How to Measure ROI (Return on Investment) from your Content Marketing
27th November 2020
Content marketing done well, takes time, effort and expense. It’s worth it, but how can we guarantee this? We need to be able to measure our content’s ROI (return on investment) so that we can see that our time, effort and expense has paid off.
Furthermore, we need to do it so that we can see where we should be focusing our content and who we should be targeting our content towards in the future for even greater returns.
ROI simply stands for return on investment. In very basic terms, it involves looking at your content marketing cost, and then viewing that against how much revenue it brings in to decide its worth.
However, it’s rarely a case of saying X video led to Y number of customers, who then spent Z amount of money on your product. Your audience tends to bounce around from content piece to content piece, before finally converting into a sale, and even then, might not.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that content marketing ROI statistics are meaningless.
An organisation’s content marketing cost per month can vary. Some research says that companies spend on average between $4000 and $7000 per month. However, this figure is a little meaningless as it doesn’t take into account company size and industry.
What actually matters is that the amount your organisation spends is worth it.
That’s where content marketing ROI is important. It doesn’t look at what others are doing. It simply measures if what you are doing is worth it.
This information is powerful. It allows you to see where to direct your resources to greatest effect.
In a world where we consume so much from so many different channels, there are many ways to approach this. Some (e.g. a Twitter post) can be read in moments with minimal expense. Others (e.g. a comprehensive video) take more resource and time, as well as costing more to produce.
Let’s take a quick look at the main types of B2B content and how much they typically cost, so you can see what content might wok for you:
Outreach Partnerships: Partnering with others, such as using social media influencers, lends credibility to a brand. Instagram is the most used influencer marketing channel. Costs here can start at $10 per post for a nano-influencer up to over $1 million for a celebrity. A general rule of thumb is one cent for every follower when looking at how you should be paying people.
Written Content: Written content is prolifically used and can include blog posts, white papers, eBooks, case studies, testimonial and reviews. Costs are generally dictated by size and quality. The cost of written content can vary enormously. It’s not just the cost of a writer, there are costs associated with images, design, uploading and more.
Email Marketing: Email marketing remains a firm favourite in the B2B arena and delivers some of the best ROI. Mid-size businesses spend between $9 and $1000 each month on email marketing.
Videos: Videos are lapped up by audiences, as they’re currently highly prioritised across social channels and typically cost $1,200 to $50,000 to produce. B2B generally use these for product demos.
There are other types of B2B content, such as webinars, infographics and podcasts that are great for brand-building, but the above provide a good grounding for assessing ROI.Social media strategy examples form your favorite brands
So, how do you measure content marketing ROI? How do you establish if the above costs are worth it? The reality is that it is challenging. Don’t forget, you also need to factor in non-financial benefits, such as how content boosts your audience, or builds relationships.
Hubspot provide a relatively clear content marketing ROI equation:
(number of leads x lead-to-customer rate x average sales price) – cost of content) ÷ cost of content] x 100
Obviously before you establish the content marketing ROI statistics, you need to establish each part of the equation.
It can help to look at general content marketing return on investment for the popular types of content above:
Outreach partnerships: You can decide how to measure the success of activity such as using social media influencers, for example, by looking at the click-through rate or impressions. The State of Influencer Marketing 2020 Benchmark Report revealed that you can expect $5.78 return for every $1 spent on social media influencer marketing.
Written content: Written content is notoriously difficult to accurately measure the ROI because, on average, buyers engage with 13 pieces of content before making a purchase. It’s not all about direct revenue; blogging is the top form of content for generating awareness. However, what we do know is that B2Bs that blog get 67% more leads than those that don’t.
Email marketing: Email marketing has a staggering ROI of 122%.
Videos: Wyzowl has discovered that 89% of marketers report good ROI on videos and 80% say videos directly increased sales.
Looking at averages is helpful, but it’s also important to consider how you can measure your own content marketing ROI, as it will depend on many variables which are distinct to your business and niche, and the kind of result you want back from your content.
There are also various ways that you can try to track content to see how it is performing specifically. For example, you could use UTM links which track content, or ContentCal Analytics, which can help you measure the performance of your content, and take learnings for the future.
It’s also important to try and measure the ROI of different pieces of content on different channels to compare their effect. For example, if you push out the same piece of content on multiple social media channels (as per our COPE methodology), which is most worth your effort? You can then use this information to decide where to target in the future and how to manage your budget according to this.
Furthermore, remember that ROI takes time. Some pieces of content take longer to generate their worth, but then prove to bring invaluable revenue over a much longer period of time.
Measuring content marketing ROI is difficult, but that doesn’t mean we should shy away from its importance. Repeatedly testing to see which types of content are likely to be most worth our time, effort and financial resources is the most effective way of getting something from it.
We can then bring in our own methods of determining ROI so that we can refine our content marketing decisions over time.