How to measure return on effort

The demand for creative and high-quality content is increasing in our digital world. Consumers want engaging and personalized experiences when they connect with brands. Therefore, customer experience with content is one of the main indicators of success in many marketing organizations.

“Today, customer expectations are growing at a rate we’ve never seen,” said Anjali Yakkundi, vice president of product marketing and strategy at Aprimo, at our recent MarTech conference. She underscored this point by citing research from Gartner, which found that 81% of organizations expect to be competitive based on customer experience.

“It’s because these digital startups that we’ve seen succeed over the last ten years have really been a game-changer,” she said. “Customers now expect personalized and relevant experiences across all channels where they interact with your brand.”

She added, “Customers are no longer willing to wait months and months for that amazing customer experience; they want it now. These content and creative teams must therefore work with much more agility than before. »

Developing agility and adaptability means content teams need to know how much they are getting in return for their content efforts. This is why so many teams are adopting content ROE measurement frameworks.



Use a Content Return on Effort Measurement Framework

Measuring the effort content marketers put into campaigns — time spent, resources used, and team members involved — gives decision makers more context. Instead of limiting success measurement to broader ROI metrics, content ROI provides marketers with actionable data at a granular level.

“Thinking about this more holistic picture is what we think is called content return to effort,” Yakkundi said. “Content ROI doesn’t just look at your impressions as they return across different types of campaigns, across different channels, across different mediums, or just across different campaigns. It also begins to look at that performance in the context of the effort you put into it.

She added, “We can make instant tweaks and modifications to this asset for better results.”

Create a data-driven content strategy

Content marketing strategies no longer revolve around production. Now it’s about creating content that leads to the desired results. Instead of relying on budget increases that may or may not help these efforts, marketers may be better off developing data-driven, ROE-based content strategies.

“Marketers have so much data at their disposal and we need to start using that data, especially for creative teams,” Yakkundi said. “Use this data to start prioritizing the content and content budgets that matter most; the ones that will generate the best customer experiences and results for your business.

Content efforts that neglect customer data are unlikely to improve campaign results. Additionally, it makes measuring ROI much more difficult. This is where adopting content ROE metrics is critical.


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Content ROE assists ROI metrics with instant, tactical data, which helps CMOs and other team members make strategic-level marketing decisions.

Yakkundi pointed to a helpful illustration from Gartner that highlights four levels of marketing metrics that support these measurement efforts. Visualizing data strategies in this way helps marketers prioritize business outcomes, fueling them with tactical optimization, planning, and strategy.

marketer data strategy to help measure content ROE and ROI
Image: Gartner and Aprimo

Together, these metrics can help content marketers and creatives improve their results. However, problems arise when content measurement methods are incomplete.

“When we think about tactical measurement, it’s not necessarily something that I think is best-in-class process,” Yakkundi said. “The reason is that we are very focused on the campaign; it is not focused on the content level. And because of that, there’s actually very little actionable data for content and creative professionals.

Develop a martech strategy to meet data needs

Once marketers have a data-driven content strategy and content ROI measurement framework, they can use their martech stacks to extract actionable campaign and content data. This gives marketers and creatives — those who create content — instant insight and feedback to make responsive changes.

“Martech strategy is about thinking about your data and the technologies that will sort your data at each of these levels,” Yakkundi said. “Content ROI is key, but it’s a day-to-day tactical thing. If you do this, you will see performance and operations at a strategic level.

Watch the full presentation of our MarTech conference here (free registration required).

About the Author

Corey Patterson is an editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.