3 Metrics to measure B2B content marketing ROI

Daniel Tolliday

Daniel currently works as content and inbound manager at Green Hat, a B2B digital marketing agency in Melbourne. Daniel enjoys writing about sales and marketing integration, HR, content marketing and social media strategy.

Content marketing has become a key pillar for marketing departments of all sizes across the world. But how do you measure – and ultimately prove – the effectiveness of the time, money and energy spent on content marketing?

Forty-six per cent of Australian B2B marketers say measuring ROI is their biggest marketing challenge, according to the 2015 B2B Marketing Outlook Report. Produced by Green Hat in conjunction with ADMA, the annual 2015 report surveyed 455 B2B marketers across Australia and highlighted the importance of measuring ROI and the difficulties facing content marketers.

But analysing basic metrics is just a small piece of the puzzle. To measure content marketing properly, it’s vital to first produce a content strategy then measure against SMART goals created for the buyer’s journey.

The buyer’s journey consists of three stages:

  • The awareness stage
  • The consideration stage; and,
  • The decision stage

So what metrics should be used to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts?

  • Sharing and engagement
  • Consumption
  • Lead generation and sales

Most content and social media marketers rely on this metric for measuring their success. What this metric reveals is how many times people are sharing content via channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – but doesn’t really show great detail or insight into engagement levels.

Fortunately, there are tools available that analyse engagement levels and shed further insight into how well your content is performing on social media channels. Some of these include:

  • Buffer
  • Klout
  • HootSuite; and,
  • SproutSocial

When you have plenty of shares, this is a good indication that your content is relevant and valued by your audience – even if it doesn’t reveal the entire picture.

How long do visitors spend viewing your content (‘time-on-site’) and how quickly are they leaving the page (‘bounce rate’)? This is the most well-known and basic metric that you can use to measure content and this data can be effortlessly acquired from Google Analytics.

With this data you can find out what types of content are performing the best and adjust your content production plan accordingly.

For example, if you notice your bounce rate is decreasing, this is a clear indication that your audience is getting exactly what they want (and you should keep creating content like this). On the other hand, if you notice that bounce rate is high, coupled with a short ‘time-on-site’, this means you should review the type of content you’re creating and try something different.

The previous two metrics focus on engagement and consumption, but what really matters when proving content marketing ROI is how many leads and conversions your content is getting.

When giving away eBooks or other types of premium content, you want to make visitors fill out a form prior to downloading. This process converts the visitor to a lead that can be nurtured through your email marketing process.

But what about finding out which pieces of content have sent the visitor to the lead generation form?

CRM systems enable you to see which pieces of content your leads are consuming – even after they have signed up to your newsletter. If your sales team converts that lead to a customer, you can find out how much revenue was earned and put a green tick next to the pieces of content they consumed along the journey – then give yourself a pat on the back.

Lastly, it’s more important than anything to create content that is not only aligned to your business goals, but also to the buyer’s journey. You need a watertight sales funnel and an awareness of your lead-to-customer conversion rate.

Tags: marketing strategy, B2B marketing, content marketing

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