Content marketing is becoming more popular, so now is an excellent time to learn how to invest in a content strategy for success. This article will explore the concept of content marketing ROI and what businesses should keep in mind while calculating it.
To determine the ROI of a piece of content, B2B marketers must track key metrics like website traffic, social media engagement, and conversion rates. By analyzing these metrics, you can determine which pieces of content are performing well and which ones need improvement.
Here are some valuable statistics to inform your content marketing strategy for 2023 and beyond.
What is the ROI of content marketing?
ROI – Return On Investment is a standard term in the marketing world. It measures the total profitability created by an investment by comparing gains and losses.
ROI is a fundamental metric for businesses to track. If a company doesn’t see a positive ROI from content marketing, it must reevaluate its strategy.
There are many ways to measure the ROI of content marketing. However, calculating it always involves taking the same three dynamics into account:
- Inflows – The total return created from a content marketing campaign.
- Outflows – The total expenditure necessary to run the campaign.
- Profit – The total difference between inflows and outflows.
In content marketing, ROI doesn’t have to take the form of dollars. Often you can measure it through other, less tangible representations of a brand’s success, like:
Increased customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is essential for businesses that rely on maintaining existing clients or aiming to grow their buyer base. There are a few ways to track this metric, including through repeat purchase rate, loyalty program sign-ups, and monitoring bounce rates through Google Analytics.
Increased lead generation
Lead generation is the technique of converting strangers or cold prospects into potential customers with interest in your product or service using either an inbound or outbound lead generation strategy. Generating more leads through demand generation can eventually mean a higher conversion rate over time; it’s a common goal among sales-oriented businesses that want to increase their revenue and marketers can track the effectiveness of this strategy using Google Analytics. Effective tactics include lead generation websites, lead management software, sales calls, referrals, and more.
Increased brand awareness
Marketers can even quantify ROI through brand awareness. This metric represents how well your target audience knows and recognizes your brand.
Surveys that measure Top-of-Mind Awareness (ToMA) or unaided recall can measure brand awareness.
Besides the ones mentioned above, there are other key performance indicators that provide insight into how customers are responding to campaigns and strategies.
How to calculate content marketing ROI
Like many other forms of ROI, one can calculate marketing ROI using a standard formula. This equation considers the factors of return and total investment by subtracting the first from the second, dividing it by total investment, and multiplying by 100. The final product is the percentage rate of return achieved through those initial inflow and outflow numbers.
Here’s a formula that SEMRush suggests for calculating content marketing ROI:
Image source: SEMRush
10 content marketing ROI statistics
Now that we’ve gone over what ROI is and how to calculate it, let’s look at some key content marketing ROI statistics for 2023.
1. 33% of content marketers find measurement challenging
Recent research from the Content Marketing Institute indicates that measurement is a notable challenge for content marketers – their third largest at 33%.
The firm’s B2B Content Marketing Report goes into further detail. The biggest reasons for these challenges include:
- Difficulty integrating data across multiple platforms (48% of marketers)
- A lack of organizational KPIs for goal setting (45% of marketers)
- Trouble tying performance data back to initial goals (43% of marketers)
It’s an interesting observation regarding the landscape’s current state of affairs. Content marketers need more support regarding data analytics and clarity over their strategic objectives.
Image source: CMI
2. Content marketing is becoming more effective at generating leads
According to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute, over 67% of marketers report generating business demand or leads from their content marketing efforts. The number is up by 7% year-over-year.
The finding backs up the consensus that content has a bright future. Marketers are noticing tangible returns (and bottom-funnel conversions) from this strategy despite measurement challenges.
3. Content marketing has a better ROI than other outbound methods
Research continues to show that content marketing far outpaces its counterparts regarding ROI.
Recent data from Neal Schaffer is just one example: content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing methods while generating three times as many leads. Content continues to prevail in today’s information-driven world. Content creation should be at the top of the list for your marketing budget in the coming years.
4. Video will be the biggest content marketing investment of 2023
Among forms of digital content, experts see video as the format set to dominate in 2023. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing Report, video will lead the way over other forms of media, up from an already-high 69% last year.
These findings make sense — amid the rise of platforms like TikTok. Users are more engaged in video content than ever. Instagram has even recognized this trend and jumped on it with the addition of its new ‘Reels’ feature.
What this means for content marketers is the need for a targeted video strategy that they can distribute across multiple channels for maximum reach. Consider your existing capabilities and how you can invest in them further – doing so will likely pay off in the years to come.
Image source: CMI
5. Marketers who spend between 10–70% of their budgets on content marketing see the greatest success
SEMRush has released new data suggesting that businesses that spend 10% to 70% of their marketing budgets are “very successful.” Nearly 75% of content marketing companies say their efforts have paid off well, which supports the idea that a good investment is key to success.
While the study doesn’t go into further detail on what “very successful” means regarding ROI or conversions, it’s safe to say that a more significant investment leads to better results. As the old saying goes, you must spend money to make money!
6. 50% of marketers are going to increase their content marketing budgets in 2023
The Content Marketing Institute recently surveyed marketers to learn how they plan to divide their spending in the next year.
50% of respondents plan to increase content marketing budgets in 2023, up from the previous year. This shows that content strategy is here to stay.
