How to measure content marketing performance

A strategy for tracking content consumption should be included as part of any greater content strategy.

This will enable you to measure return on investment (ROI) across different channels and refine your content delivery, to serve it how, when, where and to those who want it, leading to increased consumption.

By assigning a monetary value to different forms of engagement, content marketing ROI can be easily measured – with Google Analytics offering automated tracking of a number of metrics when you set up ‘goals’.

While digital engagement and ROI is easier to track than print, both are measurable. Here’s how:

Tracking Digital ROI:

Key metrics which should be monitored are:

  • Clicks
  • Time spent
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Contacts
  • Data collection
  • Leads
  • Sales
  • Revenue
  • Conversions

+ these broad metrics:

  • Retention
  • Loyalty
  • Brand perception – end users and suppliers
  • Average lifetime value of a customer
  • Ongoing engagement over time
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Consumption Metrics: How many people consumed your content? Eg. page views, bounce ratio, app / pdf downloads, video views. Google Analytics tracks audience acquisition, flow and consumption down to who skims through your article and who actually reads them. This enables you to refine content delivery based on what people are consuming the most. Moreover you can assign content consumption monetary value in goals.

Sharing & Engagement Metrics: How often do your content consumers share it with others or comment / like / link etc. You should measure social audience acquisition, flow and consumption. What content is gaining traction on social media?

Lead Generation Metrics: How often do content consumers turn into leads? Eg. newsletter or membership signups. Use Google Analytics and insert a browser cookie that tracks signups and assign that lead a monetary value through goals.

Sales Metrics: How often do content consumers make purchases? Eg. purchase online or in store. Are content consumers bigger purchasers? Which content? Tracking offline/in store purchases by members can be cross-referenced to content consumption where their login is required, however a login requirement can minimise total content consumption.

Tracking Print ROI:

ROI and engagement with a custom publication is harder to track. Ideally, audience analysis and market research should be conducted and then regularly cross-referenced. You should assess how much your print content is being consumed and what effect it is having. You should be looking at how print influences:

  • Leads
  • Sales
  • Conversions
  • Revenue
  • Retention
  • Data collection
  • Loyalty
  • Brand perception – end users and suppliers (if relevant)
  • Average lifetime value of a customer
  • Ongoing engagement over time

Other ROI comes from contra sponsorships (in exchange for publicity) of events, teams or organisations

If you are connected with your target market and audience, print engagement can be monitored through digital channels such as social media, forums, blogs and other two-way communication channels.

Moreover your sales reps and retailers are tapped into your market and should be your ears and eyes on the ground. 

Generally, engagement times with print are higher than digital, however deciding whether the printing and distribution investment is worthwhile depends on your target market and their propensity to consume print or digital media.

While you might think that print media is long gone, an August 2018 Ray Morgan report found that 67.3 per cent of Australians over 14 years read print magazines, while 74.1 per cent read either print or online magazines.

Furthermore, 10 of the top 15 Australian print magazines grew their print audiences in the year leading up to the report.

Whatever channels and mediums you use in your content marketing matrix, you should understand who is consuming your content, why, when, where, on what and ultimately what effect it is having on them.

DOWNLOAD our Complete Content Marketing Guide

The Complete Content Marketing Guide is a 30-page white paper detailing all aspects of developing, refining and implementing a content marketing and marketing automation strategy.

Content Marketing Guide

Content Marketing Strategy Development
Establishing Content Marketing Goals
Audience Analysis
Marketing Automation
Content Metrics and ROI
   – Digital Content Distribution:
   – Social Media
   – SEO
   – Video
   – E-Newsletters
   – Content Seeding and Amplification
Print Content Considerations
Legal considerations

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