To understand how your content is performing, you must track your analytics. But with the amount of data available and the different metrics you can use to measure each type of content, it can get pretty overwhelming. In this article, I’m going to break it down and give you the basics that you should focus on if you’re just starting with content analytics.
Before we dive in, one thing to remember is that content will not always be made to make money for your business directly. Here are a few ways beyond revenue that content can impact your business goals:
- Attracting new customers
- Building brand awareness
- Increasing audience engagement
- Establishing thought leadership
- Introducing new products and services
- Strengthening customer loyalty
That being said, here are a few ideas of where to focus when measuring your content.
Most social channels have built-in analytics tools that provide you with basic statistics that can help you understand some key patterns and engagement trends. You can track these stats as a whole for your channel or look at them for each post. To measure engagement on individual posts, you will want to look at reactions, comments, clicks, and shares. Monitoring these can give you insight into the types of posts that are resonating best with your audience. This gives you an idea of the type of content to keep focusing on for each channel.
If you want to strip it back to the basics of content analytics, website traffic is one metric that you must measure. The best way to track this is by setting up and monitoring Google Analytics for your website.
Once set up, here are a few areas to focus on and how to find them:
Information on your audience for your entire website can be found by going to Audience > Overview. This report will provide information on the following:
- Users — the total number of unique visitors to your site
- Pageviews — the total number of times a page on your site has been viewed
- Bounce rates — measures users who enter the site and leave without visiting other pages
By drilling down and looking at stats for individual pages on your site, you can get more granular data around audience behavior. Use this information to see which pages are getting the most traffic and which may need some attention. This can be found by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. This report provides the same as the Audience Overview for each page but adds the following:
- Unique pageviews — aggregates pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session
- Average time spent on page
- Entrances and exits — the number of times users enter and exit from each page
From the Behavior report, you can click on any page link and then choose the Navigation Summary tab at the top of the report to show how visitors got to the page and where they clicked once they arrived.
It’s important to understand how users are getting to your website. By going to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels, you can see a list of all channels driving traffic to your web pages.
- Direct traffic to your website means they typed in your direct web URL
- Other traffic sources could include: social, organic search (such as Google), referral (linked from third-party websites), or other.
Now that you have insight into how people visit your website and interact with your content, let’s look at what else they are doing. Conversions are gained when your audience takes the action you’d like them to and will vary based on your content and goals. Do you want them to click a link and learn more? Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? How about getting them to complete an e-commerce transaction? Or do you want them to fill out a form and provide contact information or get more information? Whatever action you’d like them to take, you’ll want to track your effectiveness. How to track will vary by what it is, but Google Analytics can be helpful here, as well.
For B2B companies, your ultimate conversion is likely leads or even direct sales. The B2B buyer is a bit different than B2C, however, since few will move from not knowing who you are to buying directly from a piece of content. So B2B companies should track conversions across the entire buyer journey, from initial interactions like subscriptions or click-throughs to deeper interactions like offer registrations.
Engagement is a key factor in determining how valuable your audience finds your content and website. One way to measure engagement is by tracking how long they’re spending on your website and how many pages they’re visiting in each session. The hope is that they are spending more time on your website and reading more of your content. Some metrics to measure this were mentioned under the website traffic section and include the total number of sessions and visitors, the average number of pages per session, average session duration, and bounce rate. As a reminder, these can be found under the Audience Overview in Google Analytics.
Another effective way to measure your content engagement is to see how well it performs on social media. We already covered tracking social media analytics, but the most important metric to gauge engagement is how many times your content has been shared on various social channels. A share shows that others find your content valuable enough to put effort into sharing it with their network.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
By tracking SEO, you can gain insight into how well your content is optimized to help users find you when utilizing search. SERP (search engine result page) ranking is a key metric to track — this is your page's position in the search engine results for a particular keyword or phrase. Keep in mind that rankings will fluctuate. If you’re happy with your ranking, you’ll want to monitor it to ensure your position remains static. If you’re unhappy with your ranking, you’ll want to make changes and then monitor to see if it increases, which will show that your changes are gaining trust and authority.
You can use Google Search Console to identify the keywords and terms you’re ranking for and keep an eye on how your ranking changes over time.
Keep in mind that these are just the basics when it comes to content analytics. There are tons of metrics that you can track and services that you can use to do so, but this article should help you get started. Once you get more comfortable with analytics, I encourage you to dig deeper and see what more you can discover.