Unlike an ad campaign, which runs for a limited period of time and then ends, content, if done right, can be evergreen. It moves around the web, eventually reaching your target audience from a variety of earned and paid channels. It is for this reason that many marketers find measuring content very tricky.
Measuring the ROI of Your Content via Defining the Purpose of Content Creation
Before you dive into the many marketing metrics you can track, you need to know the purpose of your content. For instance, if brand awareness is your goal, the number of shares on social media is a good metric to track. On the other hand, if lead generation is your target, you will be better off tracking conversions on your landing page. Once you have the answer, refer to this blog post for the best metrics to track, according to your specific goal for that campaign or piece of content.
1. For Brand Awareness
If you are distributing your content on social media, track the number of times your content is shared. Tracking backlinks is also a good way to measure the reach of your content. In addition, you should track the number of unique visitors to your page that came from that particular social channel. You can do this easily with Google Analytics by navigating Acquisition- All Channels. Here, it is important to understand that tracking unique visitors and tracking shares are not the same. A lot of times, people will share your content on social media. However, all the people in their network might not click on the shared link, which means they won’t add to your visitors. Yet, they might be consistently viewing (subconsciously or consciously) your content in their feed, which adds to your reach.
2. For Engagement and Conversion
Most often, before people convert, they will have had some previous engagement with your content. This is how the sales funnel works. Newsletter subscriptions, webinar registrations, content downloads, and trial sign-ups are the easiest conversion metrics to track. If you want to dig deep, keep an eye on social media channels and see if people are commenting on your content. Social comments are the highest form of engagement, and if people are actively voicing their opinion on your content, you have managed to move them emotionally. That said, it is important to analyze the general sentiment that people are having towards your content online. If there is more negative than positive, you might need an urgent content strategy or PR crisis management plan to re-engage your target audience positively.
3. For Retention
You don’t always need content to attract new customers. Content can also be used to persuade your existing customers to maintain their subscription or buy another product. This is especially true in the case of SaaS companies. See how many people extend their subscription after reading that insightful white paper you produced. Here again, you will need tracking pixels to really measure the effectiveness of your content.
Given the potential evergreen nature of your content, it is also important to fix timelines for measurement. For instance, you might want to measure the effectiveness of a blog post over a period of three months. And define effectiveness. What is the bare minimum in terms of reach, engagement or retention that you expect? Compare that vis-a-vis the cost you have incurred to produce content, and you should have a good understanding of whether your content is working, or not.