Content marketing stands as one of, if not the most crucial element in a company’s advertising department. From multi-million dollar enterprises to the local start-up, content marketing connects to consumers through a variety of ways and several formats. However, how does a business owner and head of marketing know if the current content marketing actually is working? It’s all about the data here, which is why it is necessary to understand how to measure content marketing ROI.
If you want a primer on better measuring the ROI of your content marketing check out this post on the 80-20 marketing rule.
Here are some of the best programs and services out there, ranging from free to subscriber-based, for measuring the current effectiveness of content marketing.
Social Media Analytics
These tools (as well as Google Analytics) not only are the most widely known, but the most widely accessed. For businesses marketing on social media, it becomes imperative to utilize social media analytic tools. These tools are built directly into the platforms like Twitter and Facebook, designed to provide in-depth analysis. In some cases, the built-in social media analytic tools are the only real options for measuring the success of content marketing published to social media platforms.
Facebook, as the most used social media site, provides helpful analytical tools for quantifying marketing success on the platform. It offers a wide range of useful tools, including measuring exposure, social engagement as well as fan insights. This makes it easier to finely tune future content marketing on the site.
Facebook (and other social media outlets) provide basic information. It isn’t overtly in-depth, so having secondary analytical providers may prove necessary for companies investing in a considerable amount of time and resources for the platforms.
Other social media platforms do provide additional content marketing measurement tools, but none are able to compare with the sheer number of features and benefits as Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter Analytics is one of the main ways for content performance metrics within the Twitter platform. It’s free to use and is helpful for providing everything from exposure and engagement in posts to providing helpful insights on every tweet sent and how a current subscriber base interacts with the particular material.
According to Hootsuite (2017), Facebook remains the top social media platform with regards to the highest ROI. So when it comes to how do you measure success of content marketing, for many business owners this begins and ends with Facebook, as 95.8 percent of marketers see their highest level of ROI on Facebook. 63.5 percent of users said Twitter works as an excellent marketing tool with a desirable ROI, while the only other two platforms to push over 11 percent were LinkedIn (37.7 percent) and Instagram (40.1 percent).
When it comes to quantifying marketing success, few other third-party applications are able to compete with Hootsuite. This platform has long provided a host of tools for online marketers and business owners alike. For anyone looking for the latest in content marketing measurement tools, Hootsuite goes above and beyond whatever the website creation application offers.
HootSuite allows a marketer to not only look at website performance but also social media performance across the board. This way, instead of bouncing from one social media platform to the next in order to use individual content marketing measurement tools, Hootsuite provides everything in one location.
Hootsuite does offer a free version, although there is very limited functionality to it and, in this case, it’s better to just go with the free services provided by individual social media platforms. The pay-versions offer more tools for measuring content marketing success with a sliding pay scale. This includes a $9.99 for individual users per month (as of February 2018) all the way up to $100 a month for large companies. With HootSuite, it goes beyond just measuring social engagement though. It also allows marketers to track brand mentions. With this, the company can see how others talk about the business and either share the posts from others or move in and connect with negative posts in order to prevent any negative light.
HootSuite also allows for custom reports. As marketing channels and methods differ for individual website owners, analytical information the website admin relies on varies as well. The ability to create customized reports makes it easier to monitor marketing trends for unique websites.
Businesses need to take advantage of the power of YouTube. Behind Google, YouTube is the second most used search engine on the planet. Plus, as it focuses on videos instead of other content posts, YouTube remains, in many ways, unique. While the platform has shifted its monetization practices as recently as January, 2018 (publishers must have over 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch time hours in a single year to monetize), YouTube takes a page from Google Analytics by providing in-depth analysis while offering content marketing metrics that matter, including everything from measuring exposure, user engagement, what content connects the best with viewers, where viewers are located and so on. Beyond the importance of businesses using YouTube, to begin with, the built-in YouTube analytic services are important to turn to and take advantage of.
YouTube functions not only as a search engine but also as a social media platform. This separates it from all other social media outlets. According to Gabriel Atanbiyi (2017), CFA for Gatmond International, 58 percent of YouTube users access the site at least once a day. This is second only to Facebook (75 percent of account users access Facebook at least once a day). So taking advantage of YouTube Analytics can help direct and improve content marketing on the site.
When it comes to looking at content marketing metrics that matter in an incredibly easy to follow and read display, nothing compares with Buzzsumo. This service provider might be best known for its email-based marketing services, but the content marketing analytical data it offers stacks up to nearly any other service provider out there. Plus, while everything it shares is data-driven, it’s visually presented, so seeing shifts in performance is easier to grasp and understand.
Like the larger service providers, Buzzsumo offers a free trial, followed by a monthly service fee. The services come with a sliding scale, starting at $79 a month. For this amount, subscribers can take advantage of monitoring links and tracking mentions throughout the Internet. It also makes it possible to measure engagements, not just with social media posts but also with domain names, websites that send in the most traffic to the page and so on.
