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A Field Guide to the Four Types of Content Marketing Metrics


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This eBook will cover the four types of metrics that help marketers like you understand how your content impacts your business. We’ll take a look at the crucial metrics within 4 categories and show you how to use them to achieve your business goals.

Published in: Business

A Field Guide to the Four Types of Content Marketing Metrics

  1. 1. Too often, content marketers tell themselves that they can’t accurately measure their results,or a tactic isn’t measurable, or that they don’t feel comfortable measuring content.These are defeatist statements, hanging over your content marketing like a dark cloud. If you find yourselffalling into this camp, don’t fret: You still have time to get on the right track.This eBook will cover the four types of metrics that help marketers like you understand how your contentimpacts your business. We’ll take a look at the crucial metrics within each of these categories and show youhow to use them to achieve your business goals. CONSUMPTION METRICS SHARING METRICS LEAD GENERATION METRICS SALES METRICS 2
  2. 2. MYTH: Content marketers are in the publishing business.TRUTH: Content marketers and publishers have very different goals.As content marketers, we tend tothink of ourselves as publishers. Butthere’s one significant difference tokeep in mind — the end goal is action,not eyeballs. Measuring page views is onlya place to begin. It’s time to dig deeper andget more from your content marketing.What we must learn to understand is that contenthelps achieve business objectives, not contentobjectives. Creating valuable content is the means,not the end. 3
  3. 3. Consumption MetricsJust starting to set foot in the lush gardens of content marketing measurements?Consumption metrics are the place to start.Typically the easiest measurements to set up and understand, they answer the question:How many people viewed, downloaded or listened to this piece of content?In addition to affecting other metric categories, consumption metrics help you measurebrand awareness and website traffic. Some of the more prominent consumption metrics include: Page views: These are easy to measure using Google Analytics or a similar web analytics program. Video views: YouTube Insights and similar data work best here. Document views: SlideShare and Scribd both simplify your access to this data. Downloads: When un-gated, measure downloads through your CRM platform or Google Analytics and other web analytics software. Social chatter: Services like, Radian6, Sysomos, and Viralheat are all viable options for measuring chatter.This is the phase of measurement where some content marketers quit and let nature settle the rest.But don’t stop here — you’ve only just begun. 4
  4. 4. Consumption MetricsWhen Answers Spawn QuestionsThe consumption metrics you collect should raise a number of questions, like:Do people consuming this content engage in other, more desirablebehaviors on my site? Do they do so at a ratio different from sitevisitors overall?Do people consuming this content come back for more?Do they do so at a ratio different from site visitors overall?Consumption metrics aren’t everything, but they are important. To find the social impact of contentconsumption, let’s turn our attention to sharing metrics. 5
  5. 5. Sharing MetricsOf all the places your content could reside, your site may have the least amount of traffic. Fortunately, theweb has bred a culture of sharing, and this is totally measurable (if you look at the right metrics).Sharing metrics answer the question:How resonant is this content, and how often is it shared with others?Measuring how your content is shared impacts two significant content goals:brand awareness and engagement. Your sharing metrics may include: Likes, shares, tweets, +1s, and pins: Sharing tools typically keep track of these, with Google Analytics (and similar web analytics programs) offering additional insights. Forwards: Your email provider and Google Analytics can help you track email forwards. Inbound links: Tools like your blogging software OpenSiteExplorer, RavenTools, and MajesticSEO simplify how you measure these.Measuring sharing metrics is important for every organization. But keep one thing in mind: Sharing metricsare overvalued because they’re measured publicly, in full view of prospects and competitors. Assigningan internal business value to sharing metrics is crucial to your content marketing. Otherwise, you may getcaught up in a competition that has no real impact on your bottom line. 6
  6. 6. Sharing MetricsBoost SharingWith a clear understanding of how sharing metrics affect business goals, your next step is to makesharing easy, to help boost your numbers. You accomplish this by doing things like: Placing easy-to-use sharing buttons on every piece of content. Configure them to focus on channels your audience uses most often. Making sure any infographics you create are easy to embed. Enhancing your use of social proof by, for example, embedding positive Twitter comments on your website. Creating content that’s worth sharing. This can’t be overstated: If your mom wouldn’t share your content, it’s not good enough. “If your mom wouldn’t share your content, it’s not good enough.”Next, let’s take a look at metrics that are more near and dear to your bottom line. 7
  7. 7. LEAD-GEN MetricsLead generation is often an emphatic goal for content creation, especially in B2B.Measuring lead-gen metrics helps you answer the question:How often does content consumption result in a lead?Lead-gen metrics are named for the content marketing goals they help you understand — lead generationand lead management & nurturing. A few crucial metrics in this category include: Form completions & downloads: Through your CRM and URL tracking, how often visitors access gated content is simple to measure. Email subscriptions: Your email provider or CRM tracks how many visitors sign up to receive your emails. Blog subscriptions: You can measure blog subscriptions through services like Feedblitz or your CRM system. Blog comments: A strong comment platform (like Disqus, Livefyre or one built into to your blogging software) helps here. Conversion rate: How often do visitors who consume content become leads?Your conversion rate is key to viewing lead-gen from the highest level. It comes in handy if you’re comparingyour overall website conversion rate to that of an individual piece of content. For instance, if your overallconversion rate is 2%, the eBook that’s converting at 1% isn’t working as well as you might think. 8
