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The Best Content Marketing Metrics According to 24 Experts [SlideShare]

How do today’s top marketing experts measure the effectiveness of their content?

Curata CEO Pawan Deshpande recently published The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics & Metrics. As a part of his research, he asked several experts what metric they use to measure their content marketing efforts.

Click through this SlideShare to see their answers.

The following experts were interviewed for this presentation:

Rebecca Lieb, Digital Advertising, Media & Content Analyst, Altimeter @lieblink
Sherry Lamoreaux, Writer/Editor, Act-On @SherryActOn
Rob Yoegel, VP of Marketing, Gaggle @RobYoegel
Barry Feldman,  Founder, Feldman Creative @FeldmanCreative
Robert Rose, Chief Strategist, CMI @Robert_Rose
Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide @HeidiCohen
Beth Kanter, Social Media Expert, @kanter
Neil Patel, Founder, Quick Sprout @neilpatel
Larry Kim, Founder/CTO, WordStream @larrykim
Dharmesh Shah, Founder/CTO, HubSpot @dharmesh
Arnie Kuenn, President, Vertical Measures @ArnieK
Jason Miller, Senior Manager of Content & Social, LinkedIn @JasonMillerCA
Marcus Sheridan, Founder, The Sales Lion @TheSalesLion
Mike Volpe, CMO, HubSpot @mvolpe
Doug Kessler, Creative Director/Co-Founder, Velocity @dougkessler
Jeff Rohrs, VP of Marketing Insights, ExactTarget @jkrohrs
Ian Cleary, Founder, Razor Social @IanCleary
Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing @leeodden
Christopher Stella, Senior Marketing Director, Siegel+Gale @CStella
Ryan Skinner, Account Director, Velocity Partners @rskin11
Jim Lenskold, President, Lenskold Group @jimlenskold
Cyrus Shepard, Content Astronaut, Moz @CyrusShepard


To see our Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics & Metrics, download the full eBook here. Also be sure to tune into our upcoming webinar to hear Pawan Deshpande discuss his findings.


Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a Boston-based company offering content marketing software used by thousands of marketers around the world. He spearheaded the first-ever panel at SxSW on Content Marketing in 2011, and was a 2014 Finalist for MarketingProfs B2B Marketer of the Year. Pawan was an engineer at Microsoft and Google where he was awarded patents in social networking and machine learning. He previously attended MIT where his graduate thesis won top departmental and international awards.

Pawan is also a blogger for The Huffington Post, the Content Marketing Institute,, Forbes, Marketing Profs, and other technology and marketing publications.

  • Thanks for putting this together. It’s quite helpful to take in an entire range of thought from so many different ways of thinking.

    With that being said, I have just a couple of comments of the more “critical” variety.

    1. The very last slide recommends keeping track of ROI, which is great, and to me it’s probably the second most important thing to consistently measure (sales bookings being most important). But that formula on the slide isn’t the correct formula for Return on Investment. ROI is

    ROI = ((Benefit – Cost) / (Cost)) X 100%.

    “Return” is the net of what you brought in (“Benefit”) minus what you spent to bring it in (“Cost”). “Investment” is what you spent (“Cost”). So “Return on Investment” is the net benefit divided by the cost, and converted to percent.

    The formula on the slide may or may not be useful. It may even be a superior way to measure (My calculus is very rusty). But it is categorically NOT “Return on Investment”. You can’t just change a decades-old, well-known formula when you feel like it. Try inventing your own new formula for “Adjusted Gross Income” on your next tax return and see how that works out.

    2. I completely disagree with Slide 22 (“One of the most critical metrics…is employee participation”).
    Employee participation is completely irrelevant to the success or failure of content marketing in achieving business goals. Here are two opposing examples to make my point:

    a. Maximum employee participation example. If you have 100% employee participation in writing garbage, congratulations, you’ve achieved your primary goal. Meanwhile, there has been zero positive effect on revenues, and a huge detrimental effect on costs. You’ve saddled 98% of the company’s employees with spending man-hours on something that isn’t their job, takes away time from their actual jobs, and almost certainly is something that they’re very poor at doing.

    b. Minimum employee participation example. Instead of content marketing, I’m going to use another essential, no, CRITICAL business process. One that has a direct effect on the company’s success or failure. One far, far more important than content marketing. I’m going to use the example of generating electricity. Unless you are an electric generating company, I’m going to guess that your employee participation in generating the electricity you need is literally zero. 0% employee participation. Yet I would also guess that your electricity is on and in use 99.99999% of the time. I’d say that’s pretty darn successful. One of the single most important inputs to your company’s success works almost perfectly well ALL the time. (Remember that marketing program that had a 99.99999% success rate? Yeah, me neither.) And there is ZERO employee participation.

    I was surprised to see that that particular slide got through the Curata filters and into this slide deck. Although I use a little bit of absurdity to make my point, it’s important to expose potentially dangerous assertions like this one. What if a whole bunch of people read this and go back to work thinking that “employee participation” is an important metric for content marketing? They’ll propose employee participation enhancement programs and events and they’ll get fired. And if they don’t get fired, then they’ll damage their companies’ financial results. “What gets measured gets done,” say the experts. If you measure “employee participation” in content marketing, you’ll expend effort to improve that measurement every month, and that right there is dangerous. It achieves nothing positive at all while adding confusion, cost, and frustration across the entire organization.

    Final Note: What I would hope one would take out of my two examples is that outsourcing the content marketing function is actually the best solution. Outsourced content marketing is 43% more effective (Marketing Sherpa) while it solves the biggest problems marketing leaders report (66% of marketing leaders say that “generating quantity of required content” is their biggest challenge.)
    You wouldn’t generate your own electricity. Why waste time, money, effort, and frustration trying to generate your own content marketing programs? There are companies that do it every day, day in and day out, and they do it better, faster, and cheaper than you can.

    • Don, thanks for the feedback.

      1. Yes, you are quite right about deducting the costs in the numerator in the ROI formula. I will update the deck. Thanks!

      2. I will leave it up to Christopher Stella to explain why employee participation is so important to his organization.

      Regarding your final note, you say:
      “You wouldn’t generate your own electricity. Why waste time, money, effort, and frustration trying to generate your own content marketing programs? There are companies that do it every day, day in and day out, and they do it better, faster, and cheaper than you can.”

      I don’t think comparing electricity and content is a good base to extrapolate from.

      Electricity generation is commoditized and requires no understanding of where the resulting electricity will be used and therefore has no bearing on how it should be produced — as a result it’s easily to outsource, and scale electricity generation.

      On the other hand, content marketing (particularly good content marketing) is not a commodity. It’s hard to scale, and hard to outsource (though I realize your company provides such services) because it requires a thorough understanding of an organization, their marketplace, their buyers and strategy. Unlike electricity, you need to understand how the resulting content will be used which does have a bearing on how it’s created.

      That’s not to say that there is no place for outsourcing content marketing. Outsourcing just can’t be the total solution for content marketing.

      Content marketing is more like raising kids (not that I have done the latter). It requires a unique understanding of the situation. It’s different for every organization/family/ It’s not a commoditized service. It’s difficult, and it’s hard to scale.

  • Sana Khan

Curata Content Analytics

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