Using Google Analytics to Measure the ROI of Your Web Content
Updated: Oct 23, 2020
What determines the value of a piece of content? Its uniqueness, informativeness, visual appeal, social shares, backlinks or all of the above?
Many people believe the value of web content can’t be quantified and is something that is subjective. This couldn’t be further from the truth…
“The value of a piece of web content can easily be quantified by measuring the impact it has on your business’s bottom-line”
In the modern digital era, there are so many different marketing methods & channels that a business can utilise to advertise its products/services. However, because of this, if there is no apparent/low ROI being generated by a particular marketing channel, most businesses would prefer to cut the budget being spent on that marketing channel and allocate it to a more profitable one.
So if you develop pieces of content for commercial purposes (either for a client or your own business), being able to justify the budget currently being spent on developing the content is crucial, especially if the budget is high. In order to do this, you have to show how your pieces of content are providing a return on investment for the business in monetary terms.
Here’s my definition of high-value content:
“High-Value Content is the content (seasonal video, Infographic, video, etc) that is most frequently viewed prior to goal conversions and/or transactions on your website.”
The formula to calculate the value of your content is:
(total revenue which the content helped generate + total value of the goal conversions which the content helped generate)/number of unique pageviews of the content prior to the goal conversions and/or transactions
Yes, I know the formula is an ugly one but luckily if you use Google Analytics, this formula is already calculated for you thanks to their Page Value metric.
You can find the Page Value metric by going to:
Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
It’s the metric furthest to the right on this report.
To get an idea of how the Page Value metric can be used, let’s go through a couple of case studies.
Case Study 1: How much is my seasonal video worth?
Let’s assume that the total cost involved in producing a particular seasonal video was £3,000 (£2,000 production costs and £1,000 on marketing).
Once the video has been published on your website, you need to keep track of the impactful actions your visitors are doing after they’ve viewed that particular seasonal video. When I say impactful actions, I don’t mean the number of Twitter shares, comments made or backlinks acquired. I mean the actual conversions (either macro or micro) that were completed by your visitors they watched the seasonal video.
Let’s assume that one month after the seasonal video was published, the website visitors who watched it made £5,000 worth of purchases and completed goal conversions worth £2,500. Let’s also assume that the seasonal video got 300 views in total, prior to the purchases and goal conversions.
Using the formula I showed you earlier, the value of the seasonal video would be:
(£5000 + £2500)/300
This basically means that every time a new person watched our seasonal video, the seasonal video contributed £25 towards the business’s revenue.
Another great way to measure the financial value of your content is to go to the multi-channel funnels report in Google Analytics. This report shows how much value the content generated in assisted conversions and direct conversions.
To find this report, go to
Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions
Once you are in the report, change the primary dimension to “Landing Page URL” and note down the values of the Assisted Conversion Value and Direct Conversion Values.
Below is an example of what the report looks like:
The total financial value of a web page is the sum of the Assisted Conversion Value + Last Click or Direct Conversion Value.
In our earlier example, the total financial value of our seasonal video would have been £7,500 (£5,000 in purchases and £2,500 in goal conversions).
The total production costs for the seasonal video was £3,000 (£2,000 production costs & £1,000 on marketing).
In order to have a profitable return on investment (ROI) for your content, the total financial value should be greater than the total production & marketing costs.
Since the total financial value of our seasonal video was £7,500 and the total production & marketing costs were £3,000, we can conclude that we had a profitable return on investment.
The formula to calculate the ROI is:
(total financial value - total production & marketing costs)/total production & marketing costs
Our seasonal video managed to generate a 150% ROI which is pretty impressive, ideally, you want to be making a 200% ROI in marketing (double your production costs) but this isn’t far off.
At this point, you can now show the social shares and customer engagement the seasonal video also generated as a bonus to its performance. This would have helped in boosting the business’s brand awareness and SEO which will most likely lead to more revenue in the future.
Case Study 2: I’ve been allocated a huge content marketing budget. How do I justify how it’s being used?
Let’s assume that you are the Head of Content Marketing for a fashion company and the budget that was allocated to your department for the year was £500,000. The yearly budget review meeting is coming up and you need to show how much ROI your £500,000 managed to generate during the year.
In this scenario, it's crucial that you show the impact your content marketing has had on the company in monetary terms. Don’t just show how many likes, comments & shares your content got as this doesn’t have a direct impact on the business’s finances.
A piece of content can have 1 million likes & social shares but still not contribute towards any sales/transactions for the business. You most likely made a loss on that piece of content since you still had to pay for its production & marketing costs.
Don’t get me wrong, likes, social shares, & backlinks do still have their benefits (brand awareness, customer engagement, search engine rankings) but they should be considered as secondary benefits and not primary benefits.
A quick way to determine if your content is having an impact on your company in monetary terms is to look at the Page Value metric. If the Page Value is metric is £0, it means its not having any financial impact on the business.
In order to calculate the financial value a particular piece of web content has contributed, take the Page Value metric and multiply it by the number or unique page views that content had.
You can also calculate the total financial value contributed by multiple pieces of content by taking the average page value of the pieces of content and multiplying it by the total number of unique pageviews the pieces of content had.
Let’s assume that our £500,000 content marketing budget was used to make content on these 10 web pages.
The total financial value contributed by our content would be:
£4.53 x 327,033
During the year, our content marketing efforts contributed over £1.4M towards our company’s sales.
To calculate the ROI of our content marketing efforts, the formula would be:
(£1,481,460 - £500,000)/£500,000
= 196% ROI
At this point, you can now show the number of social likes, shares & backlinks your content generated during the year as a bonus to its performance to impress your stakeholders even more.
Important Information about the Page Value Metric
1. In order to use the Page Value Metric, you need to have your goals & goal value setup and eCommerce reporting enabled in your Google Analytics. If you don’t have these, you get a Page Value metric of £0 for every piece of content.
2. The pages that were the least viewed prior to a goal conversion and/or purchase get the lowest page values.
3. The pages that were the most viewed prior to a goal conversion and/or purchase get the highest page values.
4. The pages that were not viewed at all prior to any goal conversions and/or purchases have a value of £0.
5. The page value metric is most useful when compared with other page value metrics. Avoid using it as a standalone metric.
Avoid the Social Media Trap
Many people think that just because a piece of their content is generating a ton of social engagement, that content is a guaranteed success. Don’t fall into this trap.
Likes, comments & shares simply mean that your content is attracting people’s attention but attracting people’s attention alone isn’t what is going to bring success to your business. What brings success to your business is how you are able to influence people once you have
“Your content must be doing a job at influencing customers to buy from you and not simply picking up likes.”
If you make & release content as a personal hobby, then of course that changes things since you most likely aren’t concerned about any profits or ROI.
Another thing to point out is that all the attention your content is attracting may also be for the wrong reasons.
Below are the types of content that tend to be good at generating a ton of social engagement but fail to contribute significantly towards a business’s profits.
4. Controversial Content
5. Content not aimed at your target audience.
To have a successful content marketing strategy, ensure that your content marketing goals are in line with your business goal.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about how to best measure the content marketing of your business, get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!