Keeping a consistent blog and social presence is money and time spent every week.
And if you’re like most business owners and marketers, you want to know if it’s paying off.
Consider this: it takes roughly two to three hours to write a 1,000-word blog post. That’s a lot of work.
If you’re doing it yourself, that’s time spent.
If you hire a contractor, that’s money spent.
So content marketing ROI tools aren’t just a want… they’re a need.
There are tons of tools out there to help you measure your content marketing ROI. And a lot of them have very similar features–but that doesn’t mean they’re all good.
Before you go signing up for a service on a whim, make sure you read through our list of the best content marketing ROI tools based on price, features, and ease-of-use.
Let’s dive in…
Table Of Contents:
1. Built-In Social Media Analytics Tools
Twitter Analytics is an all-in-one tool that helps you measure and boost your impact on Twitter. You can track impressions, gain audience insights, and even get customized tips for better tweets.
Use it for:
- Measuring engagement: The home tab is like your greatest hits reel. From there, you can see a screenshot of each month, including your most popular tweet, number of impressions, profile visits, and your audience growth (or lack thereof).
- Audience insights: Where do your followers live? Are they male or female? What are they into? 98% of our audience loves dogs . . . but we’re not really sure what that has to do with us.
- Tweet metrics: Your home page gives you some basics, but the Tweets page really gets down to the nitty-gritty. From here, you can get detailed information on impressions, engagement, and engagement rate. If you want to see what time of day you get the most interactions, or even which day of the week, this is the place to look.
Review: For a free tool, Twitter analytics gives you a ton of useful information. It’s easy-to-use and gives you everything from profile visits to mentions to impressions. The one downside? Metrics can be a bit slow to update, so you’re not really seeing real-time information.
Facebook Page Insights
Facebook Insights is a powerful tool for tracking how users interact with your business across various platforms. You can track likes, page views, reach, and more.
Use it for:
- Measuring reach and engagement: The (aptly named) overview section gives you a quick glance at the last week. It might not seem like much, but if you’re super active on social, a lot can happen in a week. Use this tab to view likes, post reach, and engagement for the last 7 days. For a broader picture, try checking the “likes”, “reach”, or “posts” tab, which go more in-depth on the same topics.
- Getting to know your audience: See when fans who like your page are viewing your content–and where they’re doing it from. Find out their age and sex and how they reacted to your posts. If that sounds creepy, fear not: it’s just for data’s sake. If you want to target your ads (and get more business), this is the information you need.
Review: Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes content from family and friends, and that makes a tool like this even more important. Understanding your metrics gives you the information you need to get in front of more people–and Facebook Analytics gives you all the information you need. It’s almost like they want you to do well on their platform!
Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn Analytics provides an overview of followers, shares, clicks, and impressions. But it’s not available for everyone–currently, analytics is only offered for company pages.
Use it for:
According to LinkedIn, their Company Page Analytics are broken into three sections:
- Updates: Includes both a table showing the most recent updates (with data such as the audience, number of impressions, number of clicks, and followers acquired) and a graph detailing trends in reach.
- Followers: A breakdown of who’s following your page with information on demographics including the industry they’re in, their job function, and their level of seniority.
- Visitors: This page offers similar demographics on visitors, plus the number of page views and the number of Career Page clicks.
Review: LinkedIn Analytics provides you with a slew of information on your audience’s professional background. Depending on your industry and your goals, this could be super useful–and it will definitely help you hone in on your target audience.
Like LinkedIn, Instagram Insights is only available to users who have a Business account. Luckily, you can easily switch over to an Instagram business profile without creating a whole new personal account. You can find the same information here that most of the others have provided so far: impressions, reach, website clicks, and followers are among the data.
Use it for:
- A good general overview: See how many times your ads appeared on users’ screens, the number of unique visitors to view your posts, how many followers you’ve gained or lost in the last week, and more.
- Post-specific data: If you click on an individual post, you can gain more specific insights like how many comments it received, how many times it was saved, and the number of actions a user took on your profile as a result of seeing that post.
- Story insights: Like posts, you can gain more specific insight by clicking on an individual story, including taps back, taps forward, and replies.
Review: Instagram Insights isn’t very . . . well, insightful. It’s a good basic tool and easy-to-use, but if you’re serious about your Instagram marketing, you’re going to want to invest in something a little more powerful.
Snapchat’s built-in analytics tool can help you gain audience insight, discover key engagement times, and see what content performs best with your visitors. The tool is currently only offered to influencers and brands who are verified or have a large following.
Website: Only available on the app
Use it for:
- A detailed look at story views: Know how many viewers saw your story over the past weeks, months, or years.
- Understanding your audience: Get key information on your viewers, including age, location, and gender.
- Completion rates: Find out how many viewers watched a snap all the way through to the end.
Review: Like Instagram Insights, this data is rather limited. There are several other free tools out there which are great for monitoring Snapchat, so if you’re serious about your marketing, you may want to check those out.
YouTube analytics gives you the tools you need to succeed on the world’s second-largest search engine. Understand who your audience is, what they like, and what you need to create in order to be successful.
