Content Marketing ROI: How to Define and Measure

12 mins read

Successful marketing activities depend not only on profits but also its costs. By estimating the content marketing ROI metrics, it’s possible to re-evaluate the efficiency of decisions made to achieve better results.

Are you ready to learn how to calculate Content Marketing ROI, its importance, and which metrics you have to know to improve your content marketing strategy? Let’s start!

What is Content Marketing ROI?

ROI (Return on Investment) is the percentage of returns gained regarding marketing expenses. The result is always in percentages. Content Marketing ROI is similar to the business ROI, with a small change.

Content marketing ROI shows you the amount you gained compared to your expenses on content marketing. This number represents a percentage of how much you earn back from your content marketing campaigns. 

A content marketing ROI of 100% demonstrates that the revenue you earn is equal to your expenses. It means that your content strategy broke even.

If your ROI is less than 100%, that means you spent more money than you earned. On the contrary, anything higher than 100% means you gained more money than you paid for content creation and distribution.

Why Should I Calculate the ROI of Content Marketing? 

Calculating your content marketing ROI can help your company in the next ways:

Improve search engine optimization (SEO): 

SEO aims to boost your website’s notice in the search engines, so they jump it to the top of the search engine results pages. Understanding your gains in content marketing can help you see what pages work well for better ranking results. 

Convince decision-makers: 

Whether you have an internal marketing team or work with a marketing company, you have to show and prove the effectiveness of your work. ROI gives you data to earn a reputation as a good professional and encourage more investment in strategies that drive growth.

Allocate spending: 

As a business, your goal is to invest in tactics that drive more profit for it. If you want to make a difference, you must have data defending your investments. 

Four Steps to Track Content Marketing ROI

Each business will need to think over its KPIs to its specific needs. Here are some general steps you can take to estimate content ROI:

1. Define your goal 

Why are you calculating your content marketing ROI?

The answer to this question will guide your strategy and is often why content marketers feel problems with ROI right from the beginning.

Marketers can become misguided and focus ROI metrics solely on defending their budgets. If you focus your ROI with the intention of pitching a bigger budget for the next year, you will lose the big-picture view of how impactful your content is. 

Experience tells us the best way to use ROI metrics is to discover what works well, what doesn’t, and how you can optimize your content marketing strategy. Focus on strategy, and you’ll quickly find out what you need to measure.

2. Choose your metrics

The number of content marketing ROI metrics available can make even the most experienced marketers get confused. 

There are a lot of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure. If you try to track them all, you’re likely to get lost in the data and less able to gain actionable insights and draw conclusions.

The solution: Be strategic about the metrics you monitor.

We recommend choosing around five metrics that you can track over a campaign to measure content ROI. Popular content KPIs include:

  • Website traffic
  • Website visitors
  • Total visits
  • Unique visits
  • Time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Page views
  • Downloads

3. identify your benchmarks

The next step in successful ROI estimation is to set benchmarks for your business. 

Take a measurement of where your content marketing metrics stand now before you start your campaign. Then, when the campaign is over, you can quickly evaluate where there has been improvement or where things have declined.

It’s also become clear if goals were met and how much they were exceeded. In addition, you may compare your results with benchmarks in your industry. 

4. Define your content marketing goals

Content marketing purposes are not the same thing as business goals. These smaller goals and content marketing metrics help you estimate your content marketing efforts and what they brought to you in the big picture.

Whether your goal is e-commerce sales or lead generation, using a list of metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and keyword rankings will help you understand your efforts’ effectiveness. It will let you know if your campaigns are working in the right direction and alert you to any pivots that might be needed to rectify the current situation.

Your after-campaign analysis might analyze opens for email marketing or qualified leads for e-book downloads or white papers. You should be measuring, evaluating, and deciding the next steps at each point in the funnel to achieve the highest level of content ROI.

How To Measure Content Marketing ROI?

A simple content marketing ROI is the expression of gains made as a percentage of spent costs: 

ROI (in %) = (Return – investment) / Investment X 100

Remember that the term “investment” refers to the total investment, including the cost to produce, distribute, and market the content. Also, only the organic growth or returns are taken into consideration to get a true picture of content marketing efforts. 

Although this gives a helicopter view of the content marketing performance, it is always good to dig down and look into the finer aspects of content marketing. All details are important, and that’s why you need to track certain KPIs and metrics to get the bigger picture. 

General Content Marketing Metrics 

KPIs, or key performance indicators, can help you understand exactly which data points to pay attention to. A KPI in content marketing refers to a measurable metric your business can use to estimate the success of your marketing campaigns or strategy. They include metrics such as website traffic, lead generation, conversion rates, and social media engagement. 

Let’s break each of these down in more detail:

Web traffic

One of the most obvious metrics of online business success is website traffic. Look at overall traffic as well as the traffic that each landing page or article is bringing to get a full picture. If your content marketing efforts are generating more traffic to your website, that’s usually a positive indicator that your strategy is working.

Lead generation

When it comes to ROI, you’d like to start by finding out how much revenue or sales are earned from your content efforts. However, lead generation is crucial to monitor since more leads typically translate to higher sales and a positive impact on your digital marketing ROI.


Often overlooked, engagement is an important metric to track when it comes to content performance. Do people see your website? Are they commenting on your blog posts or sharing them on social media? Are they clicking your backlinks and what time they are spending time on a specific page? If so, that’s a good sign that your content is interesting to your target audience.

Conversion rate

Finally, all content marketing efforts should result in more conversions — whether that’s sales, new leads, or another type of conversion. It helps to assign a value or dollar amount to each conversion, as this will be the best indicator of how much revenue your content investment is driving to your business.

The most important thing in all this process is to realize what a positive return looks like for your business, then assign that return a numerical value and realize what exactly brought you those results. If you need more specific metrics, it’s easy to calculate them according to the formula shown above. 

Here are the metrics for different marketing directions of content specific KPIs


  • Website traffic
  • Bounce rate
  • Time spent on a website
  • New & Recurring Visitors

E-mail activities:

  • Open rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Clickthrough rate
  • Delivery rate

Social media:

  • Followers
  • Engagement
  • Reach
  • Conversion rate


  • Subscribers
  • Views
  • Comments
  • Shares


  • Downloads
  • Ratings
  • Backlinks
  • Subscribers

Tips To Boost Content Marketing ROI

Keep track of your content performance. Optimize your blog according to the findings. If you do it right, you have a better chance of traffic and conversion rates. In turn, better ROI in the future.

Keep an eye on content-specific KPIs and choose metrics that make more sense for your current content campaigns. As content strategy and metrics keep changing over time, adapt to your reports the metrics you track.

Set appropriate goals, identify the target audience, and the period of time you plan on achieving the goal.

If ROI is a major factor in your content marketing strategy, concentrate more on revenue and conversions. 

Final Words

The concept of content marketing ROI is very important to measure whether your efforts are taking you in the right direction. ROI, content-specific KPIs, and general metrics are bound to each other. 

Although measuring content marketing performance is not an easy task, it is possible with the right strategy and tactics. Once you start monitoring your ROI wisely, you will start seeing its results in a short time.

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