5 Influencers Tell Us How They Measure Content Marketing Success

Measuring content marketing ROI can be tough. Five influencers, including Joe Pulizzi and Lee Odden, tell us what’s most important to them when they’re looking at metrics.

Measuring the success of your content can be difficult — any marketer knows the pain of trying to understand if content is making an impact or not. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 benchmark report 49 percent of the marketers surveyed cited it as one of their top challenges.

Why is measuring content ROI so hard to do though? For one reason, it could be due to all the options we have to actually measure its success. It’s not as simple as taking a look at one set of metrics and observing if it’s increasing of decreasing. There are a lot to look at and they’re not all indicative of the same trend or result. In the same CMI survey, marketers said these were the metrics that were most important to them:

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My theory is that it truly varies from each company and their business goals for their content marketing strategy. It’s helpful to see how other marketers are measuring content ROI though; there’s always something to be learned. This is why I always ask the question — “How do you measure the success of your content?” — in an interview. Here are what some of the most influential people in the space have to said.


Name: Joe Pulizzi
Title: Founder
Organization: Content Marketing Institute

We have a number of objectives and KPIs that we look at, but our most important metric is the email subscriber. The goal of our blog is to get and keep a subscriber. That means we want current subscribers to stay loyal and new readers to become subscribers. Once someone is a subscriber, we work to get them involved in other types of content we offer (like podcasts, the magazine, etc.). We’ve found that if our readers consistently engage in three or more content types that we offer, they are much more likely to come to our event — Content Marketing World — where we derive most of our funds to support our training, research and other offerings.

See also: Advice From CMI’s Joe Pulizzi


Name: Lee Odden
Title: CEO
Organization: TopRank Marketing Online

It depends on why a marketer is creating the content, but all content should be accountable to how it’s going to pull in an audience, the topics covered and media formats its published in and the calls to action. At TopRank we use a model of Attract, Engage and Convert to make sure the content we’re creating is accountable.
Attract measures referring traffic sources and where the audience discovers this kind of information. Engage is anything to do with the consumption of that content. How many people are looking and for how long? Are they interacting with the content? Are they making comments or socially sharing? Convert, of course, is really anything dealing with information capture through a form — a subscription, a trial, an inquiry or a sale.

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Name: Christian Rudder
Title: Co-founder
Organization: OKCupid

Very few people signed up directly from the blog. It was much more like a billboard and it just made people think because online dating isn’t relevant all the time for everyone. If you’re married or you’re dating somebody, you don’t need it.

If you read the blog post while you’re dating someone and you get dumped, and you’re like, “Oh, man. What should I do? Oh yeah, I remember reading that. I think I’ll give it [online dating] a shot. I think that happened a lot, but very few direct line-ups.


Name: Zach Kitschke
Title: Head of Communications
Organization: Canva

There are a number of metrics that matter to us: how many new users we have each week, the number of designs created, and the number of designs published. We want to create content that’s valuable. If someone gets an email from us, or spends five minutes of their time reading a blog post we want to make sure they’ll take away something that they can apply themselves.


Name: Dayna Rothman
Title: Senior Content Marketer
Organization: Marketo

Content measurement can be tough, but marketers should look at page traffic, downloads, leads generated, social engagement/reach and first touch attribution.

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