Creating content for your site is an investment. But how do you measure success on this type of investment? Unfortunately, too many content creators (advisors included) aren’t asking themselves this important question. So if you’re not looking to measure the success of your content, how do you know it’s working? Measuring your content’s ROI allows you to see what areas of your content marketing strategy excel and what might be wasting your time.
The truth is, it takes time for content to drive leads. Nothing happens overnight, which means it’s easy for advisors to publish a post and forget about it. But you must give your content time to reach its audience and rank in the SERP before evaluating its effectiveness.
So how do you measure return on your content?
Since most financial advisors aren’t looking to sell physical products on their sites, sales are likely not your most prominent factor. There are a few other metrics and KPI’s (key performance indicators) we can consider instead – more on these below.
Why Is Content ROI Important?
Understanding your content’s return on investment provides several key insights. It allows us to:
- Evaluate the overall effectiveness of our content strategy
- Experiment with the success of different post formats, media types and distribution strategies
- Discover our most effective distribution channels (social media, email, Google, etc.)
- Improve upon under-performing pieces
- Produce quality content backed by proven past success
If we were calculating our content ROI based on sales, we could follow a formula to discover our content’s ROI percentage:
Revenue – investment = profit. Then, profit / investment x 100 = ROI percentage.
For example, if our revenue was $1,000 and our initial investment was $250, the ROI would be:
1,000 – 250 = $750 in profit
750 / 250 = 3
3 x 100 = 300% ROI
While you could use this formula for services rendered based on leads generated through your content, there are other KPI’s that may paint a better picture of your content strategy’s overall effectiveness. We’ll discuss these important factors and metrics below.
Metrics for Measuring Your Return on Content
Consider setting goals and evaluation parameters to measure the following metrics and KPI’s. As financial advisors, these are the most important factors to consider when it comes to your content’s success.
Perhaps one of the most important KPI’s for your site is web traffic. Simply put, web traffic refers to how many visitors your site is receiving. Without steady traffic, your site won’t be an effective tool for generating leads or establishing your voice as a thought leader.
When observed on a day-by-day or week-by-week basis, traffic can often appear erratic and irregular – experiencing many peaks and valleys. Instead, study your site’s traffic over the long term, from several months to a year. Is it steadily climbing, staying stagnant or slowly dropping? This information will tell you how your content strategy is working and whether or not it’s time to reevaluate.
Keep in mind that Google’s algorithm updates for site ranking can happen at any time. If you see a sudden downturn in traffic, do a bit of research to ensure that you’re still following the latest best practices for SEO.
Looking at your “landing pages” on Google Analytics allows you to see how each individual page on your site is performing in terms of traffic. Here, you’re also able to tell from what source traffic was led to your site. Having GA show you the source / medium under “acquisition” for a landing page will tell you if the visitor found you via Yelp, Google, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. This important information will tell you what part of your marketing strategy is working most effectively.
Getting traffic to your site is imperative, but it’s also important to understand what visitors do when they get there. By measuring your onsite engagement, you can learn whether people are staying and interacting with your site or bouncing away quickly. As you could imagine, successful content should keep viewers engaged and staying on your site.
Here’s why onsite engagement is important: if you can’t keep people on your site, it won’t be an effective tool for generating leads. Because of this, it’s not enough just to get people to your site. You need to ensure your site is living up to their expectations. Are visitors intrigued enough to click on your post, but disappointed when they land on the page? If so, consider adjusting your headline to better reflect the content, or reevaluate your content altogether.
To check your onsite engagement, you’ll want to analyze the “bounce rate” and “page session duration” in Google Analytics for each landing page. The bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who land on your page and click away without any further browsing or interactions, and the page session duration is the average time spent on your site by viewers.
Measuring lead generation allows you to determine if site visitors are turning into qualified leads after viewing your content. There are several ways to measure lead generation including:
- Evaluating viewer interaction with your page’s CTAs, lead magnets downloaded or RSVPs filled out to virtual seminars.
