As big of a college football fan I have become over the years, I never really cared too much about college basketball unless Tennessee or some other SEC teams are in the NCAA Basketball Tournament mix. However, this year I participated in a group bracket with some of the gang at High Road Digital. Suddenly, I started to care about college basketball without really knowing anything about the schools or players in the tournament! The ESPN Tournament Challenge app made it really easy to pick the teams and fill-out my bracket. I have caught myself constantly checking the app to see how my bracket scores are doing against my HRD teammates. Addicting, but fun to say the least!


Getting caught up in all the March Madness got me thinking about how business owners track their content marketing results. Most business owners I know agree they should measure ROI on all marketing expenditures, but few really follow through. I think most business owners would rather track their college basketball brackets than certain KPI’s in business. Why is that? You may be thinking…well, one is a game and the other sounds like work. I think when we add the elements of interesting and competitiveness to the mix; we are more likely to care about the results.


One of the many advantages of digital marketing is the ability to track results. There are plenty of data to track even for the most analytical type. Whether it’s impressions, clicks, CTR, open rate, views, shares, likes or conversions, there is sufficient evidence to know if users are really interacting and responding to your content marketing messages.A good place to start tracking results is with your website. Google Analytics has made tracking easy. Every thing from the number of page views, unique users, where the viewers live and the type of device (laptop, mobile) people are using to view your site can be measured. This is very valuable information.

Every digital marketing channel from Facebook to email clients like Constant Contact make tracking results very easy to do. However, there is one common question I get asked a lot – “What is the ROI on a specific marketing expenditure”? Well, that is a great question that deserves more of a detailed answer than I can share in this blog. Suffice it to say, you the business owner must have a legitimate tracking system in place to really understand where your marketing dollars are best spent. Just because you heard a lot of people mention your latest Facebook promotion or some other media is not going to cut it.

Most B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy — but only 35 percent are documenting or tracking the results according to the Content Marketing Institute.

I suggest you assign a tracking promo code or even a URL tag to each digital advertising campaign specific to each marketing channel to know for sure. Typical channel sources are:

  • Direct – These are people who come from a direct referrer. In many cases, these are people who come to you directly by typing your website address into their browser.
  • Organic – People who come to your website via a search engine are included in this channel.
  • Referral – This channel is for those who come to your site via a third party that isn’t a search engine or social site. These are external links from other websites.
  • Email – People who are referred via an email campaign.
  • Paid – This channel includes people who come from a paid campaign generally from a search engine or other website.
  • Social – These are people who come from a social network.
  • None – People who don’t fit into any of the above channels will be put into this channel.

Obviously, the work doesn’t stop here. Once you know “where” the leads are coming from i.e.- marketing channel, then you must know how many convert to paying customers or number of conversions. Conversion rate is easier in the digital space especially for an online only business, but can be a bit more challenging for a brick and mortar storefront.

So you maybe wondering, how well I did in my bracket? Well…second to last place last time I checked. It made me take notice that I should have researched the teams and players a bit more before choosing my picks. At least I know now since it was easy, fun and an engaging experience to track the games and know instantly how my score compares to the rest of my competition. There’s a whole lot more room for improvement and I can hardly wait to fill out my bracket next March!