A quick question before we begin: How do you evaluate the impact of your content marketing?

If you’re a content marketer, you probably have ten or more different ways of knowing just how effective your campaign has been. 

However, if you’re from an advertising background, or you’re in a more managerial or supervisory role (CEOs, business owners), then you might not understand or know how to measure the success—or failings—of your company’s content marketing efforts.

I deal mainly with content and search marketing, and I always see this problem, so I decided to create this post to get people (advertisers, executives, etc.) up to speed with what’s happening with their content marketing. 

In this post, I’m going to discuss three content marketing “effects,” which I have named: Evergreen, Blow Up, and Warmth. 

By the end, you’ll understand how these effects work, how to evaluate the impact of your campaigns, improve future results, and make informed decisions about where and when to invest.

I’ll be going into each effect in detail. 

But, before I do, it will be worth explaining the difference between what an advertiser sees (and thinks) when they analyze data from an advertising campaign versus what content marketers see when looking at the data for blog posts, articles, videos, etc.

Check the video version of this blog post here, or read on.


Advertisers Vs. Content Marketers


The below image shows the data for an advertising campaign for our own website. We can see from the data just how many users arrived on the website each month.

Advertising traffic is steady month-to-month.

As the graph demonstrates, there’s not a huge increase in the number of visitors for the months shown. Some people might even call it “flat.”

This traffic is “rented.” If we want to keep generating traffic, we have to keep continually paying for it. 

So advertising marketers will analyze the revenue earned, or the number of leads they obtained over these months and directly compare them to the cost of the campaign. 

Now, this doesn’t really work when it comes to content marketing. 

Content Marketers

Here’s the data for a blog post I created in 2014 called 5 Chinese Search Engines You Need to Know About. 

The blog posts traffic over three months was not great.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the post cost 400 USD to create. 

In a quarterly review, a CEO or a boss might look at this report, see the total number of page views (160 in this case), and decide that 400 USD for such a small amount of exposure is not a worthwhile investment. Upon seeing figures like these, companies may stop doing content marketing altogether. 

It shouldn’t, or it doesn’t have to be this way. 


The First Effect: Evergreen

Now, by changing the date range and “zooming out,” we can see the bigger picture and get a better sense of how this specific post has performed over time.

Strong blog traffic over 1.5 years.After its initial publication in 2014, the overall number of views initially dipped before increasing exponentially. Towards the end of the year-long period under review, the number starts tapering off.

However, zooming out even further, we see a different story. 

Traffic trends for one blog post over eight years.

Analyzing a much larger time frame (from July 2014 to August 2022), we can see the traffic increasing steadily before peaking in mid-2017 and 2018. After receiving close to 3,000 views in the latter half of 2018, there’s a gradual decrease in traffic from then onwards.

This data is for an eight-year period, and despite the traffic dying off a bit in recent years, the article still amassed a total of 78,039 page views during this time. 

Now, what’s the value, and how can you predict future results?

The content you upload, publish, or post is evergreen. That means it will be online for a significant amount of time. 

From my experience publishing content on my website, the average blog post has a shelf life of approximately six years. 

After the initial publication, I look at the first three month’s traffic, which gives me an idea of what to expect in terms of traffic and page views over six years. I might expect this three-month traffic to quadruple in the first year, and then multiply that by six to estimate the total future results. 

All in all, start thinking of your content as something evergreen—a long-term investment yielding results over time. 


The Second Effect: Blow Up

The data below is from one of our own campaigns (not for a client).

Social follower growth was steady at first.The lines show that the social follower growth for Douyin and Shipinhao is growing steadily. Now, it would be reasonable to predict that this increase would continue at the same rate well into the future, and based on these predictions you would decide whether these platforms are worthwhile investments. 

However, if we were to extrapolate in this way, we may be missing something important.

Social follower growth suddenly jumped.In the above image, we’ve added an extra channel (Xiaohongshu), and as you can see from the line, the social follower growth for this channel exploded inexplicably during one month. 

This is, by no means, an isolated phenomenon, a stroke of luck, or some kind of anomaly. Sudden, explosive growth happens on all types of platforms, regardless of whether they’re part of the Chinese digital ecosystem (Bilibili, Douyin, etc.) or a Western one (TikTok, YouTube, etc.).

The data looks anything but consistent. It may resemble something like a jagged mountain range with plateaus, periods of slight increases, and then…moments where things just blow up.

So, what could explain these blow-ups?

Answer: It’s all about the content.

The more you improve your content, and tailor it to the demands of your target audience, the more content you “just do,” all of this will increase the likelihood of these blow-ups. 


  • Explore new ideas
  • Create the content
  • Discover what works (and doesn’t)
  • Keep improving

Your future results depend on the effort you put in now and how much you iterate on the things that are working well.


The Third Effect: Warmth

Now, this third effect is a bit more anecdotal and “qualitative,” so there’s no hard data to support what I am about to tell you.

It might sound like a very bold statement (and it is), but don’t take my word for it; ask one of your content marketers or anybody working in the field, and they’ll vouch for this too.

“Continuously doing content marketing over a period of time (months and years) will make other aspects of your business easier—lead generation, the sales process, etc.” 

If your online content is educating your customers about your product, services, who you are, and what you do, this means the customers are better informed, which makes the sales processes easier. 

How do you connect with potential customers?

One way could be directing them to a landing page via an advertising link. However, this often means they know little about you or what you do as a company. 

Alternatively, what if they’re surfing the internet looking for a solution to a problem and keep encountering your name, business, brand, or service? 

There’s a good chance they’ve come across your blog posts or articles before, which helped them in some way. They connect with you or your company, and there’s already familiarity and even a “friendliness” there. Maybe they’re grateful for some invaluable piece of advice you provided them in one of your videos or articles.

The warmth effect is hard to quantify and wouldn’t feature in a quarterly review or marketing report. Nevertheless, it needs to be considered when analyzing and evaluating the impact of your content marketing. 


So there you have it, the three content marketing effects you may not have known anything about before reading this post—Evergreen, Blow Up, and Warmth. 

Overall, I hope this post has improved your understanding of your content marketing results and allows you to make better business decisions in the future.

If you’ve ever had a blog post start slowly then generate more traffic three years later, your number of social media followers just blow up suddenly, or you’ve ever had an inbound lead begin their first meeting with a “thank you” for an article you created two years earlier, then we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or send us a message.

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