Content Analytics Uncovered: How to use Content Analytics to your Advantage
|Taking it all in|
Do you want to understand if your content is working for you?
A resounding YES.
Do you want to measure the value of your content?
Do you want to know specifically whether your content is attracting, maintaining customers, and keