B2B Marketing Blog

How To Report On Content Marketing [Part 4 of 5]

By Jordan Con
Nov 7, 2016

Content marketing has established itself as a central feature of most B2B marketing strategies. When executed well, it’s a cost effective way to bring in new demand, engage and nurture existing prospects, and convince opportunities down-funnel that your product or service is the right one.

Even though the majority of marketers believe that their content is working, they struggle to prove it with data. According to the State of Content Marketing Report by CMI, while 88% of B2B organizations utilize content marketing, when asked what their top challenges are, 57% said “measuring content effectiveness” and 52% “measuring the ROI of their content marketing programs.”

Chapter 4.png

A big problem is that many content marketers are still measuring success in terms of pageviews and social shares. Neither of those are bad things, but they also aren’t true measure of business value. A blog post that generates a ton of pageviews and social shares isn’t necessarily “effective” nor does it mean that it will have any impact on revenue.

So how should content marketers track and measure their results, and what reports will help them prove their value?

We will cover five content marketing reports, starting from reports that highlight top-of-the-funnel effectiveness and make our way down to how content marketers can report on revenue.

 

Recipe 4.1: BLOG PAGEVIEWS -> NEW LEADS/CONTACTS CONVERSION REPORT

B2B marketing is all about effectively moving prospects through the customer funnel. At the top-of-the-funnel, marketers are trying to turn first-time visitors into (qualified) leads. Content marketers often do this through blog posts that get shared on social media, get promoted by ads, get emailed around, and/or get found on search engines.

The most important way blog posts demonstrate value is by converting people to leads. When someone reads a blog post and eventually becomes a lead, they’re indicating that the blog post was relevant and useful, or else they wouldn’t offer their contact information to that company.

Problem:

How do content marketers know if their blog posts are engaging and converting readers into leads/contacts?

Solution:

A blog pageview -> new leads/contacts conversion report tells content marketers what percentage of the readership found the blog post valuable enough to eventually become a lead or contact by simply dividing unique pageviews (the number of people that read the post) by net new leads or contacts that had that post as a landing page.

To create this report, start by creating a lead report. Set the Landing Page field as the row grouping and drag Lead Count into the column grouping. Choose to sum the lead count. Then, create a filter: Landing Page contains “blog” or however your site structures its blog article URLs. This will give you one portion of the report. To understand the effectiveness of each article you’ll need to connect this data to your web analytics.

There are a variety of ways to do this. You can export this report data to Excel and match the Pageview data using the landing page URL as the common column to merge. Create an Excel formula to calculate the rate of leads per page view, which is Total Leads / Unique Pageviews.

Ingredients:

  • Landing Page contains Blog
  • Unique Pageviews (from web analytics)
  • Sum of Leads or Contact Count (U-Shaped or other attribution model)
  • Timeframe: Based on Touchpoint Date

Recipe 4.1.png

 

Recipe 4.2: LANDING PAGE -> FORM URL REPORT

Problem:

How do content marketers map the path of their readers with data? And how do they know if readers are taking their desired path to conversion?

Solution:

In the Net New Leads by Landing Page Report in Chapter 2 [link], we answered the question of “How many?” In the report above, Recipe 4.1, we answered, “How efficiently?” This report answers, “Where?”

Before we get to the report, let’s take a step back. As we discussed earlier, the goal of content marketing is to provide value to prospective customers. You want to create situations where the customer learns something valuable, and, if they are a good fit, they want to learn more about what you do. A win-win situation. Marketers often do this through two types of content -- gated and ungated.

Gated content includes ebooks, whitepapers, reports, webinars, etc. To access these, you have to provide contact information, which is the primary step in becoming a lead. On the other hand, ungated content are “free” pieces of content in that they don’t require contact information, like blog posts. From a marketer’s perspective, the goal of ungated content is to build trust and demonstrate the value of your content, so that eventually the reader will decide that it’s worthwhile to download a piece of gated content.

From a data and reporting point of view, the path of a visitor would contain two pieces of information: the blog landing page URL and the URL where they filled out a form to download a piece of content. A trait of a good piece of ungated content would be a clear path from a blog post to, say, an ebook download. This report shows that path and answers, Where are readers of my blog post converting into leads?

To create this report, start with a lead report in summary format. First, drop the Landing Page field as a grouping. Then, drop the Form URL field as a sub-grouping. Third, drop Lead or Contact Count into the column grouping and choose to sum the count. Finally, set the date field based on Touchpoint Date to whatever date range you want to report on.

