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Marketing Strategy
min read
February 20, 2024

How to Tie Content Marketing to Revenue

Parthi Loganathan
CEO of Letterdrop, former Product Manager on Google Search

Why Measuring the Impact of Content is Important

You're a Marketer in 2024. You've seen the headlines and the stats, and there's a troubling word circulating workspaces: layoffs. It's impacted tech giants like Amazon down to startups like Klaviyo, especially marketing teams.

Companies are cutting "unnecessary spend" that doesn't contribute to revenue. Content is an area that companies know is important but historically struggle to tie directly to revenue. While defensible and one of your best levels for long-term low CAC, results are often delayed, and impact is measured through second-order effects and vanity metrics.

We looked at 254 of our sales calls with Seed to Series D startups. 43% of these content marketers didn't have concrete KPIs around content (and no, it wasn't just the early companies without KPIs). We got back answers like "traffic" and "brand awareness" without an actual goal number.

We get it. 100% attribution is a pipe dream. Cookies are declining, and Apple has increasingly upped its privacy efforts, making attribution even harder. You can't track every channel, like sharing a screenshot of your LinkedIn post on Slack or referencing your blog post over lunch.

It's a dangerous position for a marketing team to be in if you can't trace efforts to the top line. Thankfully, there are ways to tie content efforts to revenue. We'll dive into a revenue-based KPI for you to measure and show you how to set up attribution to demonstrate content's impact on the top line.

What Revenue-Based KPIs Should You Have?

Every successful marketing team we've talked to uses content-influenced revenue as their primary metric. They track every instance possible where content is a part of the buyer journey.

You can tie the Annual Contract Value (ACV) or Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) of a deal to the pieces of content that a customer touched (at least the ones you know of).

So if someone found a blog post via search, signed up for your newsletter, opened three emails, downloaded a report, and engaged with a tweet before signing up for a demo, all of those touch points are all actions that count as content-influenced.

For example, companies like Klaviyo track content-assisted MRR. If a prospect visits a page and becomes an MQL or closes within 60 days of that visit, that deal counts toward content-assisted revenue.

Scribe, a Letterdrop customer, invests heavily in SEO as an acquisition channel, publishing ~100 pages/mo. Lauren from Scribe tracks these metrics:

  1. Monthly Traffic
  2. Signups from Content
  3. Activated Signups from Content
  4. Paid Signups from Content

Every month, they report the following on the above metrics:

  1. % change from the prior month
  2. % difference between actual value and projection

Some companies start off with something easier to measure like product signups and then transition into tracking revenue as they mature. Lucia Tang, Head of Content at Keeper Tax, made the switch as they grew.

Our north-star metric right now is clicks into the product signup flow from our content. But we're in the process of transitioning to revenue as our primary KPI  — certainly the more mature thing to do.

How Do You Instrument Revenue-Based Metrics For Content?

Ok, defining the KPIs was easy enough. If the customers read the content before buying, it plays a part in their buying decision. It makes them problem-aware, solution-aware, and product-aware or helps influence pulling the trigger on a solution.

But how do you track all this? Companies like Scribe have invested the engineering effort in setting up custom Mixpanel dashboards for their metrics.

But your business might not have the engineering resources to spend on instrumenting metrics around revenue and marketing.

This isn't isolated to content. Unless you have a mature revenue operations system, your company doesn't have an accurate picture of how much revenue it generates. Self-serve data probably lives in Stripe. Your Salesforce or HubSpot CRM is almost certainly not up-to-date. Deals are negotiated and can be discounted, so there's no standard pricing.

As a marketer, you don't have control over all of this. You probably need your Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to bring data across sales, marketing, engineering, and finance together... so let's just stick to what you can actually do.

How to Use Google Analytics to Figure Out Content-Influence Conversions

‎A metric that is more within your control to track is content-influenced conversions. Define a conversion event that can be easily tracked from a button click or page visit, like booking a demo or signing up.

As a start, we recommend Google Analytics (GA4) as a free way of tracking content to demos (if sales-led) or signups (if PLG).

We're going to assume you already have GA4 setup. You can set it up directly or via Google Tag Manager.

Set up your conversion events

In GA4, go to Admin → Events → Create event → Create.

