How to Measure Content Marketing Success?

Salan Khalkho
Last Updated: 23 Oct, 2019

Unless you have a system to measure the results on your content marketing efforts, you will never know the ROI (return on investment) on your content.

Do you know the ROI on your content marketing?

You will learn three things in this article

  • What is content marketing ROI
  • How you can measure the content marketing ROI
  • What are the metrics to track content marketing ROI

In this article you will also learn a couple of other ways to benefit your business from content marketing. 

What is content marketing ROI?

Content marketing ROI  is a percentage that shows how much revenue your business has made from content marketing,  compared to what you have to spend in creating those contents. 

It is one of the most important metrics to measure content marketing success because it is directly linked to revenue?

However, money is not the only effective factor to measure the success of a content marketing strategy. If your content is not driving page-views, visitors aren’t engaging with the content and sharing it, you will not make any revenue. 

Therefore it is very important to figure out content marketing metrics to measure the ROI,  at an early stage. Towards the end of this article, we will look at 7 important metrics to measure the ROI of your content marketing efforts. 

Let's look at the formula to measure content marketing ROI. The formula will help you arrive at exact figures  your content marketing is helping you to earn.

How you can measure the content marketing ROI?

The formula to calculate content marketing ROI follows 4 step process. 

  • Amount spent on content creation
  • Content distribution cost
  • Calculate sales directly from content
  • Calculate ROI on your content marketing 

1. Amount spent on content creation

Here are some of the cost associated with content creation 

  • Content writer’s salary
  • Cost of image,  video,  audio
  • Expenses related to outsourced work

2. Content distribution cost

Effective content distribution is as important as creating a high value content. If a content is not promoted effectively it may not derive desired results. You are some of the cost associated with content distribution. 

  • Paid promotion such as PPC, social and other channels.
  • Paid tools and software  for competitor analysis and effective content distribution.

You should also include any in house cost involved. 

3. Calculate sales directly from content

In this step you should add up all the sales that resulted from the piece of content for which you want to measure the ROI. 

Often there is a clear link between content and revenue. For example, when a visitor reads a piece of content  click the “call to action” and buy something or subscribe to your product.

But in most cases, it takes much longer time for a visitor to arrive at a buying decision. In such cases  the relationship between content and sales is not direct and therefore it is very difficult to establish a link between content and the associated sales. 

At the end of the article we will look at marketing metrics to measure less obvious marketing connection with the resulting sales. 

4. Calculate ROI on your content marketing

Here is a formula for calculating the content marketing ROI.

Return minus investment, divided by investment and expressed as a percentage.

For example, if you spend a budget of $1000 on content creation and promotion and get a lead worth $3000, then your content marketing ROI is 200%.

(Return) $3000 – (Investment) $1000 = $2000

$2000 / $1000 = 2

2 x 100% = 200% (ROI)

But how would know the ROI you got from your content marketing was worth the time, effort and money?

The simple rule is that if your earnings in sales are more than the cost you have spent on content creation and promoting it, then it’s worth it. Moreover, the content that you have produced will keep bringing new visitors and sales to your business for the next few months and years to come. 

The above examples gives a very basic understanding of how ROI for content marketing should work. Now we will look at some KEY Metrics that will help understand and effectively report on content marketing ROI that makes sense and is in your business interest. 

Content marketing metrics

There are many metrics in which we can measure the effectiveness of content marketing. In this article will look at 6 matrix that matters the most in content marketing. These are:

  1. Quality of lead generated
  2. Total number of sales
  3. Traffic on the website 
  4. Content engagement
  5. Content ranking on SERP 

In this article we will look at each of them in detail. But since every business different, you can focus only on those metrics that matter the most for your business depending on the goals. 

How would you know which content marketing metrics is important for you to track and which one you can leave out?

As I said it depends on the goals and objective,  I will try to explain this with two examples. 

  • If you are writing a pillar content for your blog to attract link and thereby boost your search engine ranking. Then your most important metric should be to measure  back-links generated to the pillar content and the following improvement in search engine ranking after the post has been published. 
  • In another example, if you are planning a social media campaign to create a buzz around a new product launch,  your most important metric should be the number of media mention generated and social media engagement in terms of like and share. 

