LONDON: Measurement is critical to content marketing with dedicated spend set to grow over the next year, according to a new study.

The Measuring Effectiveness Report from the Content Marketing Association (CMA) was conducted with senior level marketers among the CMA membership of over 40 companies, along with those at major brands such as Sainsbury's Bank, Barclays UK and British Gas as well as at agencies including iris, Ogilvy and McCann.and agencies.

This found that 73% of respondents regarded measurement as very important to their content marketing strategy, with half of marketers currently spending 6-15% of their content marketing budget on this area.

Nearly half (45%) were planning to increase this in the coming year, with 56% already automatically offering measurement as part of their content marketing strategy – so demonstrating its importance in the industry.

But only half of those surveyed thought it possible to accurately measure content marketing's ROI, and a similar proportion (52%) doubted whether a universal metric was achievable.

Most (91%) thought that content marketing effectiveness metrics could include long-term brand health measures such as favourability/likeability, trust, consideration and propensity to buy.

Important short-term measures, meanwhile, included interaction (24%) and actions such as a purchase (23%); length of engagement (20%) and social sharing (19%) were also cited but just 15% of respondents thought 'views' were most important.

"The overwhelming pattern that emerges from our survey of content marketers is that measurement is important, yet there is still a debate about what is worth measuring, and how companies should go about doing this," said Clare Hill, managing director of the CMA.

The top two challenges marketers cited in measuring content marketing were access to data (65%) and not having one agreed system (57%).

And in some areas that situation is unlikely to become clearer any time soon: more than two thirds (68%) believed marketers should seek to measure emotional engagement, for example, while future metrics for video content could include heart rate and galvanic skin response measurements to assess which messages truly resonate with viewers.

Data sourced from CMA; additional content by Warc staff