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A Field Guide to the Four Types of
Content Marketing
     Metrics
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 yourself
falling 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 content
impacts your business. We’ll take a look at the crucial metrics within each of these categories and show you
how to use them to achieve your business goals.




               CONSUMPTION METRICS                              SHARING METRICS



             LEAD GENERATION METRICS                              SALES METRICS




                                                                                                               2
MYTH: Content marketers are in the publishing business.
TRUTH: Content marketers and publishers have very different goals.

As content marketers, we tend to
think of ourselves as publishers. But
there’s one significant difference to
keep in mind — the end goal is action,
not eyeballs. Measuring page views is only
a place to begin. It’s time to dig deeper and
get more from your content marketing.

What we must learn to understand is that content
helps achieve business objectives, not content
objectives. Creating valuable content is the means,
not the end.




                                                                     3
Consumption Metrics

Just 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 measure
brand 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 Mention.net, 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
Consumption Metrics

When Answers Spawn Questions
The consumption metrics you collect should raise a number of questions, like:

Do people consuming this content engage in other, more desirable
behaviors on my site? Do they do so at a ratio different from site
visitors 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 content
consumption, let’s turn our attention to sharing metrics.




                                                                                                      5
Sharing Metrics

Of all the places your content could reside, your site may have the least amount of traffic. Fortunately, the
web 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 metrics
are overvalued because they’re measured publicly, in full view of prospects and competitors. Assigning
an internal business value to sharing metrics is crucial to your content marketing. Otherwise, you may get
caught up in a competition that has no real impact on your bottom line.


                                                                                                                6
Sharing Metrics
Boost Sharing
With a clear understanding of how sharing metrics affect business goals, your next step is to make
sharing 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
LEAD-GEN Metrics
Lead 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 generation
and 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 comparing
your overall website conversion rate to that of an individual piece of content. For instance, if your overall
conversion rate is 2%, the eBook that’s converting at 1% isn’t working as well as you might think.


                                                                                                                8
LEAD-GEN Metrics
Measuring Indirect Lead-Gen
Of course, not all of your content produces leads directly. However, all of your content can contribute to
lead generation behavior. Therefore, set goals in Google Analytics (or a similar data program) to measure
how 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 own
custom URL shorteners (like Argyle
Social, Expion, and HubSpot) are
adept at tying social media posts
to landing pages so you can track
indirect lead generation values.



                                                                                                                    9
SALES METRICS


Ah yes, sales. They’re what the game of business revolves around. The ultimate goal of your content
marketing 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
SALES METRICS

Remember: if you’re going to track leads and sales, you have to do something trackable. To understand the impact
of 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 and
measure the impact of individual content components on retention and renewal rates. When you have a new
piece 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
ROI of Content Marketing
Content 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 the
investment. Then, calculate the return and use these numbers to find the ROI. Here’s an example with a
hypothetical 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% overhead
factor. Add in $1k/month for design, $100/month for hosting, and $100/month for miscellaneous fees.

TRUE MONTHLY BLOGGING COST = $3,600

                                                                                                                        12
ROI of Content Marketing

Step 2: Calculate the return
Multiply your leads per month by your lead conversion rate, average lifetime customer value, and average
profit 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 lifetime
customer value and a 30% average profit margin.

TRUE MONTHLY BLOGGING RETURN = $4,500

Step 3: Calculate ROI
Subtract the investment from the return. Then, divide by the investment.

Example:

 $4,500 - $3,600 = 900
 900 ÷ 3,600 = .25
  ROI = 25%


                                                                                                           13
ROI of Content Marketing
Sometimes, you just can’t close the loop on ROI because you’re missing data points. For that, there’s the
correlation 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 nothing
at all, making it an important and viable alternative.



                When revenue went up, content consumption
                          and sharing metrics also went up.
                                                                                                            14
Content Achieves Business



Content is the means, not the ends. Frame your motivation for content marketing with that in mind. The goal
isn’t to be good at content. The goal is to be good at business because of content. Measuring content comes
down to how well it achieves business goals. If you don’t measure, you may be spending money and tying up
resources with no return in sight.




                                 Content is the means, not the ends.




                                                                                                              15
ABOUT CONVINCE & CONVERT

We are social and content accelerators.
 
