Content Marketing ROI Statistics by Industry

Chart showing 3-year ROI for content marketing for 12 industries

Over the last 10 years, we’ve had the opportunity to measure the ROI of content marketing campaigns across a wide swath of companies. This page aggregates that data and organizes it into descriptive sections for each industry vertical for which we have sufficient data (12 total).

Before we get to the ROI results by industry breakdown, we address the issue of quality, as achieving a positive ROI is only possible when the content created passes muster with Google’s algorithm as well as your website visitors. The variable of quality explains why some companies have had no success with content marketing and others have had so much that they’ve invested in building a complete content marketing team in-house.

When executed at the highest level—following the principles of thought leadership as described below—the average yearly ROI for a content marketing campaign is $984,000. This is due to the inexpensiveness of content marketing (particularly in a B2B context, where digital advertising, trade shows, and ABM are the most common forms of lead generation) compared with the impact of high search rankings for dozens of valuable keywords over a multi-year period.

How the Quality of Your Content Influences Your ROI

The majority of content published to the web by B2B agencies can be separated into three tiers:

  1. Low Quality: Putting out a blog that feels amateurish is common among brands who have never invested in content marketing before and are blindly following the mantra that every business should have a blog. Typically, one of the executives will either publish a blog a few times per year or they’ll delegate to someone on staff who doesn’t have enough industry knowledge or experience to sway a potential customer. For a variety of reasons, lax investments like these do more harm than good.
  2. Standard Quality: This is the bulk of what’s online today. Standard content marketing is reasonably well-written and has proper spelling and grammar, but fails to feel authoritative. These kinds of blogs often contain subtle issues that majorly impact traffic and conversions. For example, the paragraphs may be too too long to hold the audience’s interest, the graphics (if any are used at all) may be generic stock images, or the copy reads like a sales pitch. Good content should demonstrate wisdom and experience, coming across like a thoughtful treatment of the topic.
  3. High Quality: One way to describe what your audience is seeking is thought leadership: journalistic-quality content that holds their attention for an extended period of time through interesting metaphors, examples, and insights. The content should be at the lowest reading level that can still expand on the subject in a complex way, while containing a degree of “industry-speak” that is inclusive to your target audience while turning away those you don’t want to attract. I’ve broken down the necessary qualities of content in this category in the chart below.
Content QualityWell-
Written
Carefully editedSpecificSkimmableAuthoritativeObjective-seemingContains custom graphicsContains case studies / examplesConversion
Optimized
Poor
Standard
High

Content Marketing ROI by Industry

The one, two, and three-year anniversaries of a content marketing campaign are good benchmarks for measuring ROI. A newly-launched thought leadership campaign takes 4–6 months to earn Google’s “news site bonus” and begins to rise more rapidly in the rankings for published content. Also, many industries, especially those who target enterprise customers, have a longer sales cycle. In every case we’ve seen, by the end of the third year of a thought leadership marketing campaign, the case for content marketing has been proven, with the returns of the campaign well established. At that point, continuing publishing content on more of a maintenance mode is ideal, treating it like an automated system that simply need to be fed content.

Below is a look at 12 industries in which we’ve performed content marketing for at least 3 years. These industries generally target well-educated, affluent decision-makers who know they want to make a purchase but need more information to choose comfortably. Many companies in these industries suffer from poorly-written content—bogged down by technical jargon, salesy copy, or simply a lack of detail. As a result, there is considerable potential to stand out and capture significant ROI.

Real Estate Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for real estate content are: 

  1. To attract wider recognition and sales leads
  2. To position oneself as the local expert in homes or commercial property
  3. To share authoritative guides that boost reputation

High-quality content for individual agents, residential real estate firms, commercial developers, REITs, and real estate private equity firms can yield the following results:

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $2.7 million (2,150%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $1.1 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $2.4 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $4.6 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 2.8%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for real estate content marketing

Energy / Oil & Gas Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for energy and oil & gas industry content marketing are: 

  1. To show potential clients the potential for significant savings via changes to their current energy systems or expenditures
  2. To demonstrate thought leadership in the field of sustainable energy
  3. To forecast changes for potential clients in an atmosphere of rapidly changing local energy laws & incentives

From manufacturers, designers, and control systems integrators, to energy consultants, auditing firms, and software providers—the energy industry tends to see particularly compelling ROI from content marketing efforts. The most successful campaigns target management-level decision-makers with case studies, forecasts, trend data, and in-depth reports.

