Tressa Sloane

With all of the time and energy that marketers put into creating content for their brands, it only makes sense that they want to know as soon as possible how their blogs, videos and graphics are performing.

However, a report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs revealed that only 21 percent of marketers believe they are effective at measuring marketing ROI. Another 33 percent ranked themselves as moderately successful, while 10 percent said they were not at all successful in tracking ROI for their content strategies.

One hurdle that could be standing in the way of effectively measuring marketing ROI is the question of “when?” Many marketers are unsure of when they should start analyzing their website content to see how prospects are responding. Fortunately, there are several metrics and strategies you can follow early on to learn more about how your blogs, graphics and videos are resonating with your audience, and how you can improve upon them to get even better results.

Read on below to learn more about how you can successfully measure your brand’s marketing ROI early on:

Start with the basics

It’s easy – and intuitive – to start with the basic measurements for content performance. Website visits, time spent on site and conversions are some of the most important metrics to look at, and Google Analytics will give you the insight you need into these numbers.

In fact, these three metrics were among the top factors that marketers look at when assessing ROI, according to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs study. Site traffic is measured by 63 percent of respondents, while higher conversion rates are analyzed by 48 percent and time spent on website is used by 39 percent.

Site traffic

For website traffic, take a look to see how that number has fluctuated based on specific content goals. For example, if you’ve introduced a blog series over the past several weeks with the aim of bringing in more visitors, has your traffic increased or decreased? This first step gives you more information about the success of your strategy.

Time on site

Next, look at the time each prospect is spending on your site and compare this to the traffic metric. If potential leads are coming into your site in droves, but not staying long enough to read your content, something is probably off. Being equipped with this data allows you to figure out which aspects of your videos, graphics or blogs might be turning off visitors, and also gives you the opportunity to fix those problems in order to increase the time readers spend on your site.

Lead conversions

Lead conversions are key at determining how well your content is performing and is part of the foundation of a strong ROI measurement strategy. You can start by looking at how many visitors have filled out forms on your pages, clicked CTAs and downloaded your content offerings.

Setting specific goals for your content gives you a benchmark against which to measure your strategy’s effectiveness.

These conversions should be measured by specific goals you’ve set, as recommended by Skyler Moss, director of digital marketing for construction software company HCSS. In a roundtable discussion for the Content Marketing Institute, Moss said his team analyzed how many leads each content piece brought in as a benchmark. Assess what your goals are and then measure your metrics against them to see where your content strategy stands.

Dive deeper

While the measurements listed above are great starting points for your ROI measurement efforts, it’s beneficial to dig deeper into the various metrics to find out which prospects are reacting positively to your blogs, videos and graphics. You can use this information to better tailor your content to these specific personas and boost your lead generation methods even further.

Analyze what your actual “return” is on your ROI. How much is your brand spending on its content strategy per month? How much money is being brought in through your blogs, graphics and videos over the same time period? Use these figures to calculate whether your business has a negative or positive content ROI, and if changes need to be made to the overall strategy.

Attribution modeling is another method you can use to determine how visitors on specific channels and throughout your different campaigns are responding to your efforts. For example, multi-touch attribution gives you insight into which campaigns and channels converted your leads. When you want to find out which of your content plans is most successful, rely on attribution measurements to narrow down on the nitty gritty details and get a clearer view of your metrics.

Don't be afraid to dive deep into your metrics as this gives you a much stronger view on your content's success.
Don’t be afraid to dive deep into your metrics as this gives you a much stronger view on your content’s success.

Look at qualitative aspects

Measuring your marketing ROI isn’t all about focusing on the numbers – it’s beneficial to also look at the more qualitative aspects of your strategy. Factors such as brand awareness, industry thought leadership and customer loyalty are all great metrics to look at when analyzing your ROI.

Perhaps you’ve syndicated your content, which put your company in front of many new prospects and helped to establish your credibility in your industry. Or maybe your content strategy boosted not only your generated leads but your customer retention efforts as well. Whatever the aspect, remember that these less-measured factors are just as important for your company.

There are several ways to jumpstart your marketing ROI measurement methods early on in the process, and staying on top of these metrics from the beginning is one way to ensure a successful and engaging content strategy.