Measuring the Value of the Content that We are Creating (I.E. ROI Measurement)
This inspiring presentation discussing some tips on ROI measurement was conducted by Chelsea Blacker, Co-Founder and Managing Director at SEO & content marketing agency BlueGlass.
Back in 2012, Chelsea started Blueglass: a company that would specifically focus on SEO for other companies. They obtained clients like Expedia, that still work with Blueglass today. Last year, Blueglass won one of Deloitte’s Fastest Growing Tech Companies awards. They accomplished this by growing with existing clients, working with new brands that they see eye-to-eye with, and ‘consistently proving their value to existing and new clients’.
Chelsea’s presentation covered numerous areas, but the overall theme was about native advertising. Read on for her tips, tricks, and experienced insights.
How to Define ROI and ROI Measurement
Chelsea gave us a brief overview of ROI (return on investment) and how to calculate ROI measurement: ROI = Gain from investment – cost of investment / cost of investment.
She says, you must first identify what stage you are at in the buying cycle you are targeting in order to determine the metrics for success.
1. Awareness: product sparks an interest, meets a need, or creates a need
2. Consideration: think about a product and research marketplace
3. Conversation: buy, join, or sign-up
For each stage, Blueglass has identified key metrics and content to work with. For example:
· Organic rankings
· Organic traffic
· Social traffic
· Referral traffic
· Inbound links
· Re-targeting lists
· Sales leads
· Sales accepted leads
· White paper/e-book downloads
· E-mail list
· Phone enquiries
· Whitepapers & e-books
· Case studies
· Comparison guides
· Industry analysis
· Thought leadership articles
· Cost per conversion
· Bounce rate
· Abandoned checkouts
· Exit pages
· Event attendees
· On-demand content
· Demos & Trial content
· Event attendees
· Experiential Marketing
Where Do Native Ads Come In?
Native advertising falls primarily under the ‘awareness’ and ‘consideration’ stages of the customer journey. Native ad ROI measurement can be tricky—it often relies on ‘soft metrics’, but this depends on the format of the content.
Ways to Conduct Native Advertising ROI Measurement
There are several ways to measure the worth of ROI. Chelsea gives the examples of click-throughs, customer acquisition, authority and thought leadership, brand recognition, and social media shares.
Chelsea points out that ‘content is still king!’ The format of the ad is not necessarily as important as the content itself. The focus should always be on delivering maximum value to the customer. An article, sponsored post, or any form of native advertising content will only perform well if it educates, informs, and helps the viewer.
Present Metrics Your Audience Understands
Chelsea discusses how Blueglass takes special care to present the right metrics to the right people. She gives this example: if Blueglass is sending a report to their day-to-day contact, who may be an SEO manager or a digital marketing department head—these people will understand exactly what Blueglass is doing. For this reason, Blueglass can send on SEO metrics, Digital PR coverage metrics, website quality, ect.
But say Blueglass wants to send a report to the SEO manager of a financial company. They will be more interested in the top of the pyramid, which is revenue.
Onsite SEO & Content Strategy Metrics
Typical Onsite Content Metrics include organic rankings, organic referrals, social traffic, social shares, conversions such as white paper and e-book downloads, improved bounce rate, and drop-in abandoned baskets at checkout.
Native Advertising Content Metrics incorporate things such as customer acquisitions (advertisement click-throughs, newsletter subscriptions, lead magnet downloads), brand awareness (analytics, Google trends), authority (web traffic, comments, queries), and social media buzz (shares, likes, and comments).
Chelsea gave the example of improving the viewability of a Visitors Guide for the Chelsea Flower Show. In one year, traffic increased over 500%, which was a great statistic to show for direct content.
Non-branded keyword traffic, from an organic perspective, is also really important. Blueglass uses the tool SEO Monitor, which tells you what keywords were used in a search to bring a visitor to your website. Chelsea uses the example of vegan dogfood: if you search that phrase and come upon a vegan dogfood brand’s website, SEO Monitor will tell you that was the keyword that drew the traffic.
PR metrics is another area where native advertising can make a big difference.
Typical PR measurement metrics include quality/number of links built, page level trust flow, citation flow metrics, topical trust flow, and referral traffic from links built.
Blueglass has a tool that measures the quality of a website that a company sells products on. The tool is called Majestic PR. If you plug website domains into Magestic, you can see whether the website is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for SEO value.
Chelsea mentioned another way to estimate reach is a tool called Coverage Book. It gives PR metrics such as readership and views. Buzzsumo is another tool that measures estimated social shares. It’s a great way to show how many shares different pieces of content has received. You can also use competing brand’s website what has done best on social media.
Measure Retargeting List Audience Growth
This is a great way to retarget all the people that have come to see your initial content.
Blueglass also measures the ‘entire ecosystem’, as Chelsea puts it, not just link placements. For example, if Expedia has placements on The Guardian and The Telegraph newspaper websites, Blueglass can show how many links have come from the two online newspapers. Blueglass can explore what steps the audience took in order to view the link equity that was built from that specific content.
Board Level Metrics
Typical board level measurement metrics include revenue, net profit, average order value, and cost-per-conversion. These can be compared and tracked year-on-year to build a picture of the impact of your marketing.
Measuring Organic Visibility
In terms of content visibility, using a tool such as Search Metric can be quite useful. Search Metric displays a graph that shows you how many keywords certain brands are ranking for across the internet. You can also compare your content to others throughout search engines.
4 Practical Tips & Tricks for Measuring ROI
1. Incorporate ROI measurement into your campaign kick-off process.
Clarify ROI metrics before you do any work. What results are you looking for? When are your board meetings? When does your financial year end? What is your CPC (cost-per-click), CPA (cost-per-acquisition), AOV (average order value) in Adwords?
2. Measure your ‘dark social’ shares.
Dark social is basically social shares that can’t be tracked. However, Blueglass does have a way around this. If you understand how many people are copy-and-pasting your URL, this will provide you with a clearer idea of what’s going on with your website. Especially in a business-to-business environment, people are more likely to send the URL to a colleague than share it on Twitter.
3. Compare Organic Traffic to PPC
If your content isn’t being measured against revenue, look into the paid figures for your brand/clients PPC/banner ads, ect. Work out what they are spending, and you can prove how well you are doing in comparison.
How to Calculate:
CPC (Cost Per Click) – SEO + Content Costs / Traffic
CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) – SEO + Content Costs / Conversions
Conversion Rate – Conversions / Traffic x 100
ROI (Return on Investment) – Revenue – SEO Costs / SEO Costs x 100
4. Become More Commercially Savvy
Chelsea discusses continuous learning here. She talks about how you must be savvy in order to create campaigns that will make clients happy. Sharing links from TED talks, being commercially aware, and reading constantly are great ways to do this. This is important to increase your budgets and improve your working environment.