7. 60% of content marketers measure the success of their social media activity via sales
Marketers can measure ROI in several ways. Data from HubSpot’s 2022 State of Marketing Report suggests that most professionals are using the same method to gauge the success of their social media activity: sales.
In a survey of more than 1,000 marketing professionals, 60% said that they measure the success of their social media efforts based on whether it leads to sales.
This number has increased over the past few years. More and more professionals see a direct correlation between their content marketing and their bottom line, sometimes partnered with the sales team.
Image source: Hubspot
8. Short and long-form video content will get a boost in 2023
Not only is the general popularity of video content rising, but we can expect to see its long and short forms continue to grow. According to Hubspot, 29% of marketers plan to increase their investment in long-form content over the coming year. An even larger 51% intend on doing so for short-form media.
It’s no surprise, given the recent popularity of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels. The takeaway? Invest in video content – and be prepared to do so in various formats.
Image source: TikTok for Business
9. 87% of content marketers prioritize audience needs over promotional messaging
Marketing professionals recognize that 81% of retail shoppers research before buying. Recent survey data indicates that 87% of content marketers prioritize creating material that meets the needs of their audience over promotion.
The number has been steadily increasing over the past few years as businesses continue to shift their focus from selling to serving their audiences through digital content.
10. Paid distribution investment has decreased year-on-year
Digital content can spur organic growth –something that comes to light when examining your dashboards on Google Analytics. And as more and more businesses turn to it as a primary means of marketing, investments in paid forms of distribution have dropped. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, paid content distribution has decreased by 14% year-over-year, down to 67% from 2021’s 81%.
What does this mean for the future of content marketing? It’s hard to say for sure.
However, as the strategy matures, we expect to see a continued focus on quality over quantity and an increased reliance on organic growth.
10 ways to improve your content marketing ROI
There’s no doubt that content is an essential piece of any modern marketing strategy. But as with any investment, it’s necessary to ensure you get a good return on your content marketing spend.
Here are 10 ways to improve your content marketing ROI:
1. Create high-quality content
While this one may seem like a no-brainer, it’s easy to overlook when you get caught up in the excitement of strategy. But the truth is, no matter how you slice it, content marketing only works if you create material worth reading (or watching or listening to).
2. Update your content regularly
Keeping content up-to-date is just as important as protecting its quality. You could publish a fantastic, in-depth series of blog posts on any subject, but audiences (and Google’s SEO algorithms) won’t see value in it unless it’s relevant.
3. Create tailored content for each stage of the buyer’s journey
One size doesn’t fit all in content marketing. The material you create for someone just starting to learn about your industry will be very different from the content you create for someone ready to purchase.
4. Level up your video content
The popularity of video content is on the rise, which means that now is the perfect time to invest in your ability to create it. Maybe this means getting better cameras, making more detailed plans, or adding more editing flair.
Enhancing the quality of your video content will give you a leg up over others getting started with the strategy.
5. Repurpose your content
Repurposing content is a great way to get more mileage out of the material you create. For example, you could turn a blog theme into a series of social media templates, create a video from a whitepaper, or an infographic from data you’ve already collected.
Image source: Envato Elements
6. Optimize your content
A lot of the time, marketers already have tons of ideas and collateral they could use to drive their ROI — if only they knew how to optimize it. Make sure you’re using the right keywords, tagging your content correctly, and sharing it in the right places to make sure your target audience is seeing it.
In terms of blog content, long-form articles that are in-depth and informative tend to do better in search engines, while shorter blog posts that are easy to skim perform better on social media platforms.
7. Create internal and external links
Linking to other websites (external linking) can show search engines that your site is a valuable resource, which can improve your ranking. But remember to link to your site (internal linking)!
Internal links can help users navigate your website more efficiently and keep them engaged with your brand.
8. Promote your content through social media
When it comes to content marketing success, B2B marketers have to be strategic about the B2B data they acquire and the type of content they produce and where they publish it. It’s no longer enough to create a single piece of content and share it on all social media platforms. Instead, you must create and adjust different pieces of content for different platforms, and measure key social media metrics to determine which ones are most effective.
For instance, interactive content such as quizzes, surveys, and polls tend to perform better on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, while visual content like infographics, videos, and images are better suited for Instagram and Pinterest.
Social media and email are two of the most powerful content marketing tools at your disposal — make the most of them in every way you can.
9. Exchange content with reputable sources
Suppose you’re looking for ways to get your content in front of new audiences. Consider partnering with other companies or websites in your industry. You could exchange blog posts, create joint webinars, or simply share each other’s content on social media.
10. Partner with other content creators
There’s no need to go it alone regarding content marketing. If you need help to come up with ideas or create high-quality content, consistently, consider partnering with another content creator.
A co-creator can be someone in-house or an outside contractor. You can research their pages for strategic content marketing examples and inspiration.
In conclusion, content marketing is a critical component of any successful marketing strategy. To ensure success, marketers must create different pieces of content for different platforms and track key metrics to measure their ROI. By doing so, they can optimize their content marketing efforts and drive more leads, sales, and revenue for their business.
The world of content marketing is ever-changing, yet one thing remains constant: the importance of ROI. You can ensure the results you need by staying up-to-date on the latest content marketing trends and best practices.