  8. 8. LEAD-GEN MetricsMeasuring Indirect Lead-GenOf course, not all of your content produces leads directly. However, all of your content can contribute tolead generation behavior. Therefore, set goals in Google Analytics (or a similar data program) to measurehow content contributes indirectly to lead-gen: For key behaviors that don’t produce revenue immediately (like email sign-up), assign a specific dollar value. Set custom reports to show goals for each piece of content. Look at the new “page value” data in Google Analytics, which assigns value to each page corresponding to how often it is viewed “on the way” to a conversion.Tip: Social platforms with their owncustom URL shorteners (like ArgyleSocial, Expion, and HubSpot) areadept at tying social media poststo landing pages so you can trackindirect lead generation values. 9
  9. 9. SALES METRICSAh yes, sales. They’re what the game of business revolves around. The ultimate goal of your contentmarketing is (and always has been) to grow the business.Measuring your sales metrics answers the question:Did we actually make any money because of this content?Here, you’ll find out how your content impacts customer acquisition and sales goals.Your content marketing strives for these outcomes. The metrics you need to understand these include: Online sales: Typically, you measure these through your ecommerce system. Offline sales: You track these through your CRM and unique URLs measured by your analytics program. Robust systems like Eloqua, Marketo, and Hubspot will record which pieces of content your customers consumed, allowing you to put a dollar value on each component. Manual reporting & anecdotes: Yes, it’s even important to record those handshake deals. 10
  10. 10. SALES METRICSRemember: if you’re going to track leads and sales, you have to do something trackable. To understand the impactof a Facebook status update for instance, you should include a call to action that is unique to that piece of content.Don’t Forget Customer Retention: Your most important content audience is your current customers.Smart companies use sophisticated CRM systems to track what content is consumed by customers andmeasure the impact of individual content components on retention and renewal rates. When you have a newpiece of content, make sure your current customers get special access to it first. If you’re going to track leads and sales, you have to do something trackable. 11
  11. 11. ROI of Content MarketingContent ROI should be calculated at the program level first. There is no inherent ROI of “content marketing.”Rather, you have an ROI for each program that can then be rolled up to determine an overall ROI.To understand the business impact of your content marketing, start out by calculating theinvestment. Then, calculate the return and use these numbers to find the ROI. Here’s an example with ahypothetical blog:Step 1: Calculate the investment Multiply the hours per month needed to create the content by the hourly pay rate of the employees or contractors used to create the content. Multiply the result by the overhead factor. (This accounts for rent, insurance, utilities, etc., and is often 50%. Thus, a $20/hour employee [$40,000/year] is really a $30/hour employee when overhead is factored into the equation.) Add all other costs, such as design fees, hosting fees, subscriptions, software, etc. Allocate them to a content program specifically, or amortize them monthly and spread the costs evenly across each content program.Example: Assume 40 hours/month at $40/hour to produce a corporate blog, multiplied by a 50% overheadfactor. Add in $1k/month for design, $100/month for hosting, and $100/month for miscellaneous fees.TRUE MONTHLY BLOGGING COST = $3,600 12
  12. 12. ROI of Content MarketingStep 2: Calculate the returnMultiply your leads per month by your lead conversion rate, average lifetime customer value, and averageprofit margin.Example: You collect 25 leads/month from the corporate blog (determined by lead form, CRM system, etc).At a 20% lead conversion rate, you’ll generate five new customers. Assume a $3,000 average lifetimecustomer value and a 30% average profit margin.TRUE MONTHLY BLOGGING RETURN = $4,500Step 3: Calculate ROISubtract the investment from the return. Then, divide by the investment.Example: $4,500 - $3,600 = 900 900 ÷ 3,600 = .25 ROI = 25% 13
  13. 13. ROI of Content MarketingSometimes, you just can’t close the loop on ROI because you’re missing data points. For that, there’s thecorrelation approach.To use this measurement strategy effectively, you must: Track everything over a long period of time. Take note whenever anything changes, including PR coverage, website updates, or new radio campaigns, for example. Track multiple revenue data points, including total leads, new customers, average order size, churn, and total revenue. Look for patterns that indicate your content is working, e.g., “When revenue went up, content consumption and sharing metrics also went up.”The correlation approach isn’t an exact science. But it gets content marketers farther than doing nothingat all, making it an important and viable alternative. When revenue went up, content consumption and sharing metrics also went up. 14
  14. 14. Content Achieves BusinessContent is the means, not the ends. Frame your motivation for content marketing with that in mind. The goalisn’t to be good at content. The goal is to be good at business because of content. Measuring content comesdown to how well it achieves business goals. If you don’t measure, you may be spending money and tying upresources with no return in sight. Content is the means, not the ends. 15
  15. 15. ABOUT CONVINCE & CONVERTWe are social and content accelerators. We work with leading companies and agencies to take their social and content marketing prowess from good togreat. We provide social media and content marketing strategic planning, audits, and ongoing advice and counsel.Clients have included Maersk, Caterpillar, Visit California, Speedway, BMC Software, ExactTarget, Petco, Nike, OPIand independent public relations and advertising agencies throughout North America.   Our Convince & Convert blog is ranked as one of the world’s best marketing resources, and we also produce adaily One Social Thing email, as well as the popular weekly podcast Social Pros. Get a free eBook (The Power of Everything) Listen to the weekly podcast when you sign up for Social Pros now! One Social Thing. 16
  16. 16. ABOUT CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTEOur goal at the Content Marketing Institute is simple: we want to help you out with the how-to of contentmarketing. We believe the more you know about content marketing, and how to integrate it into your organization,the better you will market…attracting and retaining more and happier customers. We teach marketers through educational events like Content Marketing World  (the largest content marketing eventin the world), media properties like Chief Content Officer magazine (the leading trade magazine), and strategicconsulting and research for some of the best known brands in the world (like AT&T, Tyco, PTC and others). Get a free eBook (100 Content Marketing Learn more about measuring Examples) when you sign content marketing with CMI. up for CMI email alerts. 17