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How to effectively measure your content ROI

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A recent CMO Survey found that an astonishing 65% of marketers can’t quantitatively demonstrate the impact of their marketing. Additionally, according to a CMI survey, less than half (43%) of B2B marketers say they measure ROI, and only 65% have established key performance indicators.

Today, telling a “success story” requires data to show impact. Editorial and content leads looking to prove the business benefit of a completed project, build out their teams, or even secure additional budget for new projects need numbers to back up their request or proposal. Luckily, with the right technology in place, creating an analytics dashboard doesn’t need to be a huge lift.

Must-have metrics to elevate performance

Numbers without a benchmark don’t mean anything. Teams, especially team leads, need to understand what quality metrics are and what context is needed to tell an accurate performance story for their business. Then, they should monitor those metrics on a regular, ongoing basis.

It’s important to recognize that the metrics that matter will differ for every organization and publisher, as there are a lot of ways businesses define performance or success on their content. Understanding the basics is a good first step in creating a fruitful measurement approach, and starting to have the conversation of what’s most important to your stakeholders. Here are a few metrics to consider for measuring content ROI:

  • Unique visitors (UVs): The number of visitors who accessed content in a given time period, including where the visitors are, the source they clicked through to your site, and which search engine keywords led them to your content.
  • Pageviews (PVs): This measures the extent to which your content is engaging your audience. Having a view into this metric allows you to then focus on in-demand subjects.
  • Bounce/exit rate: The bounce rate indicates how many visitors to your site click away from it after looking at just one page; the exit rate indicates the last page a reader saw before leaving the site. A high bounce rate, for example, likely means the content isn’t relevant, or that the page potentially has technical or navigation issues.  
  • Traffic source: This allows you to understand where you are acquiring visitors from (e.g. search, direct, referral, email, social) to better understand what is and what isn't working in your marketing strategy. 
  • Time on site: This metric is how long your visitors spend on your site and site pages. The shorter the time visitors spend on each page and on the site as a whole, the less of your content they’re engaging with.

No matter the metrics you choose to work with, providing context around each of them is what will help bring a story of success—or areas where the business can improve content strategy—to life. Teams also need to aggregate data over time in order to assess impact on performance, whether good or bad. For example, you should have insight into what external factors came into play during lulls or highs in engagement, and be able to discern what the team should do differently for the next campaign. With the right data in hand, you can also clearly articulate what content seemed to resonate, and what fell short.

Additional metrics to track

Without getting too lost in mountains of data that can sometimes lead to "analysis paralysis," there are a number of other qualitative measures that can be useful in terms of indicating audience engagement with and reaction to a given piece of content.

Affinity behaviors on an individual content item such as bookmarking, liking, commenting and sharing are all powerful yet sometimes subtle signals to show that your content is resonating. (Furthermore, the number of shares and likes through social media is also a factor that search engines consider when evaluating how one piece of content stacks up against another in their ranking algorithms.)

For some content like white papers and eBooks, putting this behind a "gate" requires a reader to share their email or create an account in order to access. Form fills for individual assets like this should be included as part of your ongoing ROI measurement, particularly as the investment in creating these types of content—often including time-intensive research, design and production—must be directly weighed against the value of acquiring that customer's information through the sales or marketing pipeline.

How Brightspot supports measurement

Brightspot is designed to make accessing the right metrics easier and more cost-effective than other content management systems.

With our out-of-the-box, in-CMS analytics, editors won’t need IT or development support to access basic measurement features like a site-level analytics dashboard, search metrics and asset-level metrics that can guide their content creation and publishing decisions. The Brightspot platform also allows for custom integrations with other analytics providers, such as Google Analytics and Tag Manager, Adobe Analytics,and Firebase.

Brightspot analytics support and features validate the success of a team’s efforts and help to demonstrate ROI to leadership (all without the need for third-party solutions or additional licensing fees). Our experts guide teams through the process of creating dashboards and reports that measure exactly what they’re looking for, based on their unique needs.

In the end, by showing success for a new site or page launch, against expected outcomes and backed by data, teams are able to justify budgets and headcount for new and existing content programs more easily—the data will speak for itself.

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