Content marketing is all the rage right now, but how are publishers measuring the success of their content strategies? What are the most important metrics? 

Of course, the answer may depend on the type of business and the aims of any content strategy, but some metrics are useful whatever the purpose. 

I’ll look at some of the responses from our Content Marketing Survey Report, sponsored by Outbrain

Metrics used by publishers

We asked the 49 survey respondents who worked for publishers about the metrics they use to measure the success of their content. 

The most common metrics are unique visitors (88%), page views per visitor (76%) and page views (71%). Only a third (33%) stated that ad clicks were used as a metric.

Which metrics do you use to measure performance and engagement with your web property or web properties?

Keeping visitors on site

It’s one thing attracting the traffic, but it’s important to keep visitors on site for as long as possible. 

76% stated that generating a second click for each visit was “very important”, indicating that publishers see keeping traffic on site as a high priority.

So how are they keeping people on site? 

One way to do this is to provide recommendations for other content, based on the page or article they visited initially. 69% said they use internal recommendations to provide inspiration for where to go next. 

50% are using third party technology for this, 35% in-house solutions, and 15% are providing manual recommendations. 

There is no right and wrong here. For example, while third party solutions can save a lot of work for editors, sometimes a manual recommendation from someone who knows the site’s content well can be very effective. 

Differences between publishers and marketers

As the table below shows, there are distinct differences when looking at the objectives of content marketing. 

Publishers are understandably more concerned with generating income, with a greater focus on increased sales and incremental revenue, while increased engagement and brand awareness are key for marketers. 

What are the three most important business objectives for your content marketing activity?

According to David Sasson, COO, Outbrain

In many ways we would expect publishers to view content marketing through the lens of revenue and business opportunity because content is the product they’re selling and the service they’re providing to their consumers.

In an age when more and more information is freely accessible, and consumers expect to access it for free, publishers face a tough climate in aligning their business goals with the demand for their product, so it makes perfect sense that these financially-oriented outcomes are top-of-mind for them when it comes to how they use content.