Social media and content marketing are easy prey for those who believe that ROI can only be measured by a direct link between a customer interaction and a sale.

This obviously ignores the good work that content does in building a relationship with that customer, so that when they do eventually receive a sales email they’re primed and ready to make a purchase.

Thankfully a new survey conducted by Adobe and Econsultancy shows that marketers are broadly aware of the benefits of content marketing, which one might classify as soft metrics.

When asked which business goals content management should help with, 87% of marketers said ‘improving user and customer engagement’.

The second most-popular answer was ‘building the brand through positive experiences’ (80%), while ‘driving sales’ came third (60%).

The findings come from the latest Econsultancy/Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing which examines the challenges involved with Delivering Digital Experiences.

It is based on an online survey of 975 client-side and agency respondents carried out in July and August 2014.

Producing high quality content can certainly help build trust, provide context and therefore improve financial KPIs. 

Ultimately content that is tightly aligned with their product and lifestyle needs can play a supporting role throughout the ecommerce journey.

Which of the following business goals does (or should) content management help you to meet?

CMS systems

The focus on using content to build customer relationships is also reflected in the way that companies measure the ROI of their CMS systems.

The most common metric is improved engagement (45%), followed by improved conversion rates (38%) and increased web traffic (35%).

Interestingly around a fifth of companies (17%) don’t measure ROI at all.

How do you measure return on investment on your CMS?

Finally, when assessing which CMS to choose from, ‘ease of use’ is the most popular criteria (41%).

And in a commercial environment where increasing value is being placed on an organisation’s ability to use their content in a variety of ways and on multiple platforms, it is not surprising that the integration of CMS a top priority for businesses.

Nearly a third of company respondents (31%) deem ‘ease of integration with other parts of the business’ to be among the three key criteria when accessing a CMS, a 5% increase from 2013.

For more, see our Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Delivering Digital Experiences (free to subscribers).