Defining the ROI of content marketing is no easy task. Content aims to achieve different goals than traditional digital advertising, so while normal KPIs like online traffic, time on page, and social shares are absolutely helpful, they only show part of the picture.
A couple stats to keep in mind: Fifty percent of brands believe that paid content distribution is key to their success, but only forty percent of those brands are confident in their ability to measure the results of their content distribution effectively, according to Contently’s 2017 State of Content Strategy Report.
Content marketing relies on sowing trust between your brand and the audience absorbing your information. Therefore, it’s crucial they enjoy the content they’re consuming, returning, and learning - the latter being the hardest to recognize with certainty from simple browser KPIs.
There are countless articles across the internet, all claiming to have the best method of confirming the return on a brand’s content investment. Despite this seeming wealth of information, they are all missing one crucial component.
Here are what most marketers rely on to measure their content marketing success:
- Site traffic
- Time spent on page
- Unique visitors
- Page depth
- Bounce rate
- Social engagement
- Pages per session
- Referral sources
Here is what most marketers are missing:
- How people really feel about the digital content they are consuming
And here is what you get a better understanding of when you put them all together:
- Return on Investment
- Leads generated
- Conversion rate
- Direct sales
- Cost per acquisition
Factor in sentiment
In order to truly measure content marketing success, it’s imperative to evaluate how your audience is feeling about what they’re reading. Knotch uses Survey Units to easily gauge the sentimental responses of audiences viewing a certain piece of content, a content campaign, or across an entire branded website (you can view one at the bottom of this article). These units then provide a richer understanding of the content to the marketing team behind it.
The goal isn’t just to have another piece of data to point at while justifying your marketing spend - it’s using that information alongside traditional metrics. A mix of quantitative and qualitative measurements, in real-time, help brands immediately affect their marketing mix. This can then halt ineffective strategies, boost their presence in front of audiences perceiving their content positively, or modify their plan of attack in a myriad of other ways.
Build relationships with your customers
Traditional KPIs are great - but they don’t paint the full picture. It’s increasingly important to understand your viewers’ feelings toward content to inform your strategy. Your brand can have thousands of page views, but you can also have 99 percent of your audience dislike that content. And that provides no value to your brand, or no return on your investment. Unless your content provides real worth to the audience, in the form of education or entertainment, it’s not effective, and you aren’t getting your money’s worth. Success means building trust between your brand and your customer, but you can’t trust your content is effective just by putting it out on the internet. That requires attention to detail, and metrics that tell the full story.