As content marketing has become a vital strategy for brands and marketing agencies, the need to measure the success of that content has grown as well.  An Aberdeen Group report revealed that the most effective content marketers are also those most likely to measure. The study split its sample of organizations using content marketing into two groups: ‘leaders’ – the top 35% most effective companies – and ‘followers’ – the bottom 65%. The link between content marketing success and content marketing measurement is far from a coincidence. Measurement is a must. Aberdeen Value of the Difference Aberdeen Measure What Matters Using data and metrics to gauge marketing success is far from a new idea. However, it is a bit more involved when it comes to content marketing, which can include social media content, native advertising content, and custom-created visual content such as Infographics, Motion Graphics, and Micro-content. The key is to not only measure, but to do it right. In the past, marketers looked at simple numbers to measure content marketing. Metrics such as page views, clickthrough rate, likes and shares provide a view of how an online audience is engaging with content, but these have proven to be shortsighted. Each of these metrics tells only one part of a content marketing story. And in some cases, they can convey this one part in a number of different ways depending on the interpretation. This can lead to misguided insights, a false perception of successes or failures, and faulty recommendations for future campaigns.

From Visually's new ebook - How Much is Your Content Worth?
From Visually’s new ebook – How Much is Your Content Worth?
Instead, marketers need to take a holistic view at how they measure content – far beyond a simple metric like page views. A recent Forrest Group report outlines three principles for successfully measuring content marketing success:

  1. Successful Content Marketing Demands a Clear Measurement Methodology
    • “The most successful marketers incorporate measurement into content marketing from day one”
  2. Measure Interactions, Audience Relationships, and Business Outcomes
    • “Marketers need to measure how content marketing performs and creates value in three crucial dimensions: immediate interactions with the content, impact on customer relationships, and downstream business outcomes or marketing goals.”
  3. Beware Of Vertical Optimizations That Break away From Overall Marketing Goals
    • “Marketers need to understand how to balance touchpoint-specific performance against larger marketing priorities, such as audience size against perceived customer value”

These principles dictate that a successful content marketing measurement strategy must take all marketing and business goals into consideration. Companies that can do this stand a much better chance at succeeding. The are two distinct steps to measuring content marketing – first, you must make the decision to measure and invest in a sound measurement strategy. And second, you must measure holistically. With plenty of data sources to draw from, choosing the wrong one can be as ineffective as choosing not to measure at all. Visually’s latest ebook, “How Much is Your Content Worth?” sheds some light on the true value of content and how marketers can take advantage of content marking data. Visually’s team of content marketing experts examine the link between engagement, measurement, and ROI, including an in-depth look at how tools like native analytics can provide robust datapoints for measuring content.   Jon Salm is an associate client analyst at Millward Brown Digital in New York City and a freelance data journalist in the Visually marketplace. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington and Lee University. You can follow him on twitter @Jon_Salm.