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How merchants can track the ROI on content marketing

March 23, 2022

Marketing is one of the most important parts of any business. Without it, you will struggle to build your brand's profile and increase interest in your products and services. One of the most challenging aspects of marketing involves measuring its return on investment (ROI). This is especially true for content marketing, which is more cost-efficient than other forms of marketing but also hardest to gauge. To help you measure the success of your content marketing efforts, we've put this guide together explaining how to track the ROI and ensure you're getting the right results.

Set goals

Before you can track your content marketing ROI, you'll need to have defined goals. Otherwise, you won't fully understand what you're tracking. Before commencing with your strategy, ask yourself what you want to achieve. 

Is the goal of content marketing to get people to buy products, or do you want to increase brand exposure? If you're running a content marketing plan across social media, are you hoping to gain more followers, encourage interactions or acquire new customers? 

Setting your goals will make measuring your ROI easier, as you will know what to look for. Plus, it provides more realistic expectations about results. So try not to start your marketing efforts without having a clear idea of the end goal. 

Consistency is key

Content marketing is about the long game and being consistent. It's unlikely that you will see clear-cut results as soon as you start penning a few blog articles and writing an ebook about your services. However, if you keep at it and have a good strategy in place, it will only be a matter of time before you start seeing success. 

If you're looking for a time frame, give yourself a minimum of six months to get a good measure. However, that's six months of consistent output and regular contributions to your content marketing ideas. There's no point doing a couple of pieces of content and expecting instant results. 

For example, most research shows that 11 blog posts per month hits the sweet spot for gaining traction. On top of that, there are other areas to think about, such as regular video content, social media output, gated content, email newsletters, to name a few.

Use tracking

There are many tools out there, such as Google Analytics, that can help you track the ROI of your content marketing. You can track the number of sessions, traffic, how long people stay on a page – just about everything to do with the piece of content. 

You can also use UTM codes to see where people are coming from when they click a link. For example, write a blog with a CTA to a contact page. When people arrive on that contact page from the specific blog post, the URL will have a code saying that's where they came from. 

This allows you to see which pieces of content drive traffic to the more important parts of your website, such as product pages and checkout areas. By identifying successful pieces of content, you can refocus your energy on creating similar efforts to drive more traffic and sales.

Subscriptions and sign ups

In an ideal world, your content marketing efforts will lead to direct sales. This isn't always the case, however, especially as content marketing relates to the early stage of the sales funnel. Therefore, you can't expect high sales volumes from a blog post, email or social media post. 

What you can do, though, is track the interest. How many sign-ups are you getting from your newsletter? Is your follower count increasing across social media platforms? And are people spending time reading your blog posts, or do they leave the page as soon as they arrive? 

All of these aspects are measurable and can help you get a better idea about whether your content marketing efforts yield a return. Things like sign-ups and increased follower counts might not lead to an instant sale, but you're building the brand and your trustworthiness, which will result in more customers further down the line. 

Get feedback

Not all ROI measurements need to be a cold, hard number. Ask for regular feedback, both from your customers and peers. Doing so will help you get a better understanding of the impact your content marketing strategy is having on the intended target. 

The beginning of your content marketing efforts will look very different to the end result. That's because you will change and tweak as you go along. This is why feedback is necessary to a great content marketing strategy and can act as a vital ROI measurement.

Track, study, action

Content marketing is a great way to boost the efforts of your online store and build a more extensive base of customers. And tracking your ROI metrics lets you know the impact you're having and how you can continuously improve to offer an even better service to shoppers.