Content marketing has become a huge business in recent years. The Custom Content Council estimated that the market was worth $44 billion in 2013 and has continued to grow every year. While content marketing can be extraordinarily effective, many brands don’t adequately measure their ROI.

How Do You Measure the ROI of Content Marketing?

There are a few of reasons determining the ROI of your content marketing strategy isn’t easy:

  • First, it’s not always easy to determine whether organic search traffic should be attributed to your content marketing efforts or other factors that affect your SEO.
  • It can also be difficult to determine the impact your content marketing strategy has on conversions.
  • Tracking conversions can be difficult if you have a complex sales funnel.

Measuring your return isn’t easy, but it’s very important. You are investing a lot of time and resources in content marketing, so you need to make sure that your efforts are paying off. Here are some tips to estimate your ROI.

Use Paid Traffic to Estimate ROI

Unfortunately, Google and Bing are no longer sharing information on organic search referrals. If you try to look at the keywords driving traffic to your site, they are all listed as 100% “Not Provided.” This can be a real headache, because you want to know which keywords drive profitable traffic to your site.

An alternative strategy is to create some PPC campaigns with Bing and Adwords. You can figure out which keywords are converting, because the keyword tokens are trackable through PPC. This allows you to figure out which keywords seem to be bringing in the most profitable organic search traffic as well.

Monitor Traffic to Key Entry Pages

While Google doesn’t provide data on organic keyword traffic, you can still use measure the overall traffic moving to your entry pages. You can also tell whether visitors clicked to your money pages.

Always Set Up Conversion Tracking on Your Analytics  

Google offers a couple of solutions to help you track conversions: their Goals and Conversions tool and a Conversion Tracking Feature. You want to make sure these features are enabled to identify users that are following through on your conversion goals. Google has a straightforward guide that provides details on setting them up.

Use Lead Value to Calculate Returns

Tracking the value of your conversions is pretty easy if you are measuring sales generated from content marketing. If users visit your website and make a purchase, then you simply sum up the value of the transactions.

Things can get a little trickier with lead generation conversion goals, such as getting visitors to opt into a newsletter or request a quote. You will need to estimate the value of each lead by multiplying the lead conversion rate (the percentage of leads that eventually become paying customers) by the average transaction value. It can be a little difficult, since purchases can vary and some customers may make repeat purchases months later. Over time, you will collect enough data to accurately estimate your lead value.

Calculate Your ROI

You can calculate the ROI of your content marketing strategy with this simple equation:

(The Money You Generated from Content Marketing)/ (The Money You Invested in it)

Many brands strive to receive a 200% return on content marketing, but that may not be realistic in your industry. The most important thing is to make sure your ROI is higher than other mediums. If it isn’t, then you need to reassess your campaigns and look for areas for improvement.