The ROI of Infographics

by · August 1, 201217 comments

Defining the best way to measure the value of your infographic content can be an adventure in semantics. Your objectives, the organizational culture you operate in, and your definition of return on investment (ROI) all contribute to how, or even if, you measure the business performance of infographics.

ROI is calculated as follows: (Gain from an investment – Cost of the investment) / Cost of the investment

The formula is simple enough. So why do ROI discussions always seem to have the potential to become acrimonious? Like a good political debate, how you approach the measurement of your content marketing and communication initiatives can depend on your perspective.

THE ROI SPECTRUM

Those on the left side of the spectrum believe that creating marketing content such as infographics and publishing it across social media channels helps their brand communicate and connect with audiences. Because “engagement” is always the right thing to do, measuring performance becomes less of a priority.

Those on the right side of the spectrum ardently believe that content marketing initiatives must be able to be measured and show a proven ROI, or they are not viable or beneficial to the organization.

A practical solution to the measuring of infographic value lies somewhere in between.

Infographic ROI Spectrum

 

Costs are associated with the development, design, publishing, and promotion of your infographics. It may be unnecessary to measure the direct correlation between your infographic marketing efforts and revenue, but it is important to understand and measure the relationship between resource allocation and marketing performance. As a business person, you need to be able to justify the internal and external value of infographics as a communication tool.

Conversely, looking at infographics and other content marketing purely through a fiscal lens may be too narrow an approach. Not every marketing and communication initiative that adds value to an organization can be unequivocally connected to revenue. In reality, some hypocrisy is related to ROI expectations with new marketing tactics such as infographics and social media when compared to legacy programs. For example, how many organizations actually measure the ROI of an established marketing activity such as attending a trade show?

When it comes to measuring the value of infographics, maybe ROI is simply not the best end goal.

MEASURING VOI (VALUE OF INFOGRAPHICS)

Another way to study the value of information design as a marketing and communication tool is to take a more balanced approach that assesses both tangible and intangible benefits over the short and long term.

Be sure to set analytics objectives and have a benchmark for each metric so that you can gauge progress over time. For example, you can note, audit and record performance metrics as of a specific date, such as the first day of the next fiscal quarter. Then measure the same metrics in regular intervals moving forward – 30, 60, or 90 days – comparing them to the benchmark and subsequent historic figures. This process helps you measure progress related to awareness and engagement and also helps you assess what infographic content is most effective.

Tangible Metrics

Awareness

These basic metrics indicate the level of exposure your infographics are receiving across different digital channels:

  • Inbound links – Use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to measure how many sites are linking back to your infographic content. Also, if you include an embed code, track how many people copy and paste the code and embed your infographic on their sites. In addition to measuring awareness, back links also provide insight into the types of people and websites that are publishing your infographics.
  • Page views – Use Google Analytics to measure how many page views and unique views each infographic on your website or blog is generating.
  • Searches – Use Google Analytics to see how many people are finding your infographics by using specific keywords. Understanding which topical or industry search words are working well can help you refine keyword optimization in future infographic titles. In addition, you will be able to assess the growth of an infographic’s popularity by how many times people search for its title.
  • SEO ranking – Use RankChecker to measure the page rank of your infographics on major search engines such as Google and Bing.
  • Subscribers – Use the analytics functionality native to each of the applications you are using – blog, Facebook, Twitter- to measure how many people subscribe to your content across digital channels. Examples of metrics include blog subscribers (RSS and email), email subscribers, and followers on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s important to recognize that these metrics reflect your potential audience reach. Not all your subscribers will necessarily see every infographic you will publish.
Engagement

These metrics measure how engaged your audience is with your infographic content. It’s important to filter results based on the level of commitment required to connect with your information. For example, a blog comment would signifyies a higher level of engagement than ‘“liking”’ a post on Facebook or retweeting a link on Twitter.

  • Average time on page – Use Google Analytics to measure how long users engage with each of your infographics by measuring how long they stay on each web page.
  • Comments – Track the number of comments and their tone for each infographic you publish on your blog.
  • Social sharing – Use a social media dashboard tool such as Hootsuite or application-based analytics functionality to measure tweets and mentions on Twitter and shares on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google +.

Intangible Benefits

In addition to quantifiable metrics, a number of less-tangible benefits are associated with using infographics as an internal and external communication tool.

External

  • Building relationships – The process of publishing and promoting your infographics presents opportunities to develop relationships with a wide variety of influential individuals, media, and organizations.
  • Credibility – Publishing relevant and useful infographics that educate and offer insight positions you or your organization as a thought leader within your sector, building credibility with your audiences.
  • Experience with your brand – Infographics and other content create micro-interactions with your audiences, helping facilitate positive experiences with your organization.

Internal

  • Communication – Infographics can make it easier for your employees to communicate problems, ideas, concepts, and processes with each other, allowing more efficient dissemination of information and transfer of knowledge. Infographics, because of their accessible and viral nature, also have the potential to get spread to all corners of an organization, fuelling expanded internal debate and dialogue.
  • Corporate pride – If an infographic becomes popular and gets shared across social media channels, it can become a point of pride for employees and the organization.
  • Decision-making – Infographics speed up information consumption and understanding, resulting in incrementally quicker decisions.
  • Learning – Infographics make complex information easier to understand, helping educate employees about important data and processes.

I would love to get your thoughts on measuring the value of infographic content. How important is it to measure VOI? What others ways would you measure the impact of infographics? The comments are yours.

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This is the final post in a 4-part series covering some of the themes included in The Power of Infographics: Using Pictures to Communicate and Connect with Your Audiences – my new book now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Que and Indigo.

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About Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at Solopreneur.ca and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.

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