The outlook for content marketing is generally optimistic. And, although some industries find their content marketing efforts to be rather successful, recent research [download page] from Ascend2 finds that about 6 in 10 marketers are finding measuring content marketing performance either extremely (7%) or moderately difficult (54%).
With only 39% of the more than 300 B2B and B2C marketers surveyed saying that it’s moderately or extremely easy to measure content marketing performance, it might be worth looking at what challenges marketers are encountering when trying to measure performance.
For 46% of respondents, lack of budget and resources is one of the top challenges they face. Another 44% say that they also struggle with determining ROI. This is likely why other research as revealed that only 43% of B2B marketers measure content marketing ROI. That said, an overwhelming majority of respondents say that being able to measure content marketing ROI is extremely (48%) or somewhat (44%) important when it comes to allocating content budgets.
Insufficient data (39%) is also cited as a top challenge marketers face when measuring content marketing performance. Other challenges cited in the report, to a lesser extent, include lack of a unified strategy (28%), insufficient attribution model (24%), lack of a unified dashboard (22%), ineffective tech stack (17%) and inconsistent KPIs across the organization (15%).
On a more positive note, marketers are also able to identify strategic elements that contribute to measuring content marketing effectively. More than half (55%) report that establishing a reliable process or strategy is one such element. Some 4 in 10 believe that defining organizational goals is also important, while more than one-third (36%) attribute effective measurement to a high-functioning staff or resources.
Customer journey mapping (34%) and identifying personas (27%) are two other contributors to measuring content marketing effectively.
When asked what were the most important metrics to consider when evaluating content marketing performance, the top two metrics were conversion rate (44%) and website traffic (44%). Fewer looked at social media engagement (31%), email engagement (31%), download/form completions (26%) or source/acquisition metrics (25%).
Tools to Measure Performance
About one-quarter (26%) of the marketers surveyed list a high-functioning tech stack as an element that contributes most to measuring content marketing effectively. While marketing technology budgets are likely to increase, for the most part, respondents appear to be keeping the number of tools in their tech stack to as lean a number as possible, with the majority saying they only utilize 1-2 tools (33%) or 3-5 tools (34%) to measure content performance.
Close to half (48%) cite analytics tools as the most important tools needed to measure content marketing performance. A CRM system is also considered important for 37% of respondents, while 3 in 10 say marketing automation (30%) and social sharing tools (29%) are critical for effective measurement.
To a lesser extent, some marketers believe that tools such as dashboard & data visualization (25%), SEO tools (25%), and content management systems (22%) are needed to measure performance.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a February 2020 survey of 318 B2B and B2C marketers, close to half (46%) of which have a primary role of owner/partner or C-level.