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The average business assigns 25%-30% of their overall marketing budget to content marketing. Marketers make this investment believing they’ll see a return more significant than the initial investment. However, since most content marketing returns aren’t a dollar amount and don’t appear for several months or years, learning how to measure the ROI of content marketing reliably isn’t straightforward.

Focus on the most valuable content marketing strategies using these tips to measure content marketing ROI.

Key Takeaways:

  • Content marketing ROI is often qualitative rather than quantitative
  • Track metrics that have the greatest chance of ending in a sale
  • Avoid relying on metrics like traffic and engagement, which only offer value when compared to other metrics
  • Focus on content marketing strategies that have quantitative results

Why Is Your Content Marketing’s ROI Important to Track?

The Return on Investment (ROI) is the profit you make after subtracting the costs involved. However, that simple formula doesn’t begin to capture the complexity of content marketing ROI. For content marketing, your ROI includes any positive return that offers value and has the potential to generate revenue compared to the effort and resources you invest.

Content Marketing ROI Formula

Tracking your ROI provides several benefits to your IT marketing department, including:

  • Knowing whether you reach your benchmarks and goals
  • Indicates whether you’re using your resources wisely
  • Points out the best channels for investing your time and effort

The Main Challenge of Measuring Content Marketing ROI

Most of your returns from content marketing are qualitative results. These are returns you measure using descriptive terms. Some examples include quality leads or high-value prospects.

On the other hand, quantitative results are measurable using a specific number. One of the most common examples would be the sale price of an item a lead purchased after engaging with your content.

Since quantitative results are measurable and trackable, they’re often preferable. But unfortunately, only 34.9% of marketers can quantitatively prove their content marketing’s impact.

How companies demonstrate the impact of marketing spending over the long run

One of the most influential factors that keep marketers from seeing quantitative results is that most returns aren’t immediate. For example, using SEO strategies in content marketing won’t yield results for 6 to 12 months, on average. Other methods might take years before you see the full impact of your investment.

However, there are several steps you can take today to turn your immediate results into quantitative metrics.

What Factors Go into Calculating Your Costs?

The first metric you need to ascertain is the cost of your content marketing for tech companies. This is your total investment, not just the cost of an individual asset. Each blog, e-book, or other digital asset doesn’t work on its own. Instead, they’re part of a larger strategy where you create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.

There’s a wide variance in content marketing costs ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 each month.

Some of the costs to include in your calculation include:

  • Content creators (such as writers, graphic designers, and videographers)
  • Marketing agencies
  • In-house marketing tasks
  • Content distribution agencies
  • Content marketing platforms and software

While these costs quickly add up, the content you produce will continue to generate revenue for years after you publish it, as long as you keep it live.

3 Metrics To Use to Measure ROI of Content Marketing

After calculating how much you spend on tech marketing, you need to develop a quantitative metric for your return, which is where the real challenge lies.

When choosing a quantitative metric for return, consider any metric that has the potential to earn money. Here are three of the most valuable ways to calculate your return.

1. Sales

Your sales are the most straightforward metric to track because it’s a quantitative result. For example, you can follow how many decision makers purchased a product after interacting with your content.

For instance, if you hold a webinar, you can track how many attendees went to your website to purchase your products after the webinar. Then, after tracking this number for the length of your campaign, you can compare it to the cost of holding the webinar and follow-up content you created.

However, remember that new customers are worth more than a single sale. A customer’s lifetime value is how much a customer can bring to your company over their lifetime. This includes purchases, upgrades, and subscription renewals they’ll make throughout their relationship with your business. It also has qualitative benefits like referrals and positive feedback that might encourage other customers to choose your brand.

Creating a customer journey map that tracks each touchpoint and sale buyers make will help you estimate your average customer’s lifetime value to know how much time and resources to invest in your content marketing.

2. Leads

Quality leads have a high potential to turn into customers, even though that doesn’t occur immediately. Tracking your leads offers a specific number you can use to calculate a quantitative result. For example, you can track what percentage of your leads translate into sales. Then, using that number, you know how many leads you need to attract with your investment to earn back that investment with a profit.

Tech companies have an average lead conversion rate of 5%. If your lead generation strategy results in a higher conversion rate, you know that strategy is effective and generates a higher ROI.

3. Revenue

Tracking your revenue will show your content marketing’s impact beyond just sales. For example, boosting your online feedback might increase your customer satisfaction rate. This can result in more customers making a purchase.

Even though your content marketing didn’t directly lead those new customers to your products, it indirectly boosted your revenue. You can identify these patterns by comparing your revenue over time as you change your content marketing strategies.

Metrics To Avoid Relying On

Many marketers like to look at their web traffic, impressions, and engagement when measuring their ROI. While these metrics are relevant, they aren’t reliable. You must look at these metrics in context with other metrics to find their value.

For example, 100 likes on a social media post might look good on the surface. However, if you compare that to your reach of 10,000, those likes aren’t as impressive because it’s only 1% of viewers who responded to your content.

Instead of creating content marketing with traffic and engagement as your benchmark, consider how you can incorporate lead generation or sales in your content. For example, turning your content into a gated asset allows you to track who’s interacting with that content.

Consistently Measure Your Content’s Performance

Do you know how well your content marketing is performing?

At ActualTech Media, we offer marketing solutions with quantitative results, including net-new leads. Instead of using your content marketing to increase web traffic, consider using it to generate leads through webinars and content creation used for content syndication and gated content.

Contact us to learn more about our measurable content marketing options.