39 Content Marketing ROI Statistics You'll Want to Share
November 18, 2021 •DJ Team
Is content marketing effective in 2021? At the top of the marketing funnel, it can be difficult to gauge your return on investment from simply generating brand awareness.
Building measurement into your strategy from the start will help you set a baseline to monitor your success and adjust your strategies based on what’s working.
In fact, a HubSpot study found that content marketers who measure ROI are 12 times more likely to be generating a greater year-over-year return.
Why should your business invest in content marketing? Content marketing gives you better data about your audience and better control over your marketing strategies than paid or earned media.
Content marketing brings leads that are more qualified to your sales team because the prospective customers have already spent time engaging with your brand.
Most successful content marketers will tell you that it takes time to build a content marketing program from the ground up. Below, we share a roadmap for how to build measurement into your content marketing program. But first, how do you gain buy-in from your leadership team before you have results?
We’ve compiled a few digital marketing, social media, and content marketing statistics to help you talk the language of the C-Suite to get the resources you need to be successful.
Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Statistics 2021
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing but drives 3 times as many leads.
- Content marketing generates conversion rates 6 times higher than other marketing methods.
- The top three ways marketers measure the success of content marketing strategy are sales (62%), web traffic (53%), and social engagement (47%).
- The primary goals for running marketing campaigns in 2021 are brand awareness (62%), increasing sales (60%), and increasing engagement and lead generation (tied at 50%).
- Businesses report that their top marketing priority in 2021 is generating more leads.
- SEO has a 14.6% conversion rate, compared to 1.7% for traditional outbound methods like cold-calling or direct mail.
Content Creation Statistics 2021
- 82% of marketers actively use content marketing in 2021, up from 70% in 2020.
- The most popular forms of media used in content strategy in 2021 are videos, blogs, and case studies
- A content update can increase a site’s organic traffic by more than 40%.
- The top five channels used by marketers in 2021 were social media, website, email marketing, content marketing/SEO, and paid social.
- The top predicted areas of content marketing investment in 2021 are content creation (70%) and website enhancements (66%).
B2B Marketing ROI Benchmarks
- B2B marketers with blogs gain 67% more leads
- B2B companies spend 26% of their total marketing budget on content marketing. However, the most successful B2B companies spend nearly 40% of their marketing budget on content marketing
- 94% of the most successful B2B content marketers use metrics to measure content performance, compared with just 60% of the least successful
Social Media ROI Statistics
- 80% of marketers use engagement at their primary social-media success metric and 56% focus on website traffic
- Only 34% of marketers are confident in their ability to measure success on social media, while 30% didn’t feel they could measure their performance at all
- In 2021, social media passed websites as the top channel used in marketing
What Metrics are Used to Measure Content Marketing ROI?
Two important metrics used to measure content marketing are leads and sales, which require some setup and measurement for attribution (read our guidance below).
While it may take some time to build up an audience and attribute direct leads and sales to your efforts, there are other metrics you can use to gauge your success.
- Traffic/Views. You can use Google Analytics or your social media analytics to understand how many times a piece of content has been visited.
- Engaged Sessions. While bounce rates are no more with Google Analytics 4, they’ve been replaced by engaged sessions, which share how many of your sessions lasted more than 10 seconds, had two or more screen or page views, or resulted in a conversion. Your engagement rate will tell you which percentage of your total sessions resulted in user interaction.
- Social Engagement. There are many ways to measure social media engagement, but you will want to look at what percentage of views interacted with a post or video on social media, as well as how many times a specific URL has been shared.
- Conversions/Events. Conversions, known as events in the latest version of Google Analytics, can tell you what percentage of page visitors perform a certain action. Common conversion events are registrations, downloads, page scrolling, or, of course, a purchase.
How is ROI Calculated in Digital Marketing?
To calculate your digital marketing or content marketing ROI, you need to first calculate your costs using a digital marketing ROI calculator or by doing your own math. Make sure to include your staff headcount, equipment and software, design or other production services, and any content promotion in your costs.
Select the KPI you’d like to analyze, which for most companies is revenue from sales. Then, follow this digital marketing ROI formula:
(Sales growth – Content marketing cost) ÷ Content marketing cost = ROI
If you can identify sales earned through content marketing tactics, you can make a powerful case about your growth and value. If you don’t have marketing attribution connected to sales, you can use your overall sales numbers to make an estimate, or you can assign a value to other KPIs like leads.
Here’s an ROI calculator example. A Q4 holiday campaign might cost $5,000 to produce, including video production and staff time. If the sales as a result of the campaign are $30,000, the formula would be ($30,000-$5,000) ÷ $5,000 = 500%, or 5:1.
ROI can be expressed as a percentage or as a ratio. For social media campaigns, check out HootSuite’s social media ROI calculator.
What is a Good ROI Percentage for Marketing?
A good ROI percentage can vary based on the specific costs and margins of your industry. However, 5:1 or 500% is considered a good general benchmark for a marketing ROI.
Any return less than the cost of your investment is operating at a loss, and a 2:1 ratio or less may not be profitable depending on the other costs involved in your business.
How to Set Up Content Marketing Attribution
Only 52% of marketers currently use marketing attribution reporting, so there’s a lot of room for improvement in the industry. To set up marketing attribution, you need to dive deep into your available analytics to set up tags and reports that will allow you to track content effectiveness. There are several ways to do this depending on the complexity of your marketing technology use case:
- Create unique campaign tags for Google Analytics. You can create tags on your email marketing and social media that create a footprint linking your conversions to specific pieces of content.
- Use a marketing attribution tool. For example, DemandJump’s marketing attribution feature pairs with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pardot, and social media advertising sites to create sleek and powerful reports showing the origination point of your leads and sales.
(DemandJump Attribution flow report)
Content Marketing Trends 2021
Where will content marketing go in 2022 and beyond? If 2021 is any indication, there are exciting possibilities on the horizon for content marketing. Here are a few trends you’ll want to watch:
Video on the rise
For the second year in a row, video was the top form of media used on content strategy in 2021, used by 65% of marketers. The video platform Wistia reported a new peak of video uploads in April 2020, with uploads in the second half of 2020 totaling 88% higher and before the pandemic.
B2B marketers reported an increase in organic YouTube use in 2021 from 53% to 63%. Consumption grew to match the demand, and there was a noticeable increase of 140% in videos 30-60 minutes long. This likely reflects brands moving toward live stream and live content.
Welcome to the AI future
While less than half of all marketers report using bots in marketing, their reported use of AI increased by 190% from 2018 to 2020. Live chat on websites or social media, also known as conversational marketing, is an area to watch and test out in the new year to come if you haven’t already.
Pandemic changes are here to stay
70% of B2B marketers reported that the pandemic made a moderate to major impact on their content marketing strategy. 85% expect that some of the changes will stay in effect for the foreseeable future.
Popular changes included changing their targeting or messaging strategy, adjusting the editorial calendar, or changing the content distribution or promotion strategy.
While the use of in-person events decreased drastically (down to 42% in 2021 from 73% in 2020), virtual events saw a rise. Virtual events/webinars/online courses increased from 57% to 67%, while live-streaming content increased from 10% to 29%.
Convert SEO Trends into Returns With DemandJump
Content marketing has a lasting, cumulative effect and builds a direct line to potential clients that can deliver results for years.
It’s important to have a company’s trust to be able to try out new content marketing tactics each year, while measuring, iterating, and continuously improving on campaigns and tactics.
Whatever your KPI, you need the right approach and tools to measure and deliver an ROI.
Work smarter with automation tools designed for you, the marketer. DemandJump brings a roadmap and metrics to content marketing with tools for keyword research, one-click outlines, and marketing attribution. Get started today for free!
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