To arrive at accurate content marketing ROI,  you should plan in advance and set specific goals.  you should also have only a few but meaningful metrics to track. Now let's look at each of the metrics  listed above. 

1. Quality of lead generated

When we are talking about content marketing, the first rule for great content is one that drive targeted traffic which converts into leads. If your content is not driving the right kind of traffic,  it will not convert and will not generate any leads or business. Here are three ways to identify great content:

  • The visitors are subscribing to lead magnet. It gives a rough idea that they may be interested in doing business with you. 
  • Visitors also take time to read other related resources that are part of your marketing and sales funnel. 
  • Your sales team receives interest and inquiries related to pre-sales question.

These are some examples that tell that your content is generating qualified leads. One of the best ways to track if the visitors are qualified is to check whether they are visiting the important pages on your website such as the pricing page.

If your articles are getting a high number of traffic but there is also equally high bounce rate  and consequently low conversion rate, It shows that your articles are attracting low quality leads that  are not interested in your offerings. 

In such a scenario you should again visit your content calendar and cover topic that tries to solve problems your target customers are struggling with. 

2. Total number of sales

This is another most important metric that determines the success of any content marketing efforts. This metric measures the quality of leads generated. That means how many of these leads turned into actual sales. Sales are the key number to calculate content marketing ROI. 

Content marketing in its most basic form is about generating qualified leads and nurturing them with the right content at the right time,  so that when they look for solution for service you are providing they will buy it from you. 

You can get the exact number from Google Analytics if you have enable E-Commerce in your Google Analytics. 

Navigate to Behavior » Site Content » All Pages

In this section page value column shows that a user visited the state before landing on the goal page or completing an E-Commerce transaction. 

3. Traffic on the website 

Despite everything you have done, if your website fails to drive qualified traffic, it is highly unlikely that your website will generate any leads or business. Before  you start any content marketing campaign, you should first configure Google Analytics on your website  to check the actual number of people visiting your website. This will help you understand  what campaigns are working for  and what campaigns are not driving and results. 

Google Analytics is also a good way to see how your website’s  traffic  grows overtime and all the potential sources of your traffic. 

This data is very important  as  it  lets you know  which source is bringing maximum traffic, what part of campaign is doing really good and what kind of customers are  converting really well. With this kind of  clarity  you can  work on things  that  are really working well and avoid  things that are wasting your time. 

4. Content engagement

Content marketing is not only about bring traffic to your website. But the success depends on how your content engage with your customers and qualifies them for sales funnel. If your website has a low bounce rate, it means users are really engaging with your content and are finding it useful. 

It is a clear indication that content is working and has the potential to generate leads and sales for your business. Another perfect indication  for content success is newsletter subscription.  if visitors are taking pain to subscribe to your newsletter, that means your content is really resonating with them. 

5. Content ranking on SERP 

Search Engine Optimization is the best way to help your potential customers find your business. SEO is the way to optimize your content  so that it ranks better on Google search results. No other online activities drive as much traffic as Search Engine Optimization. Here are some matrix to measure your SEO performance:

  1. Improvement in ranking of your keyboards overtime 
  2. For how many relevant terms are you appearing in answer boxes
  3. Domain authority of your website and it improvement over time
  4. How many quality back-links are you getting with time

If you can see and increment to all of four point above with every passing month,  it's clear indication that your SEO activities are moving in the right direction And will help you score more leads and sales for your business. 

Too many metric will not help you gauge the success of your content marketing efforts. Track only few metrics that matter the most for your business. Your entire content marketing activities should be focused around achieving those metric. 

Salan Khalkho
Salan Khalkho is the Content Head at and a serial blogger who has helped several blogs achieve millions of traffic per month. He has over 8 years of content marketing experience and has led the content marketing strategy for 200+ companies. He also owns and runs several successful websites in a variety of niches.
InboundNation is a leading inbound-marketing company specializing in PPC, Managed blogging, Search Engine Marketing, Social media Marketing, Website maintenance service and Amazon store management. We have helped over 200+ clients achieve a strong and successful online prsence. Our team brings in right mix of knowledge, skill, expertise and experience to take your business to next level by optimizing your sales chanels and increasing conversion rate.