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $3.1 million (2,455%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $1.5 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $3.6 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $4.1 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 3.1%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for energy and oil & gas content marketing

Internet of Things Content (IoT) Marketing ROI

The primary goals for IoT content marketing are: 

  1. To generate interest and qualified leads from larger companies seeking digital transformation
  2. To educate potential customers about increased efficiency inside organizations that are still running older systems
  3. To position your company as one that provides the necessary data for customers to compete favorably in the 21st century

IoT encompasses sensor manufacturers, monitoring services, wireless networks, M2M companies, robotics manufacturers, and edge intelligence businesses. Ideal thought leadership campaigns use case studies geared toward particular clients, white papers, and keyword-targeted blogs about the latest solutions, segmented by industry.

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue from SEO: $2.6 million (2,011%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $.9 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $3.1 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $3.6 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 2.2%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for internet of things content marketing

Medical Device / MedTech Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for medical device and medtech content marketing are:

  1. To drive market share for products that are nearing or at commercialization 
  2. To increase awareness of a new technology for the purpose of attracting investment capital and building early interest 
  3. To create a bank of content that can be used in ancillary marketing for the product such as e-mail, social, and advertising 

We’ve seen content marketing succeed for makers of heart monitoring devices, anesthesia machines, and veterinary equipment serving hospitals, outpatient centers, surgical suites, private practices, and labs. ROI has primarily been driven from thought leadership blogs, white papers, and presentations targeting potential buyers; as well as problem and solution pages, technology trend reports, and in-depth product pages.

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $2.4 million (1,900%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $1.2 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $2.4 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $3.6 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 3.1%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for medical device content marketing

Pharmaceutical Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for pharmaceutical content marketing are:

  1. To drive interest in a particular drug or ingredient for specific uses in accord with the industry’s regulations on marketing
  2. To create greater awareness among physicians, pharmacists, health practices, and hospitals
  3. To build a library of content for use in other marketing channels such as in-person demos and conferences

Successful pharmaceutical content campaigns feature high-ranking product landing pages geared toward consumers, as well as keyword-focused landing pages aimed at practitioners, pharmacies, or healthcare organizations. 

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $1.8 million (1,372%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $0.5 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $1.9 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $2.9 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 2%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for pharmaceutical content marketing

Manufacturing Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for manufacturing content marketing are:

  1. To make other businesses aware of your company’s manufacturing services, driving qualified new leads
  2. To position your company as a provider of solutions to the specific manufacturing problems and inefficiencies that your customers regularly face
  3. To become better known in your industry for being innovative, attracting press, business development, and investment (if desired)

In our work with manufacturing businesses, we’ve found that insightful blog articles, technology trend slideshows, original research reports, and industry forecasts helped drive searchers’ perception of which manufacturers are at the top of their game. Our content marketing campaigns have mostly been for manufacturers of technical parts and equipment, from video & telecom devices to transistors, semiconductors, and integrated circuits. We’ve seen them be successful in reaching decision-makers in Silicon Valley and across the world.

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $1.8 million (1,372%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $0.9 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $1.6 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $2.8 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 1.1%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for manufacturing content marketing

Financial Services Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for financial services content marketing are:

  1. To attract highly specific clients, such as HNW individuals or qualified investors, in accordance with FINRA regulations on marketing
  2. To build relationships with new potential independent contractors or partners, such as wealth managers or insurance brokers
  3. To become seen as a trusted source of information about the rapidly-changing economic environment in a time of political and social turbulence

We’ve seen content marketing have very high ROI for wealth advisors, fund managers, and fintech companies. Primarily, their target audiences have been high net worth individuals, qualified investors, philanthropic organizations, and family offices. These audiences naturally expect well-researched, authoritative, and trustworthy content. The most successful pieces we’ve published include financial forecasts, editorials, and guides to finance-related rules, laws, and policies (e.g. estate tax planning, 1031 exchanges, and Rule 10b-5).

