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Content Marketing ROI: Measure What Really Matters


Since the turn of the decade, both B2B and B2C marketers have increasingly employed content marketing. Of course, the facts are that content marketing is three times more effective for lead generation and is also less expensive.

Everyone wants to do some form of content marketing, but not everyone checks if it’s effective – 44%, actually – and that’s a problem. There’s also no confidence in efficiency – they do it because it seems like a trending marketing approach.

So how to know whether content marketing is effective?

When done right, it always yields positive results. But what’s the right thing to do?

You have to measure your results and ROI first and evaluate any needed improvements.

You don’t do content marketing because everybody does it. It has to be carefully planned, insightfully implemented, and intentionally measured.

Why do we say so?


What Is Content Marketing ROI

What Is Content Marketing ROI

Content marketing ROI is the percentage of what you’ve earned from your content marketing campaigns compared to investments. This type of ROI is a true reflection of your marketing performance. It means two things: you’re either doing well or need a tweak or two.

Often, when we hear ROI (Return on Investment), we generally think of money, and most believe that once they’re making money, then it’s all fine. Nothing wrong with a belief like such. Moreover, revenue generation is kind of the ultimate result we all strive towards. But how about revenue sustainability and customer retention? We must look beyond the money when we want to measure our content marketing ROI because it could be a one-time hit, with no depth and sustainability.

In this context, there is a process, and making money is the last part. First come the page views, likes, ardent followership, and active post engagement, all of which and more culminate into paying customers. So, to have a realistic and holistic view of our content marketing ROI, there are some important metrics to consider. We’ll discuss them shortly.

How To Measure Content Marketing ROI?

How To Measure Content Marketing ROI?

Here are 5 easy and generally applicable steps that let you appraise the ROI of your content marketing.

Determine your production cost

Notwithstanding the popular opinion that content marketing is a cheaper form of marketing, it still implies some production costs and in some cases, huge investments are needed. Your content production cost should include any amounts paid or utilized in the production process. This could be:

  • Cost of software or any tool enhancing content production
  • Paying outsourced content creators, if applicable
  • License fees for images or videos used, among others.
  • Cost of any other logistics relied on in the process of production

Determine the content delivery cost

After creation, next comes content delivery. What’s of importance here is that content reaches the targeted audience. The delivery process may also attract some costs for advertising and promotion. This may include;

  •   Social media advertising
  •   Endorsements
  •   Other forms of media promotion

Sum up all the costs

After calculating the production and delivery costs, add both figures to see your total expenses.

Calculate The Obtained Revenue

At this stage, you’re counting all the money that has come in from content distribution, not the spending. It’s best to keep a record of every sale made and money earned as it determines your ROI.

Measure your ROI

Every step above is important; they determine exactly how much profit you’ve gathered. Calculating the ROI is basic arithmetics. Simply subtract the expenses from your returns, divided by expenses usually expressed in percentage.

Formula: Return – expenses× 100


If, for instance, you spend a total of $300 in creating and distributing content, and subsequently get returns of $1500, then your ROI would be calculated this way:

Returns: $1500 – expenses $300 = $1200

$1200 / $300 = 4

4 × 100% = 400%

In this case, your ROI is 400%.

Usually, the revenue generated should exceed the expenses made – this indicates a successful marketing campaign. However, it would be unrealistic to expect immediate returns or profits, especially in certain niches. So while you wait for monetization, you can track other important metrics to measure your progress. Let’s discuss them next.

Other Valuable Metrics To Track

Other Valuable Metrics To Track

There are seven generally applicable metrics, and every content marketer must always observe them. Although all of them may not be beneficial to every niche or necessary for every campaign, you can still read through and make use of those best fitting your niche.

Social Media Engagement

With over 3.96 billion people actively engaged in different social media spaces, it has become an effective content marketing tool. It allows you to meet or engage many people within a short time. The good thing about content marketing and social media is that you may not need to spend so much on advertising or create awareness. You only need to make your content interesting and engaging, and the results will overwhelm.

