In modern B2B marketing, content creation and performance tracking can no longer be viewed separately. Measurement against key metrics should inform how you produce your next piece of collateral to give you and your business the best possible chance of measuring ROI and achieving your goals.

What is content marketing ROI?

ROI stands for Return on Investment. In terms of content marketing, ROI is the percentage showing revenue from your content efforts vs. the monetary value spent.

Turtl research indicates that 75% of B2B marketers produced more content, or invested more in this aspect of their marketing strategy between 2020 and 2021.

Graph showing survey data from Cognism and Turtl, asking the question: What role has content played in your overall marketing strategy in 2020?

How to measure content marketing ROI

It’s easy to say content marketing needs to be measured – knowing which metrics to use is challenging. Ultimately, marketing teams have an interest in metrics that directly affect the business, and specifically how they help the business grow.

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“You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” Steve Jobs

Content marketing ROI formula

While there are many variables to include when figuring out your ROI, there is a simple formula that can be used to calculate it.

(Return – Investment / Investment) x 100 = ROI

In short, this calculates the percentage of revenue in comparison to investment in content marketing. Remember, your investment isn’t just what was spent on a single content piece but includes the advertising, labor, and any other financial expenditure that goes into that content.

Step by step

Now that we know the formula and basics, we can look at each step in measuring your ROI.

  1. Calculate spend
    Consider all of the time spent on the piece of content across all teams. This means if assets were created by your team, consider the salary cost that went into this, or if assets were bought, how much was paid for them, and the running costs of any tech involved. If there was paid advertising of the content this needs to be taken into account too.
  1. Calculate revenue
    Calculating revenue from a single piece of content isn’t always easy, as it isn’t necessarily apparent that a sale came from the content, especially when a sales team spends time nurturing a lead. Using trackable links in your CTAs will certainly help confirm where a lead came from, keeping an eye on your analytics in general is essential to figuring out how many MQLs and SQLs you are passing along. We’ll look at key metrics to keep an eye on further on in this blog. Having open communication with your sales team will help to see your leads journey from initial interest to conversion.
  1. Use the formula
    Once you know your spend and revenue from your content, you can use the formula from before to calculate your ROI percentage

Average ROI in B2B content marketing

ROI is different for every company in every industry but knowing the average for your industry will help prove whether your ROI is on par with competitors.

According to research by FirstPageSage, the average ROI for B2B SaaS marketers is 702%, which, while not the highest number in the chart, is an incredible return on investment.

Content marketing metrics for ROI

So, what counts?

In truth, there are hundreds of metrics that you can measure – but just as too many choices can leave consumers confused and deflated, copious amounts of data can hamper even the most enthusiastic marketers.

Focusing your content marketing metrics around more strategic business outcomes – the types that the rest of your business can really understand, get behind, and support, is a proven method. In practice, this can take the form of a two-tiered metric measurement system, where both ‘internal’ and ‘external’ metrics are monitored and reported.

Internal ROI metrics

Shared only among the marketing team, these are regular indicators of audience engagement on which to base valuable iteration.

  • Click Through Rates (the ratio of clicks per content viewer)
  • Engagement Rate (total interactions per content viewer)
  • Session Length (how long content is viewed for)

External ROI metrics

Reported back to all relevant departments besides marketing. Typically, these take longer to develop into metrics that are genuinely fit to report. Ultimately they carry more weight in the context of B2B content marketing ROI and overall strategic business objectives.

  • Volume of Leads
  • Leads to Revenue
  • Cost Per Lead

Metrics for success infographic showing the difference between internal and external metrics

Consider if metrics are actionable

Take time to consider which metrics are right for your business and whether they help you to achieve your goal as a marketer, and prove your value to the wider business. For many the bottom line is the most important thing, meaning the metrics that demonstrate contributions to increases in revenue and overall ROI receive the most focus.

But revenue is not always the most important metric in content marketing. If your end goal is more leads then consider how engagement fits into your average customer journey and how you can convert that into leads.

Increasing lead generation is one of the most popular metrics for demonstrating a marketing strategy’s success. Discover how Turtl helped Kantar boost its lead generation metrics and measure and report on key metrics to prove its content’s ROI.

Click to read Kantar Media + Turtl | Case Study


Learn more about performance

See how to track content performance

Learn more about strategy

Create a content marketing strategy that waterfalls from your company’s mission and goals

Brand identity or revenue: Is content marketing ROI the right measure? 

You should always consider your campaign or audience when choosing the right metrics. Whilst these can sometimes go hand in hand, brand campaigns don’t include metrics tied immediately to business revenue. For example, a document with lots of downloads may appear to be popular, but with this as the only metric, you’ve not got much insight.

Digital touchpoints provide far more data, leading to metrics that tell better stories about your content marketing.

Allianz GI used insights from every piece of marketing content they produced to build a truly comprehensive picture of their ICP.

Click to read Allianz GI + Turtl | Case Study

Content metrics for success

Focus on what is helping direct your marketing towards actions that nurture or convert leads. Choose KPIs that measure engagement, shares, and dwell time for evidence of warming leads.

Businesses often measure team goals using objectives and key results (OKRs) and key performance indicators (KPIs). These can be easily applied to your content marketing framework, giving teams specific goals and measurements to align with.

How to measure content performance

Not only do you want to ensure your content marketing strategy is hitting the mark – you want to track how each piece of content produced is performing.

Ever posted something on social media and caught yourself waiting for that little hit of dopamine from a like, a share, a comment? Seeing, matter-of-factly, that something you’ve crafted is actually being read or shared can be rewarding stuff. Knowing that it’s helping your business to bring in customers, even more so.

More and more businesses have clocked on to the importance of measuring the results specifically of creative output. Relying on intuition alone no longer cuts it.

To help you either get started or strategically improve, here’s some steps (including resources) to assessing your content’s success:

Turtl Analytics is designed to present your content’s most important metrics, such as read time, bounce rate, and insights into individual reader engagement, in highly accessible reports.

Turtl takeaway:

Turtl understands marketers’ needs. We know there is no one correct metric to use across all content marketing campaigns, but understanding which metrics are most important for your business is vastly more important than just collecting as much data as possible.

A focused selection of metrics will significantly help to achieve your desired outcome; whether that’s more leads, reads, engagement, or another metric more suited to your business. Don’t fluff out a report with unnecessary figures.

Using data to understand the ROI of your content marketing helps you make decisions about what content is working and where the business should invest. Using tools that show content views and not just downloads. Metrics such as reads vs readers, source and device type, and time spent reading, are more valuable signposts.

To find out how Turtl can work for you, your business needs, and your content – book a call with our team of experts for a custom demo focused on your content marketing needs.

Promo card for Turtl Webinar 'How to use enhanced analytics and drive ROI'

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