“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought that can be adapted to B2B content marketing as well.
“If I create great B2B content but can’t measure it, did it make an impact?” is the question marketers ask regularly. What is the impact? Am I capturing all the impact? How can I optimize performance?
Measuring the impact of content marketing allows B2B marketers to optimize campaigns for better engagement and more effectively attribute ROI. But what are the strategies, tactics, and trends behind measuring content marketing performance for B2B marketers?
To help answer these questions on measuring B2B content performance, Ascend2 and KoMarketing Associates fielded the Measuring Content Marketing Performance Survey between February 17 – 25, 2021. 193 B2B marketing professionals participated in the survey.
The research looks at what B2B marketers are doing to measure content marketing performance. The survey findings are available in the research report, Measuring Content Marketing Performance: A B2B Marketer’s Perspective.
Here are a key findings from the research on measuring B2B content marketing performance.
1. Determining ROI is the top challenge for B2B marketers when it comes to measuring content marketing performance.
Measuring return-on-investment (ROI) of content marketing is critical to optimizing a strategy, but nearly half (46%) of B2B marketing professionals consider determining ROI to be a top challenge when it comes to measuring content marketing performance. 44% of B2B marketers also face a lack of budget and resources necessary to effectively measure strategic success.
Why is it so difficult to determine ROI? The math is simple: revenue generated by content, divided by cost (production cost + distribution cost).
But for B2B marketers, how do you calculate the revenue generated? Do you assign a revenue number for every lead generated? Do you look at overall sales revenue? How much did your content marketing impact a sale? How do you value activities like email clicks, shares, page views, average time on page, etc.? How do you track the metrics you need and convert them to a dollar amount that can do into an ROI calculation?
Here’s how to overcome the challenge of determining ROI:
- Outline a strategy of what metrics you need to track
- Figure out what technology you need to track those metrics
- Pul pull together the data into an easy-to-use analytical tool
- Decide how you will assign value/revenue to your metrics
- Track your costs.
Start simple and build as you learn from the data you collect.
2. 66% of B2B marketers find it difficult to measure the performance of a content marketing strategy.
Two-thirds (66%) of B2B marketers find it difficult to measure the performance of a content marketing strategy compared to one-third (34%) who find it to be either moderately or extremely easy. 57% describe this difficulty as moderate, while another quarter (25%) of those surveyed report that gauging the effectiveness of content marketing is moderately easy.
Don’t give up on your need to measure content marketing performance. Content marketing is an investment that impacts your business strategy, branding management, audience engagement, and thought leadership.
We can all find cases on how content marketing made a significant impact on a major deal, reduced selling costs, or expanded your brand influence. It may be difficult, but it is important to find consistent ways to measure and show the impact to your leadership team.
2. 37% of B2B marketers are using 3-5 tools for measuring content marketing performance.
Content marketing typically involves utilizing a wide range of channels across an overall digital marketing strategy. One in five (21%) of B2B marketers report using six or more tools to measure content marketing performance. Another 37% of those surveyed say they use between three and five tools, and 29% are measuring performance with two tools or less.
Marketing leaders need to embrace technology. A strong stack of technology gives you more information about your audience, your clients (individuals or companies), and the impact of your campaigns. Technology also allows you to be more efficient, organized, and agile as you track performance and report performance to the team.
4. Analytics tools, CRM systems, and marketing automation solutions are the most important tools for measuring content marketing performance.
Which types of tools are B2B marketers finding to be most effective for measuring content marketing performance? Over half (53%) of those surveyed put analytics tools at the top of the list. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and marketing automation technologies are also critical to overall success according to 38% and 34% of B2B marketers, respectively.
Content marketing is data-driven. Start with a solid setup of your Google Analytics. Focus on four key areas: traffic, navigation, organic search, and conversions.
5. Conversion rate is the most important content marketing measurement metric, according to 50% of B2B marketers.
About half of B2B marketers agree that conversion rate (50%) and website traffic (46%) are among the most important metrics to consider when measuring the overall performance of a content marketing strategy. Engagement on social media channels is also ranked high on the list of important metrics for 39% of those surveyed.
Don’t guess about the performance of your content marketing; instead, identify the data that matters most to your success. Track and analyze performance to identify trends and adjust your strategy based on your findings. Marketing optimization is never complete; it is an ongoing process.
Content marketing is essential to successful B2B marketing, so measuring performance is a priority. Download Measuring Content Marketing Performance: A B2B Marketer’s Perspective for research-based strategies, tactics, and trends for B2B content marketing in the year ahead.