here’s the list of the content marketing metrics worth tracking.

1. Traffic Count

The amount of traffic your site receives affects your ROI. You will make zero sales if nobody is reading your content regardless of how awesome it is.

First, determine whether your traffic amount is stagnant, declining, or growing. With Google analytics you will get the insights on:

  • Traffic sources
  • User behavior
  • Acquisition
  • Geographical location of your audience
  • Landing and exit pages

Semrush is another awesome tool showing your search traffic count and its value.

Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 3.57.29 PM

Click behaviour> site content> landing pages to get the amount of traffic that individual landing pages on your site are receiving. Note the sources with the highest and lowest traffic count.

Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 4.15.02 PM

Tweak your SEO tactics if you’re investing in SEO, but your site is getting little to no traffic.

Quick note: Always track the amount of referral traffic from social media channels to confirm if your social media strategy is effective.  

2. Lead Quality

A lead is the details on someone interested in your product though they may not be ready to make purchases at the moment. It can be someone who found out about your services through search engines or ads.

Lead quality measures the likelihood of the visitors converting into customers. You can improve your marketing strategies and increase your revenue based on your lead quality data. High lead quality translates to increased revenue amounts and vice versa.

There are several approaches to measure the lead quality, but we recommend using an approach that matches your lead generation strategy.

You will know if you’re attracting high-quality leads if:

· Visitors are reading your content and downloading lead magnets or content upgrades

· Your business is receiving calls from leads with pre-sales questions

· Visitors are clicking your product or pricing pages. Chances are, they are thinking of doing business with you. Go to Google Analytics and record the number of clicks.

Here’s an example of XXX visitors who clicked at our pricing page. We can term them as qualified leads since they may be interested in using Crowdfire.

Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 4.08.38 PM

Pro tip: Attract high-quality traffic to get high-quality leads. However, your business will attract low-quality leads if your site is receiving high-quality traffic but your bounce rates are high.

3. Sales

Lead generation and sales metrics work together. It’s time to focus on the number of leads converting into sales.

First, set up e-commerce in Google Analytics to track the revenue amounts that all pages on your website are generating

The other sales conversion metric you should track include:

· Sales cycle length: This metric reveals the number of days it took for a visitor to buy your product or service. It can measure the effectiveness of your content in pushing customers up the sales cycle.

· Assisted conversions: This shows the number of interactions a visitor had with your website before converting. Say you sell Jordan shoes. A user sees your product through an ad, clicks it, and goes to your site. He checks the pricing information and features then compares it with other sellers. The visitor decides to buy your shoes, then he returns to your site via Google to make a purchase. This is what we call assisted conversion.

To check your assisted conversions go to Conversions> Multi-channel funnels> Assisted Conversions.

Open a spreadsheet and note down the revenue amount generated directly and indirectly.

4. SEO Performance

SEO aims at skyrocketing the quality and quantity of the traffic on your website by making it visible on search engines.

Raking to the top on Google has several benefits like:

  • Improving your business reputation
  • Streaming in quality leads
  • Boosting the authenticity of your business

This is why 63% of marketers are investing in search engine optimization.  

Not yet convinced?

Check out the distribution of click-through rates on the front page of SERPS.


Source: Backlinko

The image above is proof that ranking first on SERPS is priceless. Most web users are likely to do business with you if your site ranks in the first three positions.

Your SEO performance will cover everything from tracking your keywords, domain authority, and Google snippets.

If you have several posts ranking top for competitive keywords, then your business is gaining trust and authority.

Quick note: Rankings change overtime. Use SEMrush or Ahrefs to track the rankings.  

It’s easy to check if your post is ranking top on Google. First, open a new page and type the targeted keywords. Say you want to rank for “affiliate marketing.”

Type it in in the search engine and check whether your article falls in the top three positions. If not, you’re missing out on traffic worth hundreds of dollars.

Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 4.21.30 PM

Pro tip: Combine your social media marketing with SEO to get more leads and sales.

5. Exposure and authority

Exposure and authority metric is mostly used by businesses seeking to generate buzz on their new product or boost SEO rankings. You can build exposure and authority both online and offline.

First, let’s talk about online exposure.

SEO and authority go together. You will skyrocket your SEO rankings and drive in more leads and sales if your authority increases gradually. The best part is, you will rank higher than your competitors if your page and domain authority is high.

Brands with high domain authority get more shares on their content which attracts high-quality inbound links over the long-term.

There are several tools you can use to track your domain authority, but we recommend Moz’s Link Explorer.

Enter your URL in Moz’s search box to know your page authority and domain authority.

Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 4.24.36 PM

Let’s now discuss offline exposure.

You will know that you’re gaining offline authority and exposure if:

  • Your business is getting several offline referrals
  • Influencers are inviting you to speak on a topic of expertise.
  • Local Media outlets are recognizing your brand

Pro tip: Increase your domain authority and exposure by creating valuable content and expanding your network.

Create a spreadsheet to track this metric offline and online.

6. Engagement

The level of engagement that your content generates affects your revenue amount. A low bounce rate on your website shows that users enjoy reading your content. You will attract more leads and close sales fast.

If your site has a higher bounce rate, then your content marketing strategy is failing.

To check your engagement levels, track key engagement metrics like session duration, bounce rates, and the average duration per session. You can find this information on Google Analytics.

Go to the audience section>click overview.

Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 4.30.05 PM

The picture above only offers information on average bounce rates. Click behaviour>site content> all pages and track the bounce rates on all landing pages.

Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 4.32.01 PM

Look at the bounce rates of the content on your site. Focus on the landing pages with the highest bounce rates. Confirm if your content does not cover the gaps that users are searching for.

7. Social platforms ROI

Your target audience spends more time on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

It explains why 91% of B2B marketers used social media to distribute their content in the last twelve months (2019-2020).  


Source: Content Marketing Institute

Target your audience with the right content that will make them take action.

Here are signs your content is doing well on social media:

  • Several web users like and share it with their circle
  • Your target audience is commenting and asking relevant questions
  • Your articles are generating a huge amount of referral traffic to your site
  • The referral traffic from your social media content is converting into sales

So, start by tracking your social media referral traffic amount. Google Analytics offers insights on the traffic amounts from individual social media channels.

Click acquisition>social>referrals.

You can track the number of conversions you’re generating from social media by clicking acquisition>social >overview.

Pro tip: Recheck your social media strategy if you’re generating a huge percentage of revenue from one social media platform only.

Next, use Buzzsumo to track the social shares generated on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit.

Copy the URL of the piece you want to track and paste it on Buzzsumo.  

Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 4.35.44 PM

Ready to get the most out of your Content Marketing ROI?

You deserve to track your content marketing ROI, especially after investing heavily. Your ROI will not only aid you to set your next marketing budget but determine the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy.

Yes, there are several marketing metrics that can make the process overwhelming. However, it becomes simple if you know your goals, pick the right metrics, and measure it against the goals you set.

This guide has everything you need to know about content marketing ROI. Go through it and comprehend the key content marketing metrics that matter and the campaigns they blend with.

Start tracking your content marketing ROI today. Soon, you will be among the 45% of content marketers who feel confident in tracking their content marketing ROI.

Ready to track your content marketing ROI like a pro?

With Crowdfire, you can find curated content, schedule your posts, engage with your audience, deep-dive into analytics and create custom reports. Now introducing Social listening. Try it for free.
















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