Only 23% of B2B marketers rate their company as strong (top-2 box on a 5-point scale) at measuring the ROI from content marketing, according to the 2013 Lenskold Group/Pedowitz Group Lead Gen Marketing Effectiveness Study. That’s an even greater percentage than believe their company is good at measuring other financial results from content marketing, including incremental revenue (21%), lift in revenue per sale (17%) and lift in post-purchase retention or loyalty (16%). Respondents are more adept at measuring engagement outcomes, though.
Overall, about three-quarters regularly measure content views (impressions, clicks downloads, etc.) and content requests (complete a form), while close to two-thirds measure responses and inquiries for products and services (contact forms). A majority regularly track sales conversions (58%) and participation in content consumption (56%), although fewer (43%) are measuring content sharing (like, shares, comments, etc.).
When it comes to techniques used to assess the contribution of content marketing to qualified leads passed to sales, about 8 in 10 respondents are using basic tracking of campaign results. But beyond that, fewer than one-third are tracking with attribution to the first (32%), last (25%) or multiple (28%) touchpoints, while about 1 in 8 are using modeling and statistical analyses.
The results suggest that B2B marketers – for whom content marketing is growing in importance – feel mostly comfortable with basic metrics, but have trouble putting those together into financial results. Asked their greatest challenges for measuring content marketing’s contribution to revenue, respondents cited two main obstacles: separating impact of multiple contacts (57%); and tracking contact engagement to close (also at 57%). A slight majority also cite difficulty with the long time periods between contact and close, though a lack of clear objectives on outcomes (30%) and a lack of systems to capture contact details (23%) aren’t seen as big problems.
While measuring ROI might be a pain point, B2B marketers appear a bit more buoyant about the strength of their content marketing processes, as a majority 53% rate their companies as strong at educating prospects on solving needs. But, only a minority think that they are good at re-purposing content for efficiency (40%), capturing intelligence for the sales team (29%) and customizing content to the buyer journey stage (24%). That last point may be in line for some improvement, given recent research from Pardot indicating that three-quarters of B2B buyers agree that they prefer different content at each stage of the research process.
What types of content are buyers likely to encounter? Almost all B2B marketers are using internally produced written content (97%), per the Lenskold Group report, and many are also using live (81%) and recorded (70%) presentations, externally sponsored written content (63%), video on demand (61%) and visual graphics (53%).
About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 323 B2B marketers, 85% of whom are based in the US and Canada.