It goes almost without saying that you can use something like Google Analytics to track content, social and SEO all in the same place (check out Kristi Hines’ post on measuring your online marketing for more specifics on setting that up) but there are also a ton of other tools that focus in on specific target areas. To figure out the ROI of your content strategy, perform an in-depth analysis of your content’s achievements and effects using some (or all!) of the following tools:
One of the best ways to figure out if your content is doing well is whether or not people are sharing it on social media. You’ll want to check each type of share on each of your social channels over time to make sure that, as your content strategy progresses, you see more social activity. Beyond that, you need to make sure that you’re not only generating buzz, but that the buzz is positive. Also check to see how much additional traffic you’re gaining from social shares. Check the sentiment in the shares and blog comments to make sure you’re happy with the type of attention you’re getting, and then check click through rates to see if people are actually using the links that you and others are sharing. While these metrics might not scream ROI, keep in mind that increased brand awareness, heightened positive sentiment, greater user engagement and more organic reasons for people to click on your site will all ultimately lead to conversions.
- Facebook Likes, Shares, Comments
- Tweets, Retweets, @ Mentions, Followers
- Pinterest Likes, Comments, Followers
- Google +1s
- Blog Comments
- Video Views
1. To track relevant Facebook metrics, the best place to go is Facebook itself. Facebook Insights allows you to track likes, impressions, and interaction with apps. Domain Insights are equally important. Here you’ll be notified if someone links to your site via their Facebook status.
Twitalyzer uses global user benchmarks to calculate impact.
3. If you’re active on Pinterest—which is essential if your content is loaded with quality images—which it should be—track your Pinterest activity with Pingraphy.
4. Have videos on YouTube? Go to YouTube Insight to get all the analytics data you need from demographics to share count.
5. Looking for Google Plus analytics? Check SocialStatistics.com.
6. For click through rates, bit.ly is your best option. First, tag your URL correctly using Google URL Builder so that you can track your link in Google Analytics later. Then, copy and paste into bit.ly so that you can track clicks by quantity, time and date, referral source and geographic location.
7. Use Spark Score to calculate overall social sentiment. This metric combines social “sparks”—likes, tweets, etc.—with Net Promoter Score, which rates customers based on how much they publicly talk about your brand and how positive or negative this feedback is.
Social Mention is another site with a sentiment gauge. It’s also monitors and updates mentions in real time so you can look at the conversation your content is causing right at that moment.
8. There’s also all-in-one social tools such as SimplyMeasured and Crowdbooster, but both these tools are paid. If you’re willing to make the investment—they offer exceptional data organization and visualization.
A simpler, free tool that counts up all social shares and tracks multiple URLs at once is SharedCount.
As your team implements your content strategy, you want to see a correlating increase in SEO metrics. To start to get an even better idea of your content’s ROI, match up dates of big content pushes with dates of increased traffic to your site and other key data points.
- Keyword Rank
- Organic Traffic
- Search Queries
1. Start with Google Analytics to get your basic overview on information like Pageviews to see how many eyeballs are seeing your page, not just how many are talking about it to others on social.
2. Look at the organic keyword report in SEMRush for keyword rank, traffic, and trends over time. You’ll be able to tell if the copy in your content is lifting you in key areas.
3. Google Webmaster Tools can show you search queries and links to your site. This will answer the following questions:
- Is the content you’re writing correlating to the information people are seeking out about your company?
- Is it link worthy?
Additionally, you don’t want to forget to follow site health on Webmaster Tools because problems can help explain why you’re not seeing the numbers you were hoping for. You can find similar useful data on Alexa.
4. There are a few excellent ways to get backlink data, but some of the top industry standard tools are Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer, and Majestic SEO. These reports are crucial because you want to figure out how people are accessing your content besides directly through your site.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately not everyone is convinced that more tweets or higher search volume equals more dollar signs. In fact, proving the ROI of your content strategy may be your biggest challenge. If you can piece together all of the above key performance indicators with typical bottom line metrics, however, you have a guaranteed recipe for success.
- Leads Generated
- Customer Retention Rate
First let’s recall the formula for ROI:
What you’ll need to do from here is calculate exactly what revenue can be linked back to your content strategy. There’s no one magical tool that can separate this information for you, but with well tagged and organized analytics data you can track conversion paths:
- How many people converted after clicking on a link in a social share?
- How many converted after search queries directly related to your blog or new content?
- How many converted after watching a video or viewing other content?
- How many customers return after being engaged by organic channels?
Each of these and other paths are relatively simple to track if you use analytics properly. Think about the objective of content strategy: creating meaningful, excellent, and engaging content. If you succeed at this, it’s inevitable that an increase in people coming to your site, appreciating it and interacting with it, will lead to the best kind of advertising — free word of mouth. You’ll generate leads and gain new customers. You’ll also hold on to old customers who have a reason to keep returning to your site for more. The real bottom line is this: if you put energy into creating an out of this world content strategy, a positive increase in ROI will surely follow.
Need help starting your content strategy or running into problems along the way? Let’s recap the steps we’ve taken to get to this final stage of measurement:
- Performing a Content Audit: How Much of Your Content Deserves the Title King?
- Analyzing the Competition: Sizing Up Your SEO and Content Competition
- Crafting Your Brand: The Face of Your Content: Message, Voice & Tone
- Building Personas: Personifying Your Content Strategy
- Structuring Your Organic Strategy: Organic Content Strategy: Go Green
- Brainstorming Posts: 31 Types of Blog Posts for Every Day of the Month
- Organizing with an Editorial Calendar: Editorial Calendar Dos and Don’ts
- Putting Your Strategy into Action: Tools for Content Governance and Workflow