Aberdeen Group’s latest analyst report on the state of content marketing shows that leading content marketers measure more.

Something that we have been advocating at idio from the very start is that content marketers must measure, measure, measure their activity.

Whether this be in terms of engagement or – even better – conversions, as content marketing grows in popularity, so does the need for content marketers to confidently measure and report on their efforts.

This is the focus of Aberdeen Group’s Content Marketing ROI analyst report from last year which puts the onus squarely on content marketers to start vindicating their roles through articulating clearly the commercial value that engagement with brand content generates.


Content marketing metrics are usually divided into two categories which I’d class as

“editorial metrics” (brand engagement) and “business metrics” (commercial).

  • Editorial metrics

‘Editorial metrics’ are really how content marketers can measure the ‘awareness’ and ‘consideration’ effects of their content on the consumers. This might include: pageview counts, unique visitor counts, followers, shares, comments counts, time spent on page, linkbacks and so forth.

However, yes, content marketing is a wonderful way to enhance the brand’s relationship with customers and prospects, a brand cannot stay in business through measuring engagement alone. If content marketing does not demonstrably ‘move the needle’, why do it at all?

For content marketers need to start looking at how their efforts are impacting the commercial drivers of the business: lead generation and sales.

  • Business metrics

To my mind, ‘Business metrics’ refer to more conclusive actions that can be closely tied to a conversion or retention decision, as a result of interacting with a piece of brand content. These kinds of metrics might include: direct responses (sign-ups, requests for demo/trial), purchases, lead generation, and so forth.

As we move into the realm of business metrics – content marketers can see that they’re not

Source: Content Marketing Institute (2013 B2B marketing study)

just gathering eyeballs but actually influencing how and where consumers spend. Whether you require registration before allowing people to read/watch/download your content, or whether you’re measuring leads generated after content is consumed, this is where you can start determining whether the content marketing effort is making financial sense through creating leads.

If you possess some sort of customer and prospect database you’ll want to note in the prospect record that the potential customer consumed content pieces X, Y, and Z. Then, when your crack sales team turns that prospect into a sale, determine the projected revenue and profit (lifetime value if you can) of that customer, and assign it to the content pieces – if the individual consumed 3 pieces of content before buying and is worth $90,000 to your company, assign $30,000 to each content piece.

This process is much easier in a B2B environment where you’re invariably dealing a limited amount of content assets and prospects; marketing automation tools are also getting intelligent enough to do the same process in more complex B2C situations.


The Aberdeen Group study split the companies polled into ‘Leaders’ (top 35% of aggregate performers) and ‘Followers’ (bottom 65%).

Followers’ content marketing consistently delivered against commercial objectives be it “company revenue growth”, “average website conversion rate” or “year-over-year marketing contribution to revenue”.

Ultimately, ‘Followers’ are not just excelling at measuring editorial and business metrics, but measuring customers’ journeys from awareness and consideration to conversion (for those interested, we’ve written how to do this on The Guardian).

Fundamentally, the report shows that content marketers who measure success significantly outperform those who don’t.


The purpose of content marketing is to generate (more) sales, revenue and profits. There are many ways to achieve that. However, to be able to forecast the impact of your marketing efforts and get budgets approved, you need to know the ROI of your content marketers.

Content marketers who are able to demonstrably impact the mythical ‘bottom line’ can expect to secure greater budgets, more esteem, and – ultimately – increasing wins.

In our next post, we will be showing conclusively you how can calculate the ROI of your content marketing. Until then, subscribe to our weekly newsletter to make sure you get our posts when they are published.