Have any idea who read your last white paper? You need metrics.


Who read your last white paper?

You’ve made a big investment in terms of time, money, and yes, your personal reputation on this white paper.  You told management a strategic white paper campaign would send your conversion rates soaring.measure white paper success

You’ve released the first white paper and are promoting it effectively (see this recent post on promoting white papers here).  Is it working?  Is the white paper achieving the goals set for it?  How can you tell?

Metrics.  Metrics are things you can count.  Things that measure the response to actions taken.  It has long been recognized that if you don’t measure it you can’t improve it.  That applies to many aspects of business.  Marketing is no exception.

In last week’s post, we discussed promoting your white paper.  This week we think about how to measure the effectiveness of the white paper campaign.  And how to measure the effectiveness of the promotions.

Metrics to use to tell if your white paper is a success

At each stage of the white paper promotion there is a metric you can measure.  There are metrics for:

  • Your landing page
  • Your website promotion
  • Your newsletter and email promotions
  • Your social media promotion.

Then we look at the key metrics in any marketing campaign: those that measure the Return on Investment (ROI).

The landing page

The landing page is a critical link in both the promotion of the white paper and in measuring success.  Key metrics to use:

Metric:              Downloads

  • The # of times a PDF of the white paper was downloaded from the landing page.
  • A key metric to track the reach of a white paper.

Metric:              Landing page bounce rate

  • The ratio of visitors who leave a landing page quickly, as though they weren’t interested.
  • To measure roughly how engaging a landing page is to visitors.

Metric:              Registrations

  • The # of visitors who filled in a form so they could view or download the white paper.
  • To count how many prospects a white paper generated.

Website promotions

You can check interest in, and the reach of, the white paper through these metrics:

Metric:              Clicks

  • The # of times anyone clicked on an ad for a white paper.
  • A way to measure interest in a white paper; used to calculate CTR (see next).

Metric:              Click Through Rate (CTR)

  • The total # of clicks divided by the total # of impressions for an ad.
  • To measure the effectiveness of a web banner or pay-per-click ad.

Metric:              Page views

  • The number of times a webpage with an HTML white paper was visited.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper formatted in HTML rather than PDF.

Metric:              Permalinks

  • The number of times the white paper was linked by other blogs.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper in the blogosphere.

Newsletter and email promotions

Newsletter and email promotions are extremely cost effective.  These metrics will help you measure the robustness of your email list and the effectiveness of the newsletter/email campaign.

Metric:              Email bounce rates

  • The # of undeliverable emails divided by the total # of emails sent.
  • To measure the quality of an email list.

Metric:              Opens

  • The # of people who opened an email for a white paper.
  • To calculate the open rate (see next).

Metric:              Open rate

  • The total # of opens divided by the total # of emails sent.
  • To measure the effectiveness of an email campaign for a white paper.

Social media promotions

The social media promotion is about building your brand, your thought leadership.  These metrics help you determine the reach of your social media campaign:

Metric:              Comments

  • The # of comments posted after a post about a white paper.
  • To measure the reach of the white paper content in the blogosphere.

Metric:              Likes

  • The # of times something was “liked” on social media.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper on social media; may not be relevant to sales.

Metric:              Reposts

  • The # of time a white paper was reposted or quoted in other blogs.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper content in the blogosphere.

Metric:              Retweets

  • The # of times a white paper was retweeted on Twitter.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper on social media; may not be relevant to sales.

Return on investment

This is where your reputation stands or falls.  These are the numbers that business owners and chief executives focus on.  Revenue and sales.  Metrics for determining the ROI of a white paper campaign are:

Metric:              Cost-per-lead

  • The total cost of a campaign divided by the # of leads generated.
  • To compare the cost effectiveness of various campaigns and tactics.

Metric:              Leads

  • The # of leads generated by the white paper, qualified by marketing, and passed on to sales.
  • A key metric to track the marketing ROI on a white paper campaign.

Metric:              Revenues

  • The amount of revenue resulting from sales to qualified leads generated by this white paper.
  • Probably the most important metric of all, and very persuasive if you can track it.

Metric:              Sales

  • The # of sales resulting from qualified leads generated by a white paper.
  • A key metric to track the results generated by a white paper campaign.


Whichever metric you decide to monitor, keep it up.  Gather data.  Try different headlines.  Optimize the landing page.  Learn what you audience responds to.  That is the power of metrics and it is pure gold.


A persuasive white paper uses simple language to explain complex technologies.  In this special report, you will discover the true value of a persuasive white paper.