If you’re like more than 90 per cent of Australian marketers, chances are you’re already using some form of content marketing. So what are you doing to measure the effectiveness of your strategy?
As the saying goes, if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This is particularly true for a content marketing strategy where the feedback you receive in real time can allow you to respond, adapt and optimise your content as you go.
Measurement is also essential for demonstrating the value and effectiveness of your spend, particularly if you’re reporting back to C-level execs or marketing dinosaurs.
The great thing about content marketing is that it’s easy to track and measure the behaviour of your audience, giving you greater insight than with an offline campaign. The difficulty, however, can be in knowing what to measure. Most businesses have limited time to spend on reporting, so efficiency is key.
Establish your goals
Recommended for YouWebcast: Growth at a Scale Up: How to Grow When You're No Longer a Startup
Calculating the effectiveness of your content marketing is fairly straightforward if you have designed a content strategy that tracks measurable goals. Here are three key questions you should aim to answer in order to determine the success of your marketing activities:
- Is the content driving sales for us?
- Is the content saving costs for us?
- Is the content making our customers happier, thus helping with retention?
This is the information that decision makers are ultimately interested in, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
What to measure
Jay Baer, digital marketing expert and founder of the Convince and Convert blog, suggests paying attention to four types of metrics:
- Consumption metrics.
- Sharing metrics.
- Lead metrics.
- Sales metrics.
Together these metrics will tell you how many users are consuming and sharing your content (your content marketing reach) and whether it’s paying off financially, which will help you answer those key questions.
Putting it all together
Now let’s look at the kind of metrics your content marketing needs to measure from day one.
User metrics are the raw, directly measurable numbers that you can track using existing software like Google Analytics. They indicate how your content is performing from a consumption, sharing and engagement point of view.
- Web traffic.
- Page views.
- Bounce rates.
- Social shares.
- Open rates.
- Search engine rankings.
Marketing metrics are the kind that decision makers are interested in, as they demonstrate how well your strategy is performing for the business:
- Leads generated – quantity and quality.
- Conversion rates.
- Cost of customer acquisition.
- Average sales value.
- Consumer awareness.
- Consumer engagement.
- Market share.
They are informed by the user metrics in combination with sales and marketing data.
As you can see, there isn’t one single metric or measurement that will give you the full picture, it takes a combination. Start by tracking your user metrics and once your strategy has been up and running long enough to gain real traction, you’ll be able to start calculating the marketing metrics and real ROI.
With that information on hand it’s easy to demonstrate the success of your content marketing strategy. Do remember your timeframes – content marketing is a long-term strategy, not a quick fix, so expecting results overnight could lead to disappointment.
Most importantly, be prepared to act on what the data is telling you. Don’t be afraid to make changes to fix or improve your strategy.