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Formula to Measure Success of Content –or How Not to Be a Lazy Bastard


Relying on too-easy metrics like page views for your content won’t give you the whole picture.  

Get ready. One day soon your boss will ask you to justify your paid content scheme with some measure of success. If the only answer you can muster is, "We’re getting a zillion page views," then your boss might think, "Why did we hire this lazy bastard?" before sending an email to HR and questioning the legitimacy of your marketing degree.


How do you measure the success of your content? We use a formula that accounts for many factors, including page views, to give a single success score. You can, too.

Page views are easily measured. This has led to their widespread use as a measure of success. While page views are important, their real value can depend on many other factors. How often is a page recommended to others, for example? Or how much time does a person who goes to the article spend reading it?

Page views tell only part of the story. A reliance on only page views may have contributed to bad habits by publishers, such as provocative headlines that lead readers to irrelevant articles, AKA link bait. Readers will learn to shun your site. Oh, why did I get sucked into a story about "10 Reasons Why Flight Attendants Hate You?"

Now, back to your boss, who you now need to impress with your marketing savvy. You don't want to use "page views" or other "vanity metrics" as a measure of content success, as these easily found but sadly incomplete determinations of success are becoming known. You need to consider a lot of factors. The problem is the average boss’ brain can hold no more than four things at a time. If you have a boss like Dilbert, it's even less.

A Content Marketing Success Formula

The solution is to dazzle your boss with a formula that takes into account all of the factors that your organization holds important.

One such formula was offered on these pages, but I will repeat it here—this time in Excel format:



E59 refers to a cell that holds page views

H59 refers to LinkedIn shares

F59 refers to comments

G59 refers to Facebook likes

I59 is the number of Tweets and Retweets.

J59 and K59 are bounce rates and exit rates

N59 refers to time spent on a page in seconds

Wickedly complicated, right? It is sure to reveal to your boss that your use and understanding of this formula transcends any lazy bastard relying merely on page views.

If you can't quite pull off the formula as your own invention, or start stammering when you try to explain square roots, you can credit the source. Surely, those guys at know what they’re doing.

But if you seriously want to dazzle your boss, modify the formula and call it your own.

Make It Your Way

You can personalize this formula to emphasize the metrics that your organization holds dear. Suppose your boss loves LinkedIn—then you can shift the emphasis to the number of LinkedIn shares. You can lower the value of the number under the LinkedIn cell (H59 above) to make the influence of LinkedIn even greater. For example, changing it from 2 to 1 will double the influence. (All of the weights in this example are in the denominator, so decreasing them increases their influence).

Since the formula was first released, it has been modified to account for Twitter. Currently, Tweets and Retweets are added and inserted as one number. We consider Tweets somewhere between LinkedIn and Facebook in terms of their importance with our audience.

I've included an Excel spreadsheet here, so you may modify it according to the factors your organization thinks is important

This formula reflects our estimation of success based on factors we consider most important today. Please share your modifications—or your own formulas—with our readers in the comments below.



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