Seth Godin proclaimed back in 2008, “Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left!”
Seven years later, that message clearly seems to have resonated, as 93% of marketers now say they do content marketing.
Yet the question remains: can the results from content marketing be measured? That is, really measured—in ways that matter to the business?
Certainly, there’s no lack of of activity-based metrics that are measurable: views, clicks, shares, likes, visits, tweets, mentions, comments, etc..
But is it really possible to quantify the ROI or business value of content marketing efforts? The six experts below express and explain their differing views on this question. What do you think?
17 Key Content Marketing Metrics to Start Tracking Today by jeffbullas.com
Guest author Aaron Agius details 17 ways to measure the value of your content marketing efforts, from time on site (“As a general rule, the amount of time your visitors spend on your site is one of the best indicators of their engagement with your content”) and landing page views (“Total website traffic is an important metric, but it’s meaningless if that traffic isn’t funneled to the landing pages where visitors can actually take one of your desired actions”) to total social shares and total leads.
Content ROI Is a Myth by HubSpot
Like the social media ROI debate, content marketing pundits and practitioners differ on the practicality of measuring the ROI of their efforts. Kieran Flanagan here contends “there is no single metric you can show your boss that will categorically give the ROI of the content you produce”–though he does outline a variety of ways to measure the impact of content on filling the sales funnel, attracting the right types of site visitors, and generating sales opportunities.
15 B2B Case Studies Show How Content Marketing Drives ROI by Business2Community
As a counterpoint to the post above, Rob Petersen doesn’t merely argue that it’s possible to measure the ROI of content marketing (and citing an Ad Age study which found that 21% of content marketers “say they are successful at tracking ROI”), but also showcases more than a dozen real-world examples which “show how content marketing drives ROI with B2B businesses.”
Content Marketing ROI Starts With A Strong Business Case by B2B Marketing Insider
Michael Brenner presents a step-by-step guide to building the business case for (and ultimately–if you can get reliable figures–calculating the ROI of) content marketing, concluding that after creating your content strategy and setting goals, “you need to be able to measure things that have a quantifiable value that you can take to the bank.”
6 Ways to Measure B2B Content Marketing Performance by Dun & Bradstreet CONNECTORS
Derek Edmond illustrates “how to demonstrate B2B content marketing performance in association with three primary challenges: brand awareness, thought leadership and engagement,” using common tools like Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, SharedCount, and Google Analytics.
How to measure content marketing success by iMedia Connection
Rather than focusing on specific, discrete metrics, Michael Estrin here describes how to develop a content marketing measurement system based on brand goals. Engagement measures are important, but Estrin emphasizes that “business goals still matter…It’s more critical with content marketing that you take a deeper look at what happened after the initial engagement.” He also notes it’s difficult but vital “for a brand to translate those ‘soft metrics’ (likes, comments, shares, favorites and retweets) into KPIs that a CMO can use.”