Content Marketing ROI

Your Content Marketing ROI Value Proposition

When we think of ROI, we think in terms of hard numbers. Your CEO, CFO and CMO might want to know how your content marketing efforts affect costs, profit, revenue and pipeline growth. Because content marketing offers so many ‘soft’ benefits, it can be difficult to clearly communicate content ROI to the C-suite.

The Soft Benefits of a Content Marketing Strategy

By sharing valuable insights, expertise and useful information, you can establish your brand as an authority in your space or sector. This positions your brand as a trustworthy resource for the information your target audience wants to see.

So, where should we start?

Increasing Engagement
Customer Loyalty
Building Relationships
Search Engine Visibility

What Are the Best Metrics for Measuring Success With Your Content Marketing Strategy?

It’s pretty simple: The best metrics are the ones that measure whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. So let’s start there.

What do you want your content to do?

Considering that customers are more likely to buy from companies that demonstrate an understanding of their customers’ goals, any content strategy should primarily and exclusively revolve around delivering value. For your business, evaluate company-wide SMART goals and key performance indicators, then align your content with these measurable objectives.

Consider what want to achieve with each piece of content: Are you looking to drive or elevate brand awareness? Move people to consider the options you have to offer? Encourage a decision to engage with a member of your team? Provide added value to existing clients and customers?

For each soft benefit content marketing offers,
there are KPIs you can to prove the impact of the benefit.

If your goal is

Brand Awareness

measure KPIs like...

  • Growth in website traffic
  • Pages viewed per visit
If your goal is

Customer Loyalty or Increasing Engagement

measure KPIs like...

  • Return website visitors
  • Blog and email subscribers
If your goal is

Lead Generation

measure KPIs like...

  • Number of new leads generated
  • Conversions on website forms

Using Attribution Models To Measure Content Marketing ROI

According to Google Analytics, an attribution model is “the rule or set of rules that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touch points in conversion paths.” 

If that sounds like jargon to you, let’s look at it through the lens of a real-life example.


A buyer initially comes to your website after doing a Google search for ‘applicant tracking software’ and clicking on your sponsored ad. After reading your recent post, “5 Tips for Finding the Best Applicant Tracking Software,” she subscribes to your blog.

She is then placed in a top-of-funnel email workflow; a few days later, she receives an email with an invitation to read your case study, “Software Startup Grows Workforce 125% With ATS”. A day after that, she returns to your site to sign up for a free trial of your software. A month later, she becomes a customer.

To recap, the different touchpoints involved in converting this buyer were:




Blog Post




Case Study


Free Trial

So, how do you gauge the success of these individual pieces of content?

That depends on your attribution model. Let’s look at a few different models to see which content piece would come out on top.

Free Trial


In the Last Interaction attribution model, attribution model, the free trial offer gets the credit for making the sale.

Who should use it?

Companies with short sales cycles and customers who don’t spend much time in the consideration phase.

Sponsored Ad


In the First Interaction attribution model, attribution model, the ad you placed receives 100 percent of the credit for the sale.

Who should use it?

If your brand isn’t well known and you need to create more initial brand awareness, this model is likely the way to go.

Blog Post, Email, Case Study


In the Linear attribution model, each touchpoint in the conversion path – paid search, email and valuable content – shares equal credit.

Who should use it?

Companies that want to measure content marketing success throughout the sales cycle.

There are numerous possibilities when it comes to attribution models, including creating custom models or hybrids.

For a more detailed discussion of this subject, read Google Analytics’ article, About the default MCF attribution models.

When Your Content Isn’t Generating Enough ROI

From our perspective, some notable roadblocks stand between great content and positive ROI. 


You’re not taking buyer personas
or an ideal customer profile into account.

Every single piece of content your brand produces should take advantage of what you’ve learned from buyer persona interviews or an ideal customer profile exercise. Without either element, you’re in risky territory. If your content’s ROI isn’t where you want it to be, check to make sure you’re applying buyer insights to your messaging and content creation. 

It’s also worth noting that buyer personas and ICPs should be revisited and open to revision as your company grows and evolves. Your target audience may have shifted, and using outdated personas or ICPs as the basis of your content is likely to hurt your content’s performance.


You’re trying to hide the fact you’re selling something.

We all love creativity, but in all this hoopla about creating amazing content, there seems to have been some miscommunication around the fact that it’s OK to be selling something. Everyone who comes to your website knows you’re selling something. Don’t pretend you’re not!

As HubSpot Marketing Manager Kristen Baker puts it: “Content marketing is valuable because it educates your leads and prospects about the products and services you offer.” The way you communicate should be clear, comprehensive and creative, but it doesn’t have to – and shouldn’t – obscure the reality that you’re selling. After all, you want people to discover your product, learn about its value and buy it, right?


You’re not creating conversion paths.

How do you measure a piece of content’s success? Attach it to some outcomes that enable your visitors to convert into leads. 

For example, if you’d like your latest case study to generate 100 new leads, create a series of related blog posts and include them in targeted emails to contacts who might find it interesting. Within your case study, blog posts and emails, include clear and enticing CTAs that state the next step in achieving similar results, and encourage contacts to take that desired action.

A great way to approach measuring and calculating content marketing ROI is to create a campaign around a piece of content. For each piece, you might have one or more email campaigns, paid media on search and social, calls to action on your website and shared blog posts via earned media. 

For each channel, create unique landing page URLs so that you can track them independently, but also aggregate them within a campaign summary. Now, as you promote the campaign, measure impressions, click-throughs and conversions from each channel. This gives you both attribution metrics as well as an overall view of campaign effectiveness. Fold in the cost of each part of the overall campaign and the number and lifetime value of the customers it generates, and you have a realistic appraisal of ROI.

Measuring Marketing ROI is a Long-Term Strategy

While it can be powerful to drill down into things like attribution models and landing page conversions, it’s important to keep in mind content marketing is a holistic effort where no single piece of content is likely to be responsible for a sale. 

Just like the old saying, “There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM,” there’s no piece of content that, on its own, will make or break your content marketing efforts. The key is in the content mix, and the secret to content marketing success and ROI is consistently creating great content, finding the right KPIs for your brand’s business goals and measuring them over a long period of time. Then, and only then, will you have the ammo to accurately communicate content marketing ROI to anyone and everyone who asks.


Want to boost revenue with content marketing?

Schedule a free consultation to learn how Kuno Creative helps clients demonstrate ROI with their content marketing strategies.