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $1.8 million (1,372%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $0.7 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $1.9 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $2.7 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 1.9%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for financial services content marketing

Higher Education & Specialty Colleges Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for higher education & specialty colleges content marketing are:

  1. To attract new students
  2. To become well known for particular degree programs
  3. To generate more content to be used in collateral marketing & advertising programs including e-mail marketing, social media, and retargeting campaigns

We’ve seen the highest ROI on content marketing campaigns with specialty colleges, such as those that focus on beauty, fine arts, engineering, and pharmaceuticals. Successful content designed to convert searchers into students including landing pages that describe the value of degrees in particular fields; ranking lists of colleges and training programs; and reports on educational and salary trends. We’ve also found that writing about distance learning opportunities, particularly in the time of Covid-19, has generated a high number of qualified leads. 

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $1.4 million (1,094%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $0.6 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $1.4 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $2.3 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 1.4%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for higher education content marketing

PCB Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for PCB content marketing are:

  1. To establish your enterprise as the answer to your customers’ pain points and challenges
  2. To attract a robust and dedicated user base
  3. To set the industry standard in assessments of electronics design tools, components sourcing, or manufacturing and prototyping

The PCB industry is highly competitive and companies supplying PCB design software, manufacturing services, or components are best served by targeting engineers, product designers, industrial developers, and manufacturers. Content marketing using case studies, solution pages, product landing pages, user guides, and video transcripts generate excellent ROI in this industry.

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $1.8 million (1,427%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $0.6 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $2.1 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $2.8 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 2.3%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for pcb design & manufacturing content marketing

Solar Energy Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for solar energy content marketing are:

  1. To educate homeowners, commercial contractors, and other potential customers about energy savings and related benefits of solar energy products
  2. To increase awareness of state and local incentives for installing solar panels
  3. To promote solar energy as a green energy source

Solar energy firms should target installation companies, commercial contractors, manufacturing facilities, financiers, and homeowners in particular metros. Our recommended approach is to publish educational content, such as guides, surveys of state and local ordinances, and annual reports on cost savings.

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $2.0 million (1,594%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $1.2 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $2.3 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $2.6 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 1.8%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for solar energy content marketing

Biotech & Life Sciences Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for biotech & life sciences content marketing are:

  1. To position yourself to gain market share by identifying trends and opportunities early
  2. To enhance name recognition and grow brand awareness to capture leads and attract investors
  3. To build a database of resources to better-inform advocates on policy issues (local and federal)

Our success working on content marketing campaigns in the biotech & life sciences industry has come from publishing case studies, blogs that target central pain points of biotech manufacturing processes, well-crafted landing pages for bottom-of-the-sales-funnel search terms, and in-depth guides. We targeted these at drug and food company decision-makers, lab managers, and researchers.

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $1.1 million (844%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $0.7 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $1.1 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $1.6 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 1.3%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for biotech & life science content marketing

Commercial Insurance Content Marketing ROI

The primary goals for commercial insurance content marketing are:

  1. To attract potential clients to your site and anticipate—and answer—preliminary questions they have
  2. To establish your authority and trustworthiness on insurance brokerage as well as enterprise risk management services
  3. To educate potential clients on the importance of custom-fit solutions provided by an expert 

Commercial insurance firms should focus their content marketing campaigns on reaching HR executives, benefits managers, C-suite execs, and other high level decision makers. In our work with mid-sized and enterprise firms, we’ve seen the best ROI from publishing case studies on insuring developing industries, guides to risk management, and white papers on the risks that our clients regularly see in the industries that they insure.

  • 3-Year Average of New Revenue: $1.8 million (1,372%)
  • Year 1 ROI: $1.6 million
  • Year 2 ROI: $1.8 million
  • Year 3 ROI: $1.9 million
  • Landing Page Conversion Rate: 1.7%

Chart showing the 1, 2, 3, and 3-year average ROI for commercial insurance content marketing

The Impact of Proper SEO on Content Marketing ROI 

These returns present a compelling case for incorporating content marketing into your broader marketing strategy. But in order for you to get to the ROI content marketing is capable of, you must follow the rules of SEO on your site. Those rules are:

It also doesn’t hurt to study the factors Google uses to rank search results.

If you’re interested in outsourcing your content marketing campaign, you can get in touch to learn more about how we execute on content marketing in your industry. Our Bay Area-based firm has more than 11 years of expertise in achieving a high ROI for companies like yours.

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