The best thing about content marketing is that the dollars you spend go further than those of any other type of marketing program in existence.  But how do you measure your Content Marketing ROI (return on investment)?.

How to Measure ROI on Content Marketing

The ROI on content marketing can be tricky unless you have good analytics software to help. Because content marketing ROI relies heavily on the ability to trace where each visitor came from, what links she clicked and how long ago, tracking and tagging technology is the best way to let data drive your decisions.

Here are some quick tips on how to measure the ROI of your content marketing program:

Engagement

Engagement has to do with how many people are consuming the content, how long they spend on a website or web page and whether the traffic is finding what they are looking for. Metrics around social sharing (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), bounce rate and pages per visit are indicative of engagement levels.

Growth

Metrics around growth are important in measuring content marketing ROI. These include click-through rate, conversion (in terms of lead generation, demand generation or sales), cost per lead / cost per acquisition, sales cycles, average revenue, average ticket and churn (customer retention or lack thereof).

Is Content Marketing Furthering the Goal?

Regardless of each individual metric, it is important to have a good understanding of how content marketing is helping your business achieve its goals. As yourself these questions:

  1. Is inbound traffic converting (turning into customers)?
  2. Is the business organization saving money?
  3. Is the business keeping customers, or loosing customers?

Calculation

Content Marketing ROI = (Profit from content marketing – Cost of content marketing)
divided by
Cost of content marketing

*Information from Content Marketing Institute.

Read more about how to measure content marketing ROI at Content Marketing Institute, a learning center for the top content marketing organizations in the world.

long tail search graph

Chris Anderson coined the “long tail”, a term used to describe the infinite variety of Internet searches performed daily around the world.

Content Marketing and Long Tail ROI

The ROI of content marketing that drives long-tail demand is not cut-and dry.  Because long-tail content is more specific, it will receive fewer organic search hits than terms used in a paid search program.  But this isn’t always a bad thing.

The primary benefit to producing long tail content (content that is highly specific to a particular area of interest or niche) is that long tail content can bring in more “quality leads”, that is, people searching for a very specific thing and who are more likely to stick around than those who “stumble upon” your website.

Content Marketing can also be a much more cost-effective alternative to paid search in the long run.  For smaller companies that cannot afford to compete with the giants of the world, long tail content production in the form of a business blog, advice forum or custom online publication can generate a considerable amount of demand over time.

What is the difference between clicks from paid search and long tail (organic) search?

Paid search lets a company pay a fixed amount to receive a predictable volume of clicks from a few, high value, general search terms.  Paid search only works if the budget meets or exceeds the amount needed to trump the competitor’s budget.  For example, to compete with the paid search program of Home Depot, one of the largest home improvement chains in North America, Joe’s Hardware Store would need to spend his entire operating budget on paid search alone.  This doesn’t make sense for Joe’s.

On the other hand, long tail content receives an unpredictable volume of traffic from an infinite number of search phrases.  While Joe’s Hardware Store cannot afford to compete with Home Depot for the search terms “hand tools”, “power sander” and “driveway sealer”, Joe can compete locally by producing his own advice and publishing it online to address his customers’ most frequently asked questions about building and outside home repairs in a high desert environment.

How to measure long tail content

Measuring ROI on long tail content is not difficult, as long as there is an effective analytics tool that lets you track where the in-bound traffic came from.  Tagging and analytics is a recurring theme that runs throughout all areas of digital marketing, including content marketing.  If analytics tools are not in place, it can be nearly impossible to determine which content is attracting interest.  This makes it tough to decide what content to produce next.

Get a Head Start on Producing Long Tail Content

Here are some ideas on how to get a head start producing unique, authentic long tail content for your digital marketing strategy.

  • Repurpose existing content to attract new customers.
  • Create new content to keep existing customers engaged.
  • Create a content strategy that integrates all marketing channels.
  • To create transparency, build a content calendar the entire team can manage.
  • Use content marketing to drive short-term demand.
  • Create content for long-tail demand.
  • Ensure new content is tagged properly so you have the ability to track where your users came from and learn from their behavior.