So all online business or website owners know that good content is king, but it can be more difficult to determine what, exactly, is good content versus so-so content. Since it appears that, in addition to various back-end tactics, good content is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site, this is where a lot of our marketing dollars end up.
However, how would one go about finding out what types of content are the most successful and what the return on the investment is for the content that we use? How do you make sure your brand awareness marketing efforts are working? In order to do this, what we are really looking for is what the conversion rate for our content is, as this will help us learn what works and what doesn’t.
This is key, as every marketing dollar matters and the more efficiently you use your marketing resources, the better the results at a lower cost. A lot of people look at measuring their ROI (return on investment) for content marketing and social media marketing, and finding ways to optimize this data point to be incredibly confusing, but it really doesn’t have to be.
All businesses are different and different facets of a digital marketing campaign have to be measured differently. This is why people are at a loss as to how to judge and measure the ROI of the content they are marketing. The elements we are looking for to determine the success or failure of our content marketing efforts include website traffic, conversion rate, click-through rate, leads generated, and, of course, direct sales.
These figures will all come together to give you a clear idea as to what types of returns your marketing content is providing your business. But it isn’t enough just to look at the numbers. Content is unusual in that it provides a range of returns that are really hard to quantify, but that are important, like brand awareness, enhanced customer retention, corporate and media relationships, and more. These might seem like trivial things, but they are hugely important to the long-term success and viability of a company or brand.
This might still seem rather complicated, but trust that it really isn’t. It is easy to evaluate your ROI without costing a ton of money or it taking a ton of time. All you really need to figure out the ROI is a tool like Google Analytics that will provide you with a variety of data points that you can use to evaluate the ROI on your content marketing. Most of these services are either free to use or really affordable and they provide a wealth of valuable data.
You can gather and evaluate the data you need in four simple steps, which are briefly described as follows.
First, you need to download what is called “reverse goal path data.” That sounds really complicated, but it isn’t. You go to the dashboard of whatever analytics tool you are using and set the data range for at least a year. If you are using Google Analytics, you go to the Conversions tab, select Goals, and then select Reverse Goal Path.
The data output will show you wish posts or pieces of content have driven the most conversions on your site. These are raw conversion numbers, which are great, but we are looking for the conversion rate, not just the sheer numbers. This means you need to download this data as a CSV for further evaluation.
In addition to data about the content that drives the most conversions, you will also need to know your page views. You can find this by going to the Content tab, selecting Site Content, then All Pages. Download this data into a spreadsheet and add it as a column in the CSV file you downloaded for conversions. You should be able to open and manipulate this document in any spreadsheet program.
Now that you have these two pieces of data, you can find your conversion rate. All you have to do is divide the conversion data by the page views and you will have the conversion rate for that piece of content. This shows you which pieces are popular and which do little or nothing to drive traffic and thus sales.
So, now we know our conversion rate, which is incredibly helpful and can help drive or marketing strategies in the future, but this doesn’t exactly give us that ROI that we were looking for. Here, the process gets a little bit more complicated.
The thing is, if you want to find out your ROI by hand, it is an incredibly complicated process that takes a ton of time and will have to be reconfigured every time you want to see what your ROI is on a particular piece of content. And things like influencer marketing, which is becoming more and more popular as part of a brand awareness marketing strategy, will need different return on investment analytics as well. As useful as this information may be, most of us don’t have the time or interest to get this far “in the weeds.” Measuring your campaigns and keeping campaign success in mind is a lengthy, but important process for digital marketing.
There are affordable analytics platforms that allow you to see real-time data and calculate your ROI with ease, whenever you wish. It may be worthwhile to bundle this into your marketing investment. All you have to do is set up the software for your site and needs and after that, the data will be automatically imported and manipulated for evaluation. With some of these software suites, you can even customize your dashboard to have important metrics shown on your homepage so that you will see them every time you log into the dashboard.
No matter how you choose to calculate the ROI on your content marketing strategies, the results are almost invaluable. Not only will these data points show you what content is driving conversions and what content is failing to provide utility, they can help you better tailor your content and other marketing strategies to enhance conversions and, in turn, sales. Being able to quickly calculate your conversion rates and ROI give you a snapshot of a piece of content and give you a concrete statistic as to the value it provides your site. Use this information to guide content planning and creation, and take advantage of the myriad of data available to website owners at little to no cost, as it can provide a ton of useful guidance for future marketing endeavors.