Chapter 7

How to measure success of sponsored content

Most publishers at our summit said they track all the typical content metrics when measuring the reach of sponsored content — views, unique visitors, time spent, etc.

Most also share these metrics with sponsors but guarantee little or no specific results. Publishers that maintain more control over the content seemed to feel more comfortable guaranteeing some performance results.

The most-common metrics to prioritize are impressions and engagement (measured both in time or in social sharing).

The Minneapolis Star Tribune plugs in other advanced data services to track the demographics of sponsored content readers and to measure offline actions, such as purchases that they make after reading the content.

There’s room for improvement here. Many at our summit noted metrics they would like to be able to track and to show sponsors in the future, including reading completion rates, offline behavior or purchases after viewing, and social media data to know how the readers are connected to the sponsor via those networks.