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How to Measure the ROI of Content

by Eric Lebowitz


 If you work as a marketer (or even if you don't) you have likely heard somebody say "Content Is King!" over the past few years. And good content is essential to a robust and successful marketing strategy. High-quality content serves many purposes, including educating your customers and prospects and improving your search results

Content marketing has exploded in recent years, and organizations are doing it more effectively. In fact, 62 percent of B2B marketers in North America say that compared to last year, their approach to content marketing has been much more or somewhat more successful. 

But as with any trend, content marketing is evolving. Leadership teams are now asking what content is worth to their company's bottom line, which can be a tricky question to answer, especially if you haven't thought about it in advance. So, to get you started on the path to building a business case for increased investment in content marketing and proving its financial impact, here are a few ways to measure content's ROI:

1. Lead Generation: Looking at the number of new contacts content brings into a database is perhaps the most common way organizations measure the value of content, and for good reason. Most marketers measure success at least in part by the number of potential customers they bring in, and content can be a huge part of lead generation efforts. Lead generation through content consists mostly of conversions and subscriptions. For instance, white paper downloads, webinar sign-ups or blog subscriptions bring new names into your system, expanding your universe of potential customers. If those prospects do end up purchasing products or services from your organization, that revenue can be traced directly back to content. In those cases, it is fairly simple to look at how much it cost you to produce that content and how much revenue it ultimately generated.


2. SEO vs Paid Search: Looking at your organic search rankings and comparing them to what you would have had to spend on paid search is a good way to evavalue for your content. For instance, if you produce great content that matches what people are searching for and that naturally emphasizes long-tail keyword phrases, your search rankings may improve. Then, you can look at your favorite keyword tool and determine what your cost-per-click would have been through a pay-per-click campaign. Now, this kind of analysis can get fairly complex if you want to drill down to your click-through-rates for specific keywords and then ultimately to measure the value of each of those clicks. If you want a more in-depth look at this tactic, take a look at this awesome article.

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3. Attribution Modeling: Perhaps the most complex, yet useful, way to measure content is with an attribution model that attaches monetary value to specific pieces of content. You can do this in several ways:

  • Compare the sales cycle for customers that consumed content to those that did not to determine whether content helps shorten the average cycle.
  • Review historical data to create a formula that assigns a percentage of each closed deal to marketing if the customer consumed content before making a purchase. (i.e. a white paper might be worth 20% of a deal, while a blog or email might be 10%)
  • Consult with sales to create a “full path” attribution model that accounts for bottom-of-the-funnel assets, including sales enablement content created by marketing.

Keep in mind that attribution models are still considered a fairly advanced step for many marketing departments. If this is the case for your organization, consider starting with a relatively simple ROI model. But whether you are already measuring your content's ROI or are looking to get started, I highly recommend this article, which tackles the various types of attribution models. 

Are you looking to begin assigning value to your content but need help getting started? Please reach out to schedule a consultation with one of our marketing experts!

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Topics: Content Marketing, SEO and SEM, ROI of Content, Marketing Attribution, Attribution Models, ROI