The Evolution of Content Marketing Metrics

Why would we measure content the same way as a banner ad?

That was the question that we kept asking ourselves as we began the task of building a marketplace to connect brands and publishers around their content. Around stories instead of ads.

The promise of content marketing is that, unlike most advertising, people will actually like it. Not only will they read it, but they will share, comment and act upon the stories that we create. Content is fundamentally different than display advertising, and for this reason it requires a new approach and a new form of measurement. Stories, whether they are sponsored or editorial in nature, are created to be read.

So, if we know that there is very little value for the brand in the passive impressions being made on the story headline alone, why do we use that as our primary costing metric? The benchmarks for branded content should be held up to the same criteria as pure editorial.

Companies such as YouTubeChartbeatUpworthy and Medium have been proactively moving towards viewing time and attention as the preferred performance indicator. We are taking it one step further by using the Read as not only an indicator, but as the currency with which campaigns are valued.

In order to do this we needed to build a platform that could analyze how long a reader is spending with each story, whether they scrolled from top to bottom and any follow up actions they may take. It’s a much more robust metric that offers greater insight and accountability. We believe that a performance-based model is better aligned with the content goals for both publishers and brands, to have people spend time with their stories. For this reason we have introduced a new model, the Cost per Read*.

Great stories, created by a publisher, a brand or in collaboration will always find an audience. Technology can teach us what works and what doesn’t, story by story, right down to the individual read.

This is just the beginning, but we believe that it’s a great place to start.

Would love to get your thoughts on the ongoing evolution, please comment below or reach out on Twitter, LinkedIn or e-mail me at

*Pressboard campaigns make use exclusively of the “Cost per Read” model, meaning that campaign budgets are set and evaluated based on a guaranteed number of reads generated from each publisher. This is in contrast to the Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM) or Cost per Click (CPC) models currently used for display advertising and native ad units.

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