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Why Content Marketers Are Using All the Wrong Metrics (and What They Should Be Measuring Instead)

You’re measuring the success of your content all wrong.

That was an aggressive statement, intended to compel you to keep reading. And—chances are—it worked. Because if you’re reading this, you likely work in content marketing and aren’t quite sure whether you’re measuring the success of your content correctly.

The promise of the Web was that we’d be able to measure the success of media and marketing like never before—but the reality has been far different. For 20 years, the media and marketing world has been beholden to the pageview, a deeply flawed metric that only captures the most superficial impression of how people behave on the Web. And while publishers and brands have turned to a slew of proxy metrics—such as shares and likes—those have proved inadequate as well.

The crisis has only deepened as brands have increasingly eschewed traditional advertising to become publishers themselves, since they’ve lacked the measurement toolkit to determine whether their content is succeeding or not. In fact, in a recent survey Contently found that only 9 percent of brand publishers are confident that the metrics they’re using are effective in measuring business results.

In this report, we examine how flawed metrics came to dominate the media world, and how a growing movement has emerged to replace them with superior indicators of success. We look at where current metrics fall short, explain the metrics that should replace them, and finally, predict how content measurement will evolve and grow more sophisticated over the next five years.

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