But the issue of measurement goes beyond comparing a business to its competitors. How does a brand know whether its content is being read or enjoyed? Publishers may produce figures, but this isn't enough, according to Gansca.
"There are a lot of transparency issues around data reporting, namely that a lot of the distribution channels are basically grading their own homework, the data reporting was less up to them. So there was a need around data [marketers] can trust," she said.
Reporting and transparency are currently big issues in the marketing industry, with online ad fraud (where bots, rather than humans "see" or click on ads) estimated to cost businesses $16.4 billion this year. Procter and Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard has been particularly outspoken about how the company had sometimes been distracted by new digital marketing methods which didn't always work, and has told media suppliers they have until the end of the year to become "transparent, clean and productive."
To help companies understand the impact of their content online, Knotch created a product called Measurement, a research method to understand how people reading articles respond to them, so brands can collect "sentiment data".
One company using Knotch's tools is GE, a business that has invested in its own content platform, GE Reports (a recent post from @GE_Reports is below), which includes articles both about what the company is doing ("Lettuce see the future: LED lighting helps farming go high-tech in Japan," was read by more than a million people, according to agency Contently), as well as pieces such as "Five coolest things on earth this week."
Chief creative officer Andy Goldberg says this investment in content is part of GE's long-term plan. "GE is investing in branded content because we believe storytelling around innovation is one of the most meaningful and relatable ways to convey our leadership. This is especially important as GE transforms into a digital industrial company.
"And, as this transformation is our critical mission, overall sentiment and understanding is what we are most curious to measure," he told CNBC via email.
It is using Knotch's technology to "understand the value of paid content and make smarter, more informed investment decisions," he added.
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