When it comes to content marketing, your Chief Marketing Officer wants to see real, metrics-driven results. From storytelling to generating thought leadership, facilitating customer engagement and moving prospects through your sales funnel, it’s imperative that you develop a solid analytics strategy to navigate your content marketing maze and measure success.
Be careful, though. Before you know it, you could find yourself buried in the world’s biggest data dump. Keep your creative-brain in check by focusing on a set of core content marketing metrics that matter most to your CMO. Here are some ideas for getting started:
This concept relates to stickiness – in other words, how much and how often your prospects and customers are engaging with and returning to your site. Pay attention to the following metrics to understand areas where engagement is strong:
o Unique Visitors: The total number of distinct visitors, or individuals, that come to your site in a given time period.
o Page Views: The total number of pages viewed on our website in a given time period.
o Average Visit Duration: The average time spent on your website, per visit. This number is determined by dividing the total duration of all visits by the number of visits in a given time period.
o Return Visits: The number of total visits from users who have visited your website previously.
o Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who enter your site, view one page and exit, or “bounce”, without viewing additional content.
Be sure to pinpoint areas of low engagement so you can make improvements, but also look beyond the numbers to fully understand why performance may be weak. Is the your copy engaging, to-the-point and interesting to your end-user? Is your content easy to digest? Are you publishing topics that align with the needs and interests of your target audience?
When thinking about virality, it’s important to look at who made it go viral in the first place and understanding the quality of your audience and those who are reading and sharing your content.
Word of mouth is powerful. When people value your services, they are more inclined to make their perspectives known. Given the nature of today’s social web, the level of exposure is that much greater, with the potential to generate incremental business through organic traffic.
Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing at Wharton Business School points out that consumers are more likely to talk about products and companies they find personally relevant, emotionally engaging and practical.
If your brand encapsulates the above dimensions, you’ll begin to see an uptick in SEO and organic traffic, which is essentially free marketing for your brand.
At face value, shares and tweets seem hard to measure from an ROI perspective. However, social media metrics are important, as they reflect your brand’s level of influence among certain audiences.
Shares give your content a higher probability of gaining visibility. Viral content has the potential to generate conversation and engagement. Take the Dollar Shave Club as an example. This Santa Monica start-up was able to jumpstart its consumer following with production of one clever video. It generated over 12,000 user sign-ups within days of the video’s launch. In this case, social media was a direct driver of brand awareness, and incremental revenue.
3. Leads and Conversions
As a B2B marketer, driving leads to the sales team is your primary goal. Content marketing is crucial when it comes to building awareness, attracting new interest and driving leads through the sales funnel.
When it comes to leads, it’s important to measure the number of leads coming in through content marketing. This can happen in a variety of ways, as we addressed earlier. It’s crucial that every “entry point” into your content marketing is tagged with some kind of analytics code or munchkin. This allows you to see exactly where the leads are coming from, such as social media, advertising email marketing, etc.
It’s also important to measure the quality of these leads by forecasting a dollar amount on how much the lead will be worth. Obviously, a lead that comes from a white paper will be less valuable than a lead that fills out a form requesting more pricing information.
Next, it’s important to measure how leads are interacting with your content throughout the purchase funnel. Do they first become interested through high-value content such as a white paper or detailed guide? Do you offer up case studies later on in the buying cycle? It’s necessary to map buyers personas against the full purchase funnel, this way you plan what content gets served at each step of the way, ensuring that content is appropriate for that lead at that specific point in the decision process. When you strategically control the volume and type of content a lead receives at each step, you can then determine ways to improve your content marketing efforts down the line.
Tying revenue to your content marketing efforts is incredibly difficult, but, at the end of the day, it’s absolutely necessary to proving your value as a content marketer.
In order to measure this, you must know the total amount of sales deals closed that can be attributed to content marketing – both directly (i.e. a user first engages with your business through content, either by downloading a white paper, subscribing to a newsletter, requesting to talk to sales after reading the blog or signing up for a webinar) and indirectly (the lead was nurtured with content during the decision making process.
What to look for:
· Revenue attributed to content marketing
· The percentage of revenue from content marketing in relation to other marketing efforts
· The percentage of revenue from content marketing as a portion of total revenue
5. Lifetime Value & Customer Acquisition Cost
The lifetime value of a customer is the expected revenue youwill receive from a customer until they churn. You want your customer relationships to last for the long-term, so make sure to adjust your revenue expectations accordingly. How much revenue do you expect your clients to bring in until they churn or until their contract expires? Make sure to address this question over the span of multiple years, across your various user segments.
Now comes the fun part. As a content marketer, you need to make the most of a finite budget for developing content and recruiting eyeballs. With so many marketing solutions available through channels such as email, social media and paid advertising, you need to make sure your content plan attracts your highest-value customers.
So how much should you spend on content marketing?
It depends on how much each customer costs to retain. To calculate your customer acquisition cost, evaluate your content marketing spend across the entire population of visitors you bring to your website or blog. Only a small portion of these visitors will convert into paying customers.
Let’s take a look at the ratio between your customer acquisition and lifetime customer value. Best practices state that the lifetime customer value to cost ratio must be greater than three. In other words, for every dollar you spend, you should get back 3 in return.
Is the marketing effort worth the ROI? Understanding your average customer value will help you answer this mission-critical question.