sessions vs signups

How to measure content marketing ROI – metrics + Google Data Studio Dashboards

Most SaaS companies I know use content marketing as part of their acquisition strategy. But few really consistently measure their content marketing ROI.

Be honest with yourself and think if you know the answer to the following questions:

  • Is your content plan is working?
  • Is the organic traffic generated by your blog content really resulting in any conversions?
  • Are some types of posts performing better than others?
  • Do you have clear “winner” posts that are doing most of the “heavy lifting” in terms of driving conversions?
  • Which of your content clusters is driving most traffic, engagement and conversions?
  • Which of your content writers are performing best in terms of: a) how long people stay on their pages
  • Are people really reading your posts to the end?

So – in this post, I will show you:

  • the metrics I use to evaluate the success of our content efforts;
  • and the Google Data Studio Dashboards I’ve built to measure the ROI from the content we’re producing at Userpilot.

Let’s dive in!

Metrics to measure for content marketing ROI

One of the reasons why SaaS companies don’t track content marketing ROI is because…they’re not sure what to track. Here are a few metrics I track to gauge the success of our content efforts:

  • 1. sessions – a vanity metric if you apply it to a single piece of content, but a great indicator of the effectiveness of your content strategy if measured for the whole blog month-over-month. Your number of sessions should be growing consistently. You can also track the number of new visitors.
  • 2. conversions – the number of conversions (you need to decide on your conversion event! E.g. numbers of demos booked, or numbers of sales?) should be growing month over month. You should also measure conversions for individual posts or writers as a measure of their effectiveness.
  • 3. conversion rate – the number of conversions divided by the number of sessions for each blog post
  • 4. time on page – a metric for individual blog posts measuring how long your readers stay on the blog on average. This tells you if people are really *reading* your content. If your blog post takes 6 minutes to read, but the average time on page is 2 minutes – it means most of your visitors don’t really consume your content.
  • 5. bounce rate – bounce rate is the negative metric measuring how many visitors “bounced back” after landing on your page – meaning clicked on the “back” button shortly after arriving on your page. This may mean the content was not a right fit for the searcher’s intent.  Or it may mean that…your page load speed is so abysmal people give up on waiting and go back to the search results.
  • 6. keyword position in SERPs – the position of the keywords you’re trying to rank for in Google, based on your search console data.

Now – knowing these metrics is not enought to measure your content marketing ROI. You need to know what to apply them to, how to combine them, and how to track your progress.

How to measure content marketing ROI in Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio is a great place to create a dashboard for monitoring your content marketing ROI. Not only is it free (yaaay!) but also gives you access to the most accurate data – straight from Google Analytics and your Search Console!

What will you need to set this up?

  • Google Analytics access for the blog you want to track
  • At least one conversion event set up in your GA – whatever you count as “conversion” from you blog and track there: demo booking? Free account signup? Purchase?
  • Google Search Console access for the blog you want to track

Now, let’s see how to set it up.

Setting up your Google Data Studio dashboard for measuing content marketing ROI

  1. Go to https://datastudio.google.com/
  2. Create a blank report content marketing ROI - untitled report GDS
  3. Add the GA account you want to track to the account: add GA to the report
  4. We will add search console data later.
  5. You will end up with a blank report with a sample table like this:

1 . Blog Sessions vs. Conversions Per Month

sessions vs signups

First of all, we are going to add a general tracker tracking the number of sessions and conversions per month.

Make sure you’re in the editing mode (there’s this big blue button on the top left that says “edit” when you’re in the viewing mode, and “view” when you’re in the editing mode. So make sure it says “view” 😛):

Remove the sample table. Insert a: Chart > Line.

Chart Type: Line Chart

Data source: make sure it’s the relevant GA account.