Use it for:
- A better understanding of your audience: The only demographic information available right now is age and location, but YouTube makes up for that with far more valuable information. Most importantly, they can tell you every single location your video is currently being viewed. That means that if a visitor downloads your video and embeds it on their blog or in their newsletter, you’ll know!
- Actionable data: Sure, it’s nice to know how many “likes” you have. But you know what’s even more important? Watch times, audience retention, and traffic sources.
Review: YouTube gives you a great overview of who your Subscribers are, which videos they like the best, and how your views and Subscribers have (hopefully) grown over time. The stats could be a bit more robust but YouTube will be investing into supporting creators over time so expect more in the coming years.
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is by far the most well-known, and most frequently-used, online analytics tool. This user favorite employs a variety of analytical features for both mobile and traditional websites. Users can access several different high-level reports on everything from mobile traffic to real-time visitor data.
Use it for:
- Measuring campaign success. Have you ever wondered which of your campaigns is the most successful? Using advanced analytics, you can enter which domains you want to track (like Twitter.com), and then pull data such as traffic and goal conversion data from that source.
- Learn what people are searching for on your site. Do they want to know more about your products? Read your blog? Find your contact information? With Google Analytics you can find all this out, plus determine what new content you may need to add.
- Determine your highest performing content. Want to know which page visitors stay on the longest or which have the lowest bounce rate? You can quickly determine this using Google Analytics’ Content menu, and in turn, use that information to better strategize your content.
Review: Bottom line? Google Analytics is popular for a reason. With a wealth of analytics information right at your fingertips, you can use it to improve your website’s content (and conversion rate).
AHrefs gives you what your SEO game is lacking. Users love that it allows you to track backlinks and keywords for your niche . . . and, as an added bonus, it can spy on your competitors.
Cost: Starts at $82/month for the Lite plan ($99 if you opt for month-to-month billing)
Use it for:
- Keyword research. Spur-of-the-moment keyword research is what users will find themselves doing most often. The easy-to-use Keyword Explorer tool makes it simple to create an optimization strategy for the best possible SERP.
- Ongoing search position monitoring. Pull in live data on referring domains and pages, backlinks, and a worldwide map of where search traffic is coming from. In addition, see which search terms drive the most traffic and even find out where your competitors rank.
- SEO audits. Use the Site Audit tool to quickly find technical and design-related issues that are impacting your search rankings.
Review: Many people balk at signing up when they see the hefty price tag–but it’s worth it! This tool covers all the basics of keyword research and site monitoring, plus a lot more.
Nudge helps advertisers improve the ROI of their native ad campaigns and helps publishers sell more sponsored content and scale their native offering. The platform offers planning and reporting tools, competition benchmarking, post-click metrics, and more.
Use it for:
- Native Metrics. The dashboard offers a comprehensive suite of data including reach, average attention, minutes scrolled, engagement, and more.
- Gain full transparency. Nudge works at every level of the value chain, from internal teams to content partners, so you are always in the loop.
Review: Nudge is easy to install and simple to use, but many of the other products on this list offer a greater range of features. If you’re a publisher or advertiser, however, this could be a very useful niche product.
Hotjar bills themselves as the “fast and visual way to understand your users”. And indeed, you can actually view how visitors are using your site and gain access to instant feedback.
Cost: The basic plan (up to 2,000 page views a day) is free. Paid plans range from $29/month to $589/month. There are free trials for each plan.
Use it for:
- Visualizing user behavior. Hotjar’s heat maps give you a visual representation of how visitors interact with your site. You can see where they click, where they scroll, and where they stop and hang out. You can also see where they encounter any errors, allowing you to quickly fix any issues that may pop up.
- Listen to the user’s voice. HotJar provides a platform where visitors can share their thoughts, including surveys and polls that allow you to collect responses in real time. There is no need for analyzing data and statistics when you can gain feedback straight from the source!
Review: HotJar offers unprecedented insight into user behavior and attitudes. Regular and informative updates keep you up-to-date, and the site is well laid-out and easy-to-use.
Buzzsumo analyzes what content performs the best for any topic or competitor online and allows you to search, filter, and report on all of it. Quickly put in a search term or website URL and discover the top content around it along with inspiration for related terms, influencers, or websites.
Cost: Prices range from $79 to $499+/month, but paying annually will get you a 20% discount.
Use it for:
- Brand monitoring. Just enter your role, the website, and the name of the company and BAM! you can instantly monitor your brand’s reputation and mentions on the internet. Every time your brand gets mentioned (positively or negatively), you will be notified. This makes it easy to respond to audience comments and concerns in a timely manner.
- Tracking engagement and reach. BuzzSumo provides a ton of useful tools that make tracking total engagements and reach easy. Filter results by date, content type, word count, language, and country.
- Find out what’s trending. Not sure what to write about in your next blog or social media post? Use the “Trending Now” tool to find out what people are talking about and what’s getting the most engagement.
Review: BuzzSumo is one of the top tools to keep in your content marketing toolbox. It’s great for finding new blog post ideas, guest posting opportunities, or to find audiences who are saying content similar to yours. Their real-time analytics and reports are a must-have for any successful content marketer.
