By Alan Xu published July 11, 2012

Proof of the Power of Content Marketing: A Case Study

the power of content marketing, CMIScripted, an online writing marketplace, undertook a month-long project to see how effective content marketing is in relation to other marketing channels. We measured our own web page with Google Analytics over the four-week period to see where content marketing can help with a business and provided our results below.

Methodology

We primarily looked at web traffic referral sources and new registrations to analyze effectiveness, and segmented our sources into six categories: content, outside content, press, social media, cold emails, and deal sites. A few notes:

  • Content refers to posts on Scripted’s own blog or posts written by our founders on other sites (e.g., TechCrunch, GigaOM, and the Content Marketing Institute).
  • Outside content differs in that the articles, written by third-party sources that have used or heard about Scripted, are posted on outside blogs or websites.
  • All stats are from a four-week period. Content stats were pulled from the time period directly after a post was made, as was that of deal sites.
  • Fairness on all fronts here: Our blog is updated daily, our Facebook page at the same rate, and our Twitter account 20 times a week.
  • To download our full data sheet, click here.

the power of content shows up in visits, CMIResults 

  • Figure 1 shows the percentage of visits we received from the various marketing channels. Of the referrals we received from various sources, 46 percent were from blog posts and other content marketing methods, outperforming the other referral sources by at least three times.
  • It can’t just be about quantity, however; we also aimed to measure quality of each referral source. Figure 2 demonstrates bounce rate — the percentage of visitors who leave after the first page. A lower bounce rate can mean better referrals; those who are directed to our website typically stay to find out more about our business. Here, content marketing excelled again, with a bounce rate of almost three times that of any other referral source.
  • Figure 3 compares the typical number of pages each unique visitor goes to before exiting. This is another metric for the quality of referral sources. The more pages visited per unique visitor means that a source is bringing in more interested parties. The highest in this category are press articles, but close behind is content marketing, with 4.06 pages/visit.

Content marketing was the most effective channel for us by a long-shot

It brought in almost half of new visitors, and these were high-quality leads as well. After being referred from our written work, visitors went on to view more pages (on average, our visitors go to 3.5 pages. Those coming from our content marketing efforts visited 4 pages).

 bounce rate, CMI
 pages/visit, CMI  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But is the extra effort for blog posts worth it? A tweet, for example, is a lot easier to write. Would it make more sense to write more tweets than a blog post? Let’s assume each tweet is about 20 words, and a blog post is 500, meaning 25 tweets for every blog post written.

After normalizing for effort put in to producing a blog post (since tweets are much easier to write, for example), blog posts would still have referred twice as many visits as social media. This means that, per word, our posts on social media websites saw half as many referrals as posts on a blog.

Conclusions 

1. Content marketing attracts the most visitors of all our marketing efforts. Content marketing significantly outperformed other forms of marketing we were using. Posts written on other websites drew in significant amounts of traffic because we demonstrated expertise in the field. People were drawn in by that, and it showed in the numbers.

2. Content marketing creates higher engagement with your audience. When visitors are looking to make a decision on which service or website to use, they are drawn in by regularly updated blogs that indicate activity and expertise.

3. Content marketing is the best tool in your marketing arsenal. Potential customers are looking for thought leaders — experts in the field. Having high-quality content on your company’s web page bolsters your online presence and provides visitors who are much more likely to become customers than any other referral source a company can control. The effort is worth it.

Looking for more content marketing case studies? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.

Author: Alan Xu

Alan is marketing manager at Scripted.com, a marketplace for businesses to hire freelance writers. With its pool of 80,000 writers, Scripted provides hundreds of businesses with thousands of blog posts, tweets, press releases, and articles. Scripted's current customers include VeriSign, Heathline & Intuit.

Other posts by Alan Xu

  • http://www.writerpresident.com/ Aqif Azizan

    Alan Xu, Really love this case study. It is important to have a proven data to show that content marketing still works and will be one of the prioritize marketing efforts. Especially on the Internet.

  • paul onwueme

    Great Post, this in itself is social proof that content marketing works for sceptics still in the doubt!