Dimension: Month of Year

Metric:

  • Sessions
  • Your conversion event

Sort: by month of year; ascending

Date range: Custom; this year from the beginning

Filter: include LPs, contains: /blog/

sessions vs signups setup content marketing ROI

2. Blog Post: Sessions, Conversions, Conversion Rate, Time on Page, Bounce Rate

This a general overview tracker including the top 5 metrics of content marketing ROI for each blog post.

Add a new table:

blog content roi 5 metric tracker

Chart Type: Table

Data source:  the relevant GA account.

Dimension: Landing page

Metric:

  • Sessions
  • (New users)
  • Goal
  • Goal conversion rate %
  • Time on Page
  • Bounce Rate

Totals: show grand totals

Sort: by your most important metric (e.g. sessions), descending

Secondary Sort: by your 2md most important metric (e.g. conversions), descending

Date range: Custom; this year from the beginning

Filter: include LPs, contains: /blog/

blog 5 metric tracker settings

3. Blog Post Conversions by Month

This will allow you to track how many conversions you’re getting from each blog post.

Add a new pivot table (you can copy & paste the first one and then work off it):

New content conversions by month

Chart Type: Pivot Table 

Data source:  the relevant GA account.

Row Dimension: Landing page

Column Dimension: Month of Year

Metric:

  • Your conversion event

Totals: show grand totals

Sort: by conversion event, descending

Date range: Custom; this year from the beginning

Filter: include LPs, contains: /blog/

new content conversions by moth setup

4. Measuring conversions from blog posts written by specific authors

Using Google Data Studio, you can also track content marketing ROI for each individual contributor you hire! You will just need to create specific filters for each person.

This type of table will allow you to compare how much your different writers contribute towards your content goals. If you see that one writer has a notably low average time or a bounce rate that is significantly higher than average,

blogs by specific author

For the Table:

Chart Type: Pivot Table

Data source:  the relevant GA account.

Dimension: Landing page

Metric:

  • Sessions (and/or New users)
  • Goal
  • Goal conversion rate %
  • Bounce Rate
  • Time on Page

Totals: show grand totals

Sort: by your most important metric (e.g. sessions), descending

Secondary Sort: by your 2md most important metric (e.g. conversions), descending

Date range: Custom; this year from the beginning

Filter: include LPs, RegEx contains: slugs of the blog posts written by the specific writer (the last part of the URL after / ; each slug needs to be separated by | ; correct filter example: (slug-1|slug-2|slug-3) )

Warning: you will need to set up a new filter for each writer.

blogs by a specific author - settings

5. Primary keyword average positions month by month

primary keyword positions per month

This table requires you to use a different data source: seach console (read how to set it up here).

The table tracks the average position of the primary keywords you’ve optimised your content for. That way, you can see

Chart type: Pivot table

Data source: Search Console

Row dimension: Query

Column: Date* (Default Date Range: custom; this year)

Metric: Average Position;

Filter: include: query, RegEx match: a list of your keywords/ key phrases separated by “|” again.

Pivot table 2 content update roi tracker

Final thoughts – What will you learn from these trackers?

In this post, I showed you what metrics to track in order to measure your content marketing ROI, and how to build 5 Google Data Studio charts that measure exactly that. To sum up, each of the charts mentioned above will tell you the following:

  1. Whether your number of sessions and conversions is growing month by month.
  2. Which of your blog posts are performing best in terms of sessions and conversions, and what are the conversion rate, bounce rate, and time on page for each of them.
  3. How many conversions are you getting from each blog month by month – if it’s declining, it may mean the blog is dropping in SERPs!
  4. How each of your writers is doing
  5. Where are you in SERPs for the selected keywords month by month – which is strongly correlated with the number of sessions and conversions you will be getting from the posts ranking for these keywords month by month (table 3.)

Hope this was table. If you can’t be bothered to build a whole tracker like that yourself, you can buy the template here.

Posted in content marketing.

Emilia is a passionate SaaS marketer specializing in content marketing. She's currently the Head of Marketing at Userpilot, a Product Growth Platform for SaaS.