Kissmetrics is an analytics and conversion platform built to optimize marketing. It analyzes users’ interactions with a website over time and provides insights which help business owners better understand their audience.
Cost: If you’re one of those people that believe higher price = higher quality, then this is the product for you! Priced from $500 – $850/month, this is one of the costliest content marketing ROI tools we’ve seen so far.
Use it for:
- Increasing conversions. Use the provided insights from the Funnel & Activity report to see what’s working and what’s not on your website, and update content as needed.
- Driving engagement. Send automated behavioral engagements to guide users through your site and get them headed in the direction you want them to go.
Review: Many users agree that Kissmetrics is a useful tool . . . if you can figure out how to use it. While it does provide many intriguing insights (and sending users on a little bunny trail can be super fun), the interface is hard to use. If you’re just beginning to measure your content marketing ROI, we recommend starting with something a bit less robust.
SEMRush is the perfect tool for the entrepreneur who is ready to take their business to the next level. With a full suite of reporting, analytics, data, and tracking, SEMRush will provide you with the data (and suggestions) you need to really up your game.
Cost: SEMRush ranges from $99.95 – $399.95/month (with custom plans available for those that would a more personalized solution . . . for a price).
Use it for:
- Auditing your website. Use the Audit Tool to really dig in deep and diagnose any underlying issues within your site. You’ll receive a total score (somewhere between 0% and 100%), the number of pages crawled and a breakdown of each, and a listing of the top 3 errors.
- Researching the competition. Identify your top organic search competitors and get one-click competitor overviews. Quickly view their domains and get a slew of useful information, like keyword and backlink use. (And then steal all their best ideas!)
Review: SEMrush is fantastic for understanding things like who is linking to your website pages, if you have any broken links on your site, how you are ranking in search results, and much much more. They do offer a keyword research tool, but in our experience, the data is usually not accurate enough to be reliable.
When you think Hootsuite, you probably don’t think “analytics”. For many people, it is nothing more than a social media scheduling tool. It basically combines all of the built-in analytics tools from sites like Twitter and Facebook into one easy-to-use package.
Cost: A free plan allows you to schedule up to 30 messages at a time and link up to three social media profiles. Paid plans range from $29 – $599/month, with custom plans available for those with a greater need.
Use it for:
- Getting all your info in one place. If you’re someone that really hates hopping around from page to page to gather info, then Hootsuite could be a godsend. At only $29 a month, you can easily access all of your social media stats and insights in one place, making them much easier to keep track of.
- Tracking and improving ROI. Measure conversions by social channel and separate ROI between owned and paid media, build your own custom reports from over 30 modules and share them with other users.
Review: Hootsuite is affordable and super easy to use, but it’s really just information that you can get for free elsewhere. Other tools offer far more insight and sometimes the price is worth it.
SpyFu is very similar to SEMRush in function and usability. It’s primarily intended for SEO experts, but can be used by anyone who wants to improve their content marketing ROI.
Cost: A highly inclusive free version allows you access to almost all the bells and whistles. If you decide to upgrade, paid plans run from $44 – $199 a month (with an additional fee for monthly payments).
Use it for:
- Researching your competitors’ historic ads. This cool feature lets you go back in time and see what’s worked for the competition in the past and what hasn’t (and tweak your own copy accordingly).
- In-depth PPC and SEO SERP analysis. The Keyword Universe tool gives an in-depth look through suggestions like exclusive keywords and core starting keywords for Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Review: SpyFu is a great tool for watching what the competition is up to, and it’s fairly easy-to-use. The one downfall is that the tool doesn’t include local information, so your keywords aren’t going to be region-specific.
Chartbeat helps media companies understand, measure and build audience engagement with tools like editorial analytics across various platforms, in-depth headline testing, and in-page optimization tools.
Cost: Chartbeat is intended for large and mid-sized companies with over 5 million monthly pageviews. Pricing varies depending on site traffic and packages start at $7,000 annually.
Use it for:
- Real-time data. Understand how your audience is connecting with your content in the moment. Filter data by sections, authors, location, traffic source and referrer, device type and more.
- Daily reports delivered to your inbox. No more hunting for the information you need, Chartbeat will deliver daily insights right to you. Use the data in each report to identify unique and noteworthy patterns and trends and easily share the information with others on your team.
Review: Chartbeat is a great tool for larger companies, but with the price tag, it’s likely that most small business owners can’t afford it. Their real-time analytics are some of the best, but only worth it if you’re doing high-volume content and traffic.
Which Content Marketing ROI Tools Are Right For You?
Bottom line? Everyone’s needs are different.
For a solopreneur or small business owner just starting out, it may make sense to stick with the built-in tools on social media or something simple like Hootsuite.
For a larger business (with a larger budget), it may make sense spring for a more inclusive tool like BuzzSumo.
No matter what you decide, make sure the tool you go with can accurately measure the area of content marketing that you’re most concerned about.
Remember, not all tools do the same thing! Our list gives a great basic rundown, but it doesn’t hurt to do some research on your own.
Have you used any of the tools that we recommended?
Do you think we got our reviews right, or would you disagree? Is there anything you’d add to our list?
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!