We work with leading companies and agencies to take their social and content marketing prowess from good to
great. 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, OPI
and 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 a
daily 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
ABOUT CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE


Our goal at the Content Marketing Institute is simple: we want to help you out with the how-to of content
marketing. 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 event
in the world), media properties like Chief Content Officer magazine (the leading trade magazine), and strategic
consulting 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

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A field guide to the 4 types of content marketing metrics

  • 1. A Field Guide to the Four Types of Content Marketing Metrics
  • 2. 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 yourself falling 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 content impacts your business. We’ll take a look at the crucial metrics within each of these categories and show you how to use them to achieve your business goals. CONSUMPTION METRICS SHARING METRICS LEAD GENERATION METRICS SALES METRICS 2
  • 3. MYTH: Content marketers are in the publishing business. TRUTH: Content marketers and publishers have very different goals. As content marketers, we tend to think of ourselves as publishers. But there’s one significant difference to keep in mind — the end goal is action, not eyeballs. Measuring page views is only a place to begin. It’s time to dig deeper and get more from your content marketing. What we must learn to understand is that content helps achieve business objectives, not content objectives. Creating valuable content is the means, not the end. 3
  • 4. Consumption Metrics Just 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 measure brand 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 Mention.net, 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
  • 5. Consumption Metrics When Answers Spawn Questions The consumption metrics you collect should raise a number of questions, like: Do people consuming this content engage in other, more desirable behaviors on my site? Do they do so at a ratio different from site visitors 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 content consumption, let’s turn our attention to sharing metrics. 5
  • 6. Sharing Metrics Of all the places your content could reside, your site may have the least amount of traffic. Fortunately, the web 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 metrics are overvalued because they’re measured publicly, in full view of prospects and competitors. Assigning an internal business value to sharing metrics is crucial to your content marketing. Otherwise, you may get caught up in a competition that has no real impact on your bottom line. 6
  • 7. Sharing Metrics Boost Sharing With a clear understanding of how sharing metrics affect business goals, your next step is to make sharing 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
  • 8. LEAD-GEN Metrics Lead 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 generation and 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 comparing your overall website conversion rate to that of an individual piece of content. For instance, if your overall conversion rate is 2%, the eBook that’s converting at 1% isn’t working as well as you might think. 8
  • 9. LEAD-GEN Metrics Measuring Indirect Lead-Gen Of course, not all of your content produces leads directly. However, all of your content can contribute to lead generation behavior. Therefore, set goals in Google Analytics (or a similar data program) to measure how 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 own custom URL shorteners (like Argyle Social, Expion, and HubSpot) are adept at tying social media posts to landing pages so you can track indirect lead generation values. 9
  • 10. SALES METRICS Ah yes, sales. They’re what the game of business revolves around. The ultimate goal of your content marketing 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
  • 11. SALES METRICS Remember: if you’re going to track leads and sales, you have to do something trackable. To understand the impact of 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 and measure the impact of individual content components on retention and renewal rates. When you have a new piece 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
  • 12. ROI of Content Marketing Content 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 the investment. Then, calculate the return and use these numbers to find the ROI. Here’s an example with a hypothetical 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% overhead factor. Add in $1k/month for design, $100/month for hosting, and $100/month for miscellaneous fees. TRUE MONTHLY BLOGGING COST = $3,600 12
  • 13. ROI of Content Marketing Step 2: Calculate the return Multiply your leads per month by your lead conversion rate, average lifetime customer value, and average profit 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 lifetime customer value and a 30% average profit margin. TRUE MONTHLY BLOGGING RETURN = $4,500 Step 3: Calculate ROI Subtract the investment from the return. Then, divide by the investment. Example: $4,500 - $3,600 = 900 900 ÷ 3,600 = .25 ROI = 25% 13
  • 14. ROI of Content Marketing Sometimes, you just can’t close the loop on ROI because you’re missing data points. For that, there’s the correlation 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 nothing at all, making it an important and viable alternative. When revenue went up, content consumption and sharing metrics also went up. 14
  • 15. Content Achieves Business Content is the means, not the ends. Frame your motivation for content marketing with that in mind. The goal isn’t to be good at content. The goal is to be good at business because of content. Measuring content comes down to how well it achieves business goals. If you don’t measure, you may be spending money and tying up resources with no return in sight. Content is the means, not the ends. 15
  • 16. ABOUT CONVINCE & CONVERT We are social and content accelerators.   We work with leading companies and agencies to take their social and content marketing prowess from good to great. 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, OPI and 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 a daily 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
  • 17. ABOUT CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE Our goal at the Content Marketing Institute is simple: we want to help you out with the how-to of content marketing. 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 event in the world), media properties like Chief Content Officer magazine (the leading trade magazine), and strategic consulting 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