Ingredients:

  • Landing Page contains Blog
    • Form URL
  • Sum of Lead/Contact Count (U-Shaped or other attribution model)
  • Timeframe: Based on Touchpoint Date

Recipe 4.2.png

 

Recipe 4.3: BLOG PAGEVIEWS -> TOUCHPOINT ENGAGEMENT CONVERSION REPORT

This report is similar to the first report (Recipe 4.1), but for marketers doing ABM. Yes, content marketing absolutely has a role in ABM. Content can create coverage based on specific intent, you can create content for specific personas that you’re going after, and it plays a role in sales enablement and outbound calling.

Problem:

How do content marketers report on their top and middle-of-the-funnel effectiveness in an ABM world?

Solution:

In an ABM world, content marketers can measure the top and middle-of-the-funnel effectiveness of your content by measuring how frequently it engages their target accounts. These engagements are counted by touchpoints.

Instead of calculating a unique pageview-to-lead or contact ratio, this report calculates a unique pageview-to-touchpoint ratio for the accounts that you care about.

Similar to Recipe 4.1, to create this report, start by creating a lead report. Set the Landing Page field as the row grouping and drag the Touchpoint Count field into the column grouping. Choose to sum the touchpoint count. Then, create a filter: Landing Page contains “blog” or however your site structures its blog article URLs. This will give you one portion of the report. To understand the effectiveness of each article you’ll need to connect this data to your web analytics.

There are a variety of ways to do this. You can export this report data to Excel and match the Pageview data using the landing page URL as the common column to merge. Create an Excel formula to calculate the rate of touchpoints per page view, which is Total Touchpoints / Unique Pageviews.

Ingredients:

  • Landing Page contains Blog
  • Unique Pageviews (from web analytics)
  • Sum of Touchpoint Count
    • Grade equals A, B, C, D (optional)
  • Timeframe: Based on Touchpoint Date

Recipe 4.3.png

 

Recipe 4.4: BLOG PIPELINE & REVENUE

Problem:

How do content marketers prove the business value of their efforts?

Solution:

A blog pipeline and revenue report connects blog efforts (or any other landing page) to key downstream metrics: pipeline and revenue.

Again, this report is based on the landing page of a visitor’s session so it doesn’t matter how a person found the blog post. Then, according to the attribution model, that touchpoint will receive a portion of any downstream pipeline or revenue attributed to the account.

If a blog post was a person’s very first touch (and nothing more), and you used a W-Shaped attribution solution, when that person eventually becomes a customer, the blog post will receive 30% of the total revenue.

To report on both Pipeline and Revenue, it’s easiest to create two opportunity reports and then later merge the data in Excel. In the first opportunity report, set the Landing Page field as the row grouping and Revenue as the column grouping. To report on just the blog, create a filter: Landing Page contains “blog” or whatever URL structure you use to specify blog posts. And then to make sure that you only show pipeline revenue, set another filter: Stage not equal to “Closed” or however you determine open opportunities.

In the second opportunity report -- the one that will report on revenue -- follow the same steps. However, when you create the last filter, set Stage equal to “Closed-Won” or however you determine opportunities that became customers.

Ingredients:

  • Landing Page contains Blog
  • Opp Count
    • Stage does not equal Closed (or however you determine open opportunities)
    • Revenue (W-Shaped or other attribution model)
  • Opp Count
    • Stage equals Closed-Won (or however you determine customers)
    • Revenue (W-Shaped or Full Path or other attribution model)
  • Timeframe: Based on Opportunity Closed Date

Recipe 4.4.png

 

Recipe 4.5: CONTENT DOWNLOAD PIPELINE & REVENUE

Problem:

How do content marketers prove the value of their non-blog content, like ebooks, research reports, webinars, etc.?

Solution:

Content marketers can report on the pipeline and revenue generated based on the Form URL, instead of Landing Page. Other than this difference, it uses the same logic as the previous report.

This report tells us where prospects filled out a form and tells us what pieces of gated content are driving value in dollar terms.

To create this report, follow the exact same instructions as Recipe 4.4; however, instead of using Landing Page as the row grouping and filter, use Form URL. All other steps are the same.

Ingredients:

  • Form URL
  • Opp Count
    • Stage does not equal Closed (or however you determine open opportunities)
    • Revenue (W-Shaped or other attribution model)
  • Opp Count
    • Stage equals Closed-Won (or however you determine customers)
    • Revenue (W-Shaped or Full Path or other attribution model)
  • Timeframe: Based on Opportunity Closed Date

Recipe 4.5.png

B2B marketers are in consensus that content marketing is a critical tool in the marketing toolbox. However, to take the next step and be valued more highly within the organization, content marketers need to be able to prove their value. These reports will do just that.

Stay tuned for the fifth and final part of this marketing performance management and reporting series, in which we will cover event marketing reporting. You can also get the entire series in an easy to use PDF by clicking below.

Marketing Performance Management & Reporting Cookbook  The B2B marketer's guide to performance management and reporting    Download Now

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