The Non-Tech Guide to Content Marketing ROI

ROI calculatorContent marketing can be quite deceptive.

Here you are, blogging, tweeting, and celebrating your new YouTube video tipping past 5,000 views when you realize…

Where are the sales?

Without hard facts – dollars earned per dollar spent – your “successful” content marketing isn’t going to be “successful” for much longer.

But isn’t measuring the ROI of your content marketing supposed to be impossible? Don’t you have to hire a really expensive analytics firm to get answers?

No and no.

Your content strategy does produce results, and those results can be measured. You don’t have to hold a degree in computer science or a fat wallet either. Here’s how…

#1 Use ‘Goals’ in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a truly amazing program and it’s completely free. While GA is great for looking at traffic sources, landing pages, and other information, my primary interest (for ROI purposes) is in the ‘Goals’ function.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a piece of content (such as an eBook or guide).
  • Some users will choose to click and download the eBook.
  • After they download the book, automatically direct these users to a page on your website that can only be accessed by those who download.
  • This page should be a ‘Goal’ page in analytics. When a user lands on this page, it means they have downloaded your guide/content and Google Analytics will record it as a goal completed.

This action is only “analytics” – as opposed to mere trivia – if you act on it. Are only 15% of page visitors completing the goal? If so, then you might want to try tweaking the copy, design, or phrasing of the CTA.

Before striking out on your own, check out other examples of compelling CTA icons and phrasing.

#2 Conversion Measurement on Facebook

Todd Wasserman of Mashable recommends Facebook’s Conversion Measurement tool in his article on five ways to track social media ROI. With Conversion Measurement, Facebook makes it easier to see how a user interacts with your ad on Facebook all the way until they get to your website and click ‘Buy’. (Wasserman recommends using Optimized CPM in conjunction with Conversion Measurement.)

#3 Calculate Blog ROI (No Software Necessary!)

Get a kick out of math? Then you’ll really get a thrill out of Jay Baer’s nine steps for calculating blog ROI. In his blog post, Baer examines cost of personnel (which turns out to be shockingly expensive compared to insourcing), overhead, and web design/hosting/support to determine the cost of blogging.

Then, he looks at revenue-oriented behaviors on the blog, as well as their value.

… which gives us…

(REVENUE – INVESTMENT) / (INVESTMENT) = ROI (as percentage)

Trust me, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Check out his post!

#4 What About Mobile?

Land a lot of business over the phone? If so, you definitely need to know about Google’s “The Full Value of Mobile Calculator,” which lets you see how many customers have come across your phone number in a Google search and clicked ‘Call’.

This tool is still fairly new; Google launched it in March 2013. However, given the skyrocketing use of mobile, we can expect to see many more mobile content ROI tools coming out later in 2013.

How do you measure the ROI of your content strategy? What tips, tricks, and tools can you share with other readers?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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