According to the Huffington Post (2014, updated 2017), Buzzsumo regularly scans and monitors over 100 million sites in order to see what trends, what draws in specific demographics and what helps drive higher ROI. This information can then be implemented into individual websites. The analytical reports provided to subscribers of Buzzsumo provides in-depth analysis as to how certain posts fair on different social media platforms and how altering titles, keywords, and other variables can help improve engagement.
Much like Hootsuite, HubSpot stands as a primary third-party service provider for measuring content marketing metrics that matter. However, one way HubSpot provides additional benefits to users is it goes beyond simple ways to measure content reach. It offers ways to generate leads, boost sales and even automate marketing, which saves time and boosts productivity. The service does come with a free month trial for any business, which can prove beneficial for companies looking to invest in the right content marketing analytics service provider without fully investing time, resources and finances. The thing about HubSpot though is, it’s not really designed for the small business or just emerging business, at least in terms of price. It currently runs for $200 a month.
Some of the ways HubSpot provides companies with methods for measuring content reach includes tracking SEO. The analytical element to HubSpot makes it possible to track certain keywords, how each performs in addition to the overall value of a particular website, when backlinks are created, where the links are shared and what keyword phrases should be implemented within future publications. On top of this, it provides ways to monitor leads and brand mentions throughout the Internet.
In terms of sheer performance tools, few other applications currently available can help with how do you measure success of content marketing like HubSpot. It just takes a rather hefty investment to take advantage of it.
HubSpot provides additional insights into other marketing practices in order to boost ROI. According to HubSpot (2017) reported data, it highlights which paid marketing practices are overused yet deliver underperforming results. With HubSpot, it provides analytical data into which alternative methods may assist a subscriber better based off of current market trends.
SEMRush provides analytical insights into search engine optimization. It works in a similar way to Google Analytics, although the material is often easier to read with the colorful displays and visual based graphics. One of the features SEMRush offers that Google Analytics does not is a “spying” feature, in which a user has the ability to track specific traits of the competition. This includes watching ad campaigns, backlinks and identifying what works for the competitive website marketing department.
Like other third-party service providers offering ways of measuring content reach, SEMRush allows for free trials and, once the trial period ends, payment plans begin. The entry monthly service fee begins at $99.95 a month and maxes out at $399.95 a month.
According to FourthSource, SEMRush provides a host of analytical information, including not only the top performing keywords for content marketing but the top competitors, the keywords used by these competitive sites and also how the company’s website stacks up against these different competitors with regards to specified keywords. With a “Competitive Positioning Map,” it helps visualize performance while measuring the likely performance arch of the website.
It’s impossible to go over how do you measure success of content marketing without looking at Google Analytics. This platform remains the most popular and most used analytical service provider on the Internet today. For a free service, it’s incredibly comprehensive. The application allows website owners and marketers to measure traffic, including where visitors are coming from, how long they view content and where links are being shared to. Google Analytics offers bounce rate indicates, which can help illustrate the engagement level of content while also providing an ROI statistical analysis.
With the ROI statistical analysis, Google Analytics helps provide measures of success marketing applications that specify what content is paying off (such as which PPC brings in the most sales and generates the highest level of income) and what content may pull valuable monetary resources away from what’s working. In terms of sheer amounts of data, it’s hard to beat what Google Analytics offers. First-time users of Analytics for websites also receive direct consultation from customer service representatives, who will help explain how Analytics works while offering advice and how to squeeze the most out of the service.
According to Placster, 55 million websites currently use Google Analytics (a number that grows every day). 55 percent of the top 10,000 websites online take advantage of Google Analytics, while 51 percent of all Fortune 500 companies rely on Google Analytics for performance and ROI information.
The Kissmetrics application provides comprehensive analytical data on a wide range of services. It offers many of the same insights as Google Analytics, in addition to implementing lead generating features while also possessing the ability to watch how individual users interact with a website (such as what they click on, how long they view pages for if the visitor runs into errors and so on). In terms of providing content marketing metrics that matter, few other services can compete. All of the features are designed as measures of successful marketing and how certain publications, social media posts or email campaigns translate into revenue.
Kissmetrics does provide potentially the most comprehensive set of complete tools anywhere. However, it also comes with one of the highest price tags. It does allow for a 14-day free trial before jumping on board for $200 (at least) a month. Training services are provided with Kissmetrics experts, with an additional cost of another $600 to $1500 for the training.
Quality content marketing requires dedication and devotion. It requires research to understand what might connect with a target audience while a qualified and experienced professional takes time to produce material based on the research. In order to make sure a company’s resources are allocated properly, it is vital for the business to understand how to measure content marketing ROI. By utilizing these different tactics and applications, any business, regardless of the size, history or products offered, can directly monitor content performance metrics and determine how to boost and improve content marketing in the future.
Additional Reading –
In my experience B2B content marketing has been really hard to achieve good results. Keeping track on the numbers and analyzing them show that content marketing it is not an easy task.