In search of Content & Engagement ROI

Apr 11, 2016 | Content Experience

Anyone working in marketing knows that ‘content marketing’ is a hot topic. Content creation for brands is growing massively, with $144bn global investment in 2015 forecast to reach $313bn by 2020.

With this level of investment, it comes as a shock to realise that not only do many brands not have a compelling strategy for content ROI, beyond traditional measures of audience reach & content consumption, but they don’t yet have the ability to measure effectively.

content marketing


In PWC & Forbes recent Insights report they found forty-three percent of respondents view reporting and measuring content effectiveness as critical to digital marketing efforts, and 50% see it as important.

So why aren’t brands doing a better job on measurement & ROI. Existing research shows that 71 per cent of marketers have identified not knowing how best to measure content marketing ROI as a barrier to wider adoption. There are a myriad of factors to explain why brands aren’t yet as effective as they need to be in measuring content and engagement performance, or in driving sufficient ROI from content.

PWC & Forbes recent Insights 2016


The speed of change in digital has exposed many companies shortcomings when it comes to operating in an agile way. Put simply, brands are racing to catch up with fast changing consumer behaviour and expectations. The drivers for these changes are well documented and understood. In just the last 5 years, there are one billion new internet users, almost 750 million new websites, a 40 fold increase in mobile app downloads. The size of the changes are spectacular. The net effect for brands is that they are creating unprecedented amounts of content whilst managing a rapidly multiplying range of prospect and customer touch-points. Many brands find themselves on the back foot, trying to adjust to new consumer expectations around engagement, relevance, consistency etc.


This heady combination of rapid change and mushrooming complexity presents a serious challenge for brands. Over the last few years, creating a ‘content strategy’ has become a must have for companies. But despite the fact that creating good content is a means to an end, not an end in itself, focus on ROI is often pushed back whilst more rudimentary questions are addressed, like ‘what kind of content do we need’, ‘who will create the content’ and ‘how do we distribute content effectively’.


A simple but effective way to think about measures of content ROI is to consider three categories:

Media Impact

Media impact is the most traditional and well understood measure. The power of social media and huge growth in the volume and spectrum of digital touchpoints across owned, earned and paid media makes creating a consolidated understanding of content performance challenging. The variety of content formats and differing user behaviours within specific channels further complicated the measurement challenge.

Depth of Engagement

Engagement around content typically includes conversations (eg. asking questions, sharing opinions), social sharing and interactions (eg. completing a poll or rating content). An example of a brand focused on measuring in terms of engagement is AT&T. Alicia Dietsch, AT&T’s vice president of marketing communications says “We’re working on creating a dashboard that maps a lot of our content to different states of engagement, ranging from, ‘Have you viewed the content?’ to ‘Have you interacted with the content?’ and ‘Have you amplified the content?’ We’re trying to be rigorous as we move forward in terms of how we set targets for our content programs.

Alicia Dietsch, AT&T’s VP defines Depth of Engagement

Sales and Revenue Effectiveness

Commercial outcomes from content would include sales leads, ecommerce sales & prospect data capture for email campaigns.

Cisco is one example of a brand that is revenue-focused. Senior director of marketing Joel Conover explained “We are moving towards revenue as the actual measure of our success”. In order to track success, the company has created a framework for determining ROI, with metrics that range from awareness like total impressions to marketing-qualified leads, sales qualified leads, and bookings. This marking a move away from Cisco’s earlier focus on brand awareness and customer engagement.


Unsurprisingly as content becomes a red hot topic and content related investment continues to accelerate, the pressure to measure effectively and demonstrate a clear ROI mounts.

We know how important it is for companies to take part in this rapid market shift. That’s why the Knexus platform allows you to distribute content and grow engagement ROI across every channel through one interface. The market is shifting and so should you. I’d be happy to talk you through how this could be helpful for you and your business to reach the top of your game, so please send us a message!

Learn how Knexus can help your analytics and improve ROI

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