Content marketing budgets boom but 58% of marketers unable to secure strong ROI

Research has identified a stark contrast between marketers’ use of analytics and data in their content marketing among those satisfied with their ROI and those not.

Amidst a troubling economic climate and disappointing return on investment (ROI), content marketing budgets increased over the past 12 months and are expected to soar again in 2023.

Content marketing is the process of publishing material such as blogs, podcasts and videos with the purpose of attracting more leads, clicks and sales.

In a survey of over 400 UK and US senior marketers, conducted by high performance digital documents platform Turtl in partnership with Sapio Research, 56% of respondents reported increasing their content marketing budgets over the past year and 62% predict their investment will continue to increase over the next 12 months.

This comes despite over half (58%) of those surveyed admitting they reported a lack of strong ROI from their content marketing in 2022. The remaining 42% of respondents however, consider their content marketing to be ‘very successful’, uncovering a stark contrast between marketers who are satisfied with their content marketing and those who aren’t.

More than half (55%) of marketers said the most significant obstacle to successful content marketing is finding innovative and creative ways to engage audiences, indicating that perhaps money can’t buy creativity.

Distinguishing between good and bad content marketing

To help marketers better understand how to overcome this obstacle, the research uncovered some correlations between how successful and less successful marketers use data in their content marketing and how they measure their content’s performance.

Marketers who rate their content marketing strategy as ‘very successful’ more often use data and analytics to inform their content marketing decisions compared to less successful marketers (71% vs. 33%). They also more commonly use analytics when personalising their content (37% vs. 23%).

‘Very successful’ marketers personalise their content more regularly (46% vs. 28%), are more likely to measure reader intent as an indicator of marketing content performance (52% vs. 35%) and are more likely to use a content format that provides performance analytics (36% vs. 23%).

Less than a third (29%) of marketers use analytics to personalise their content, despite an overwhelming majority (94%) acknowledging the importance of data and analytics in their marketing strategy.

Benefits of using data

The majority of marketers who are more confident in generating ROI from their content marketing use data and analytics to inform their strategic decisions. Based on this trend, marketers struggling to maximise return should consider investing their inflated budgets towards collecting more valuable data to then be used to generate valuable insights.

Nick Mason, CEO & Founder of Turtl, said: “Driving strong engagement is the aim of every piece of marketing content, but if marketers are unable to obtain the necessary analytic data to measure the performance of their marketing materials, then they will struggle to improve and influence business outcomes.

“Measuring the performance of marketing content - and then adapting this content based on performance data - is the new best practice for marketers.”

JeeYoung Wenglikowski, Senior Global Marketing Manager at KellyOCG, added: “For us, measuring the impact of marketing materials is as important as creating good content.

“Powerful, engaging content marketing is all about personalisation and relevance. The ability to figure out through data what is working with the viewers and driving more engagement plays a huge part in ensuring our content marketing strategy delivers a strong return on investment.”