- Tracking how many readers click on certain related resources that send them further down the sales funnel.
- Counting how many appointments were scheduled or contact forms filled out after certain pages had been visited.
Understanding how leads entered and descended through the sales funnel can be done through the “funnel visualization” feature on Google Analytics. Create a goal funnel in GA that allows it to understand what your lead generating goals are. As users navigate through your site, this funnel visualization will show you what percentage of users are reaching your desired pages from any particular blog post.
For example, if your blog post has a CTA to “Contact Us,” you can create a goal funnel in Google Analytics that leads from your post to your contact page. Once the goal has been established, the tool will then tell you what percentage of visitors traveled straight from your post to your contact page.
If you’re happy with the percentage, that means your CTA is working effectively. And if the numbers are lower than you’d like, this information tells you it’s time to reevaluate and restrategize.
Considered to be “offsite” engagement, social media is too often overlooked when it comes to measuring your content’s return. Advisors may share posts to their personal channels and encourage social sharing on their site, but are they understanding the effectiveness of it? More often than not, the answer is no.
Social media engagement can be an incredibly important asset for driving traffic to your site and generating leads. Why? Because social media is the new word of mouth. More than ever before, audiences are being influenced by the recommendations of their peers on social media when it comes to selecting a business or buying a product. So, the more social shares your posts receive = higher potential of generating qualified leads.
You can use third-party sites designed to track social media shares for individual posts and pages. In addition, you can track social media engagement of your site with the “social network referrals” feature on Google Analytics. This will show you how much traffic is entering your site from popular social media networks.
Measure your return on content by analyzing your SEO strategy. The higher your posts rank in google, the more traffic you’ll get to your site. And the more traffic your site sees, the higher the potential for lead generation.
Some important SEO measurements to look at include:
- Keyword ranking
- Inbound links
- Domain authority
If you kept best SEO practices in mind while creating your content, chances are you optimized your writing for particular keywords you wanted to target. Therefore, you should be following up on those keywords and seeing how they’re ranking and performing on your site. If they’re not performing as expected, check out the competition and reevaluate your strategy.
Inbound links are links leading to your page from third-party sites. These are valuable commodities in SEO because they tell Google that other sites find you authoritative and reputable enough to send their visitors to. The more inbound links you have, the more authoritative you appear to Google.
Evaluating your inbound links can help you understand the type of impression and engagement your site has with others. If you have certain posts with more inbound links than others, evaluate what’s different or similar about them. Use this information as a way to optimize future content for more links, and revisit old content as needed.
Your domain authority is a metric designed to predict your site’s ability to rank high in Google. It provides a number between 0 and 100. The higher the number, the more likely it is to rank well on the SERP. This score is calculated using a number of factors (including inbound links). Use your domain’s authority to track your site’s ranking over time. A steady increase means you’re doing something right, while a decrease could mean it’s time to reevaluate your SEO strategy.
Use third-party sites such as AHREFs, Moz or SEMrush to measure and analyze your keyword rankings, inbound links and domain authority. These SEO factors are not measured in Google Analytics. Alternatively, if you want to do a quick search for a few of your most prominent keywords, you can always check right in the SERP. Set your internet browser to incognito mode and search for the desired keywords.
Are you ranking on the first page? Remember, the first spot on the SERP will receive around 30 percent of all traffic to that page, the second will get 10 percent.
The Importance of Measuring Return on Content
Putting numbers to content marketing is a great way to prove to yourself and other stakeholders that your content is doing its job. But there are a few not-so-easily measurable metrics to keep in mind as well. These include brand awareness, growth in reputation as an authoritative thought leader and long-term customer retention. While these may not show up in Google Analytics, they prove that your content can be more valuable than any statistic, percentage or figure you can tell you.
If you’re taking the time to create quality content for your financial firm’s blog, it deserves to have a proper follow through. You’re crafting content to generate leads, which means you need to make sure it’s generating leads. Remember, a few simple follow-ups and strategy reevaluations can make the difference between adding to the white noise and standing out from the crowd.