If your social media audience finds your content interesting and useful, they will publicize it by sharing, commenting, retweeting, etc. Once they make it go viral, you can be sure there’s some progress. If people are reacting to your content, then money is just around the corner.

It is pretty easy to measure your social media engagement and know if it’s garnering the right audience. Most social media platforms have built-in tools that let you monitor and analyze engagement. A good example is Facebook. Log into Facebook’s business manager, and you will find detailed analytics of your content marketing.

Buzzsumo is another tool you can utilize to keep an eye on how your content’s doing. Buzzsumo is multifunctional; that is, you can use it on several social media platforms to track engagement.

Site Engagement

This metric applies majorly to those who utilize web pages for content marketing. A website or a landing page, for example.

Over a billion web pages exist on the internet and trust me – you already have competitors. So, being at the top of your game at all times does matter.

A recent survey revealed that users leave a web page within the first twenty seconds if they’re not impressed, so your content must captivate right from the start. The popular saying “save the best for the last” would work adversely here. In fact, aim to captivate your audience within those first twenty seconds.

You can use two major elements to audit your site engagement: bounce rate and website involvement. The first reveals how long users stay on your site. Try to keep your bounce rate low because it indicates that users stay longer on your site and there also are repeated visitors.

You can assess the bounce rate and other site engagement aspects through Google analytics. It also offers a good overview of your site’s operations, including all necessary engagement KPIs.

Web User Base

Web user base, also known as traffic, is an important metric that says a lot about content marketing productivity. A huge user base indicates satisfaction and acceptability. And if people respond well to your marketing, then you’re closer to making good sales.

You can measure the traffic rates by using Google Analytics – an insightful tool that provides a detailed breakdown of your web page visits and traffic build-up. It shows what pages attract the most traffic and what content peaks users’ interest. These results can help improve your content or targeting.

Lead Quality 

Most marketing campaigns first generate leads; then, those leads evolve into paying customers. Lead are those who have shown interest in what you offer, and minding if your lead is of good or bad quality is important.

A low-quality lead is the one showing interest, yet not evolving into a paying customer, or doing so very slowly. You can rate your content’s performance or success by observing the volume of quality leads attracted.

SEO Ranking

Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility on the web. For example, when you run a Google search on a particular subject, the results page pops out with so many websites offering answers to your query. You begin to wonder why some of them are on the first, second, even the 20th page, and so on. The ranking position of these websites is a function of SEO. Google’s algorithm checks all the websites using SEO elements as a yardstick and places them for viewership from the first to the last.

Due to website proliferation, SEO has become a must for site owners and content marketers. One of the most potent indicators of your content marketing performance is SEO analysis. It covers a set of specific elements that should be checked, such as:

  • Site authority
  • Keyword ranking
  • Inbound links
  • Website performance

There are tools that help complete a SEO analysis on your website and suggest improvements afterwards.

Call To Action Response

Most marketing campaigns end with a call-to-action prompt; maybe, you are telling your audience to buy now, subscribe, and so on. It’s one thing that people view your content; it’s another that they respond to your call-to-action. A high call-to-action response indicates that your content works well and the ROI is just fine.


This is a major measure of ROI showing the income volume from your content marketing approach. Sales are a reflection of the entire process and ultimately, a reflection of a successful content marketing campaign. If you own an e-commerce site, you can track sales data by adding e-commerce to your Google analytics. This lets you track important sales factors like:

  • Which pages or products generate the most sales;
  • Your peak sales time: what time are people most likely to purchase;
  • The amount of website audience that goes on to make a purchase;
  • The total purchases completed.

This information can guide you in making future improvements to your content marketing efforts.



Measuring your content marketing ROI is the only way to determine if your marketing initiatives are genuinely productive and profitable. However, you must understand that your marketing activities may not yield conversions and sales immediately. It doesn’t mean you are doing badly. Sometimes, a process has to occur before conversion. You still can measure your content marketing performance by using other metrics like engagement, lead quality, and others. It could take a short while before the actual sales start. But if you did a good job on your marketing, they’ll soon be flooding in.


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