Content Marketing: what about ROI?
Even though Content Marketing is more in vogue every day, this approach to marketing is still criticized because the return on investment is considered limited or, at the least, difficult to measure. This is where tools such as Google Analytics can be used to measure the ROI of branded content campaigns. Here is an overview.
1. “Make them come” — measuring traffic
The most obvious measurement consists of evaluating the amount of traffic directly generated by the content. This simple approach, based on the analysis of Google Analytics’ acquisition channels, allows us to get answers to fundamental questions:
- Organic search results: is the content efficient in terms of SEO?
- Social analytics: is the content engaging enough to generate clicks from the social media?
- Referrals: does the content create value for those that consume it—to the point of being cited as a reference (external links)?
- Direct access: does the content make users want to access the website again (by bookmarking it or entering the URL directly)?
This first measurement is then put into perspective with the other means of generating traffic — e-mailing, media relations, paid citations — in order to compare the different costs of traffic acquisition and to find the optimal combination.
2. “Make them discover” — measuring visibility
Next, it is good to refine the statistical analysis to distinguish the known visitors from the new ones. While the first allow us to evaluate people’s loyalty to the brand, the latter are considered in the measurement of the visibility and notoriety of the brand.
Whether through a “buzz” campaign or a more long-term strategy, it is imperative to put a number on the branded content’s capacity of making new consumers get to know about the brand. For this measure to make sense, it is good to compare it to the budget necessary to obtain similar results by using other means of communication (a poster campaign, TV spots, ads on print media, etc.).
3. “Make them buy” — measuring conversion
Finally, measuring the brand’s ROI also goes through an analysis of conversions.
Of course, it is necessary to quantify the sales generated directly by the branded content. For instance, how many visitors land on the brand’s website due to a content element — an article found on a search engine, or an infographic shared on the social media — before placing an order?
Above all, it is very important to measure conversions indirectly generated by the branded content. In other words, how many visitors were attracted to the website for the first time by a content element and did not buy anything, only to come back later (e.g., by accessing the site directly) to place an order? This is an analysis that can be implemented using Google Analytics’ view filters.
Even if content marketing does not necessarily amount to a sales tool (or to a short-term ROI lever), it does allow the brand to build a marketing asset on which it can capitalize long-term. The goals of such a strategy include generating traffic, gaining visibility, and, finally, getting new clients.