Name your event in the Custom event name field, like "book_demo"

Add two Matching conditions:

Matching condition 1

Parameter: event_name
Operator: equals
Value: page_view

Matching condition 2

Parameter: page_location
Operator: contains
Value: insert the unique path that your demo form redirects to after a user submits the form

Setting up Conversion Events in GA4 | Google Analytics
Setting up Conversion Events in GA4 | Google Analytics

Under Parameter configuration, add two rows:

Parameter 1
Parameter: value
New Value: whatever value you want to ascribe to a demo

Parameter 2
Parameter: currency
New Value: USD

Ascribing Value to Parameters in GA4 | Google Analytics
Ascribing Value to Parameters in GA4 | Google Analytics

Hit Save and then go to Admins → Conversions → New conversion event. Add the custom event you just created "book_demo" and mark it as a conversion.

Mark Your Custom Event as a Conversion | Google Analytics
Mark Your Custom Event as a Conversion | Google Analytics

You can repeat the above for other conversion events like self-serve signups.

How to Find Conversions Where Content Was Involved

To see which pages are contributing to conversions, go to Reports → Engagement → Pages and screens. You can sort by conversions in this table to understand which pages are contributing the most to direct conversions.

You Can View Conversions from the Pages and Screens Tab | Google Analytics
You Can View Conversions from the Pages and Screens Tab | Google Analytics

‎In order to understand pages that were on a conversion path, you'll have to create a custom dashboard with the Explore tool.

Go to Explore → Start new exploration.

In the top left, enter "Pages on path to conversion" in Exploration Name.

Under Segments, click on Add → Session segment → Add new → type in the name of your conversion event that you defined earlier like "book_demo" or "signup". You can click on the OR on the right side to count any of these as a conversion.

Adding Session Segments for Conversion Events | Google Analytics
Adding Session Segments for Conversion Events | Google Analytics

Click Save and Apply. This lets you only consider sessions that contain "book_demo" or "signup" events. Now drag the chip under Segments that you just created into Segment Comparisons in the second pane.

Under Dimensions, click on Add → Select "Page title and screen name" → Import. This lets you see the pages in your report. Now drag the chip under Dimensions that you just created into Columns in the second pane.

Under Metrics, click on Add → Select "Event count" → Import. This lets you see the count of events. Now drag the chip under Metrics that you just created into Values in the second pane.

If you want to just filter pages to just be from your blog or similar, you can click on Add → Select "Page location" → Import. Now drag the chip under Dimensions that you just created into Filters in the second pane. Open the filter, select "begins with" and enter the starting path to your blog like https://letterdrop.com/blog

And that's it — you're done!

Final Exploration in GA4


Set Up Attribution Reporting in HubSpot

HubSpot is a great tool for attribution tracking and a more robust alternative to using Google Analytics.

We wrote a full guide on how to set up content attribution tracking using both original source data and self-reported attribution dashboards.

Read more on HubSpot content attribution

Our Head of Marketing gives you a step-by-step guide to content attribution tracking in HubSpot

Secondary Metrics to Track for Content Marketing

Revenue and conversions should be your go-to metrics. But tracking the KPIs that eventually impact your revenue gives you a more granular view of what you need to change.

The Conversion Funnel by Oberlo
The Conversion Funnel by Oberlo | Oberlo.com

Top of Funnel KPIs

At the top of the funnel, your goal is to just make customers aware of their problems and that you exist. This is you shouting into a megaphone at the crowds.

Metrics to track:

  • Organic Search Traffic (monthly): how many people are finding your site via Google/Bing/ChatGPT
  • Social Media Impressions (monthly): how many people viewed a social media post (this includes your GTM employee accounts posting about company-related topics). Only focus social media where you know your customers are active.

Owned Media KPIs

You're done with the megaphone. You want to re-engage and build a relationship with customers. Owned media is a way to identify and nurture potential customers who aren't on the market just yet. This should be a part of every comprehensive content marketing strategy.

Metrics to track:

  • Active newsletter subscribers: total list size is not relevant; track who's actively opening and engaging with your email

I deliberately left out social media/YouTube followers because it's a vanity metric diluted by bots and unqualified subscribers. Just stick to measuring impressions.

Bottom of Funnel KPIs

These are the money makers. We covered conversion tracking in detail above.

Metrics to track:

  • Demos booked
  • Signups (free and paid)

Start Tracking Content ROI Sooner Rather than Later

Every org in a business needs to tie its efforts to revenue (some over a longer period than others). The best KPI for B2B content marketers to track is content-influenced revenue or conversions from content.

You're putting yourself in a dangerous position if you can't demonstrate your campaigns' dollar value to your exec team. Don't let that be you. Track your metrics and let your numbers speak for themselves.

We're always thinking about helping our customers tie content efforts to revenue. Reach out to us or check out our blog for more.

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