In our previous posts, we’ve learned how producing and sharing effective content remains a difficult task. But the latest research suggests that measuring content effectiveness appears even more challenging than creating it.
A recent study reported that less than half of the B2B marketing leaders surveyed said it was easy to measure content effectiveness and performance. And only 48% had confidence they were accurately reporting their results.1
What Metrics Are Tracked?
That brings us to the content marketing metrics B2B companies are tracking. The study asked what B2B marketing leaders believed were the most important metrics to track. They cited the following:2
- Number of sales opportunities created (58%)
- Lead conversion rates (56%)
- Pipeline generation (45%)
The study participants also named these metrics among the most difficult ones to track (see table 1). While marketers believe it is easy to measure vanity metrics, such as number of clicks and time on site, sales pipeline and revenue performance appeared much more difficult to calculate.
|Metric||Level of Importance||Difficulty of Tracking|
|Number of Opportunities Created||1 (57%)||4 (34%)|
|Lead Conversion Rate||2 (56%)||2 (35%)|
|Pipeline Generation||3 (45%)||1 (36%)|
|Number of Clicks||4 (44%)||7 (22%)|
|Number of MQLs Created||5 (43%)||6 (29%)|
|Pipeline Conversion Rates||6 (43%)||3 (35%)|
|Time on Site||7 (41%)||8 (21%)|
|Number of SQLs Created||8 (36%)||5 (30%)|
The study concluded, “Invest in data and reporting capabilities to enable data-driven decisions that can influence your ability to personalize content, create more salient content, and know what pieces of content resonate best with your audience. Having greater data and insights are the most-desired addition for B2B marketing leaders’ content marketing programs.”
The Benefits of Content Engagement
Another recent survey made it clear that increasing content engagement generated meaningful benefits in terms of higher lead generation and revenue. Increased sales and lead generation lead the way as the most mentioned benefits. Only 6% of the participants reported no direct results (see figure 1).3
While B2B marketers have embraced content marketing as an important element in their demand generation efforts, the measurement and analysis of this strategy’s effectiveness remain uncharted territory. Our experience suggests that transactional metrics such as email opens, click-through rates, and numbers of leads generated, while easy to track, provide little value in calculating strategy ROI. Until B2B marketers invest time and effort in integrated marketing automation/CRM technologies and the establishment of sales pipeline metrics, content marketing value will remain difficult to assess.
In our next post, we’ll share our recommendations for closing the content efficiency gap.
1,2 The New Marketing Standard: How Today’s Successful B2B Marketers Accelerate the Buyer’s Journey with Content, Heinz Marketing, November 2019.
3 Content Marketing Engagement Study, Ascend2, June 2019.