Any content marketing experts can tell you that it’s not enough to say you have a good campaign running; you have to prove it. The obvious place to look is your overall return on investment (ROI). However, in content marketing, ROI is a complicated value that comprises dozens of individual variables. These variables include some benefits that aren’t easily quantifiable, such as brand recognition. That’s why many content marketers drill down to individual metrics, like site visitors, to gauge the effectiveness of a campaign.

On the surface, visitor counts seem like a good point to measure—it tells you how many new people you’re attracting to your website, which is one of content marketing’s main goals—but is this really the  metric we should be measuring?

THE VALUE OF A VISITOR

Visitor numbers look pretty—big numbers are often appealing to marketers—but how much value do they really have? What are they worth?

  • Brand visibility. An incoming visitor gets to see your brand fully—not just a blip or a mention of it—which means you’ll earn a higher reputation with that individual. Repeated enough times, the mere exposure effect starts to set in, whereby visitors feel a preference for something simply because it’s familiar.
  • Conversion potential. Every new visitor represents some degree of potential for conversion. For example, if your average conversion rate is 5 percent, each new visitor you receive represents 1/20th of a transaction (if you choose to see value this way). This is the simplest way to quantify visitor value.
  • Followership and loyalty potential. You should also count each new visitor as a potential long-term follower who could become loyal to your brand – some percentage of them will. There are many benefits to this, including increased opportunities for conversion and the possibility for brand evangelism.

REFLECTION OF EFFORTS

Obviously, visitors are valuable, but how well do they reflect the results of your effort? Content marketing can draw visitors in from a number of different angles:

  • Direct visits (from reputation and awareness)
  • Social visits (from syndicated posts)
  • Referral visits (from inbound links in external content)
  • Organic visits (from search result visibility)

However, each of these angles could draw in visitors from other means. For example, you might earn social visitors from your regular posting efforts, or you might earn referral visits from a sponsored link you have on a partner’s site. Because of this, visitors are a helpful—but not an entirely reliable—way to monitor your overall campaign growth. You can use Google Analytics or a similar platform to dig into specifics and get a more accurate picture, but that also takes considerably more time and effort.