Although creating content and curating the perfect marketing campaign can often be difficult, the task of measuring the actual success of your content can be even more so.
Simply because marketing can serve so many purposes across an organization, there’s a staggering number of key performance indicators (KPIs) that could be measured. Due to their sheer number, it can be difficult for businesses to decide which metrics matter before considering how to measure them.
The right metrics often depend on your marketing goals and business model. But the task of isolating the ones that work best for you out of the hordes of metrics out there can leave you gibbering long before you’re done.
How do you make things easy for yourself and only focus on the KPIs that matter to your business? That’s what you’re going to learn while you’re here. We’ll put everything into perspective for you so you know precisely what KPIs are more relevant to measure your marketing ROI.
What does marketing ROI mean to you?
Before we go into the meat of what metrics should be on your mind when measuring marketing return on investment (ROI), there’s the little problem of what marketing ROI means.
Every marketing campaign is created to hit a specific goal or accomplish a set objective. For the most part, that objective will be to sell more products, onboard more clients, and generally increase your revenue.
That’s why OptinMonster defines content marketing ROI in terms of “how much revenue you gain from content marketing in comparison to what you spend on creating and distributing content.”
While this is ultimately true for most commercial companies, it’s not always the case.
The return on investment that a company seeks on its marketing efforts is usually tied to the goals it wants to achieve. This means that marketing ROI can relate simply to increase your level of customer engagement or social shares or even domain authority.
If your marketing goals are not centered (either immediately or ultimately) around how many more dollars you can bring in, then the general assumption of marketing ROI will fail you.
Mainly, to ensure that you make the most of your measurement efforts, it’s worth taking some time to think carefully about what returns you seek on your investment. This will go a long way to help determine the perfect KPIs that show how well you’re doing and how your efforts measure against your results.
The problem with measuring marketing ROI
The big fat problem with measuring your marketing ROI, however, is the sheer multitude of metrics to keep an eye on. Just so you know how incredibly dense things can get, Klipfolio publishes in this article, a list of over 70 metrics that businesses can measure.
Unless you’re an enterprise with immense resources and unlimited time, the only thing you’ll get from trying to measure everything on that mammoth list is a dry throat and analysis paralysis.
Thankfully, you don’t even have to try. It is possible to pick only the specific metrics that make sense for your campaign, targets or goals, and focus on those. How do you determine which ones to concentrate on? Here’s what you should do.
Picking the business KPIs that matter when measuring your ROI
There are four broad performance indicators that every business should keep an eye on when monitoring their marketing campaigns. As Eric Siu of SingleGrain rightly notes, these should include metrics for:
- Marketing spend
Why should you focus on these? Two reasons. First, they represent the broad indicators that tell how a marketing campaign is going, no matter how big or small. They’re also straightforward to follow. Second, they allow you to refine your level of focus on your campaign – either on a campaign to campaign basis or to your entire marketing strategy.
You should have at least one metric from each of these four categories as you plan which KPIs to track. Here’s a bit more on the categories.
These metrics help you determine if you are getting the desired level of interaction with your content. For instance, if you made a video, engagement metrics measure how many people watched the video, how long they watched for, how many shares you got, etc.
If you published a blog post or have paid ads running on Google for instance, the metric measures how many visits you had to your blog or website, how long people stayed and what they looked at longest.
You can use tools such as YouTube, Google Analytics, and SproutSocial to measure these. You may need to pick a metric for each kind of content you produce. Examples of metrics you can focus on here include:
- Returning visitor: How effective is your website at attracting an audience?
- Average time on page/bounce rate: How long are people staying before they leave?
- Brand awareness / social sentiment: How do people hear about your brand, and what are they saying about it?
- The number of views/watch time: How many people are viewing your content, and how long do they watch?
- Total visits: Overall number of visitors, viewers, etc.
These metrics track whether your audience is doing what you want them to do. For instance, if your call to action is that viewers share your content, Google Analytics can help you measure social traffic to your site. If you use email marketing, you can use your email automation tool to measure how many people open your emails or follow through on your CTA.
Some of the metrics you should keep in mind here include:
- Purchase funnel: What does your customer acquisition process look like from awareness to purchase.
- Customer attrition: What is the rate at which you lose customers over time?
- Click through rate: How often do users click through and navigate to your site from SERPs, emails, etc.?
- Funnel conversion rate: What is the rate at which leads move through your marketing funnel?
- Lead conversion rate: How many leads eventually convert into sales?
Tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs can help you measure how well your content is helping you rank on SERPs.
Mario DeAlmeida, Head of SEO for SquareFoot says, “You should focus on metrics, including:
- Average lead score: What is the quality of leads you’re generating?
- External web links/link building/domain authority: How well is your content positioning you as a trusted resource?
- Net promoter score: How satisfied or loyal are your customers?
- Keyword performance/ranking: How effective are your SEO efforts?
- End action rate/goal completion rate: How effective are your campaigns at getting your audience to complete a goal?
These metrics also help you gauge how many signups, new sales, or revenue a piece of content or campaign generated. You can use marketing automation or sales funnel analytics to get a broad overview of these metrics.”
Finally, you should have a metric or two that helps you measure what you’re spending on marketing, per customer or campaign. Keeping track of this expense enables you to identify if you’re making more than you’re spending or the other way around.
It also helps you determine what to fine-tune, rework, or abandon. Remember that your baseline for marketing ROI depends on what your actual goals are. So this may not be a straight comparison of your expense against your revenue.
It may include metrics such as:
- Return on marketing spend: How much revenue is your marketing generating, as against your marketing spend?
- The lifetime value of a customer: What is the gross amount of profit you have generated from a customer over their entire time doing business with you?
- Customer acquisition cost: What is the cost of acquiring a single new customer?
- Incremental sales: How well are your marketing campaigns resulting in increased sales?
- Marketing originated customers: What is the total share of new customers that have come directly from your marketing efforts?
Take your time and pick what works best for you
Keep in mind that there are tons and tons of ways you can approach measuring your marketing ROI. These tips will help you select the most critical metrics for your campaign or business and focus on those.
Even if you’re not able to incorporate as many as you’d like at the beginning, the important thing is to start. As you continue to invest in your analytics knowledge, you’ll eventually be able to leverage those crucial KPIs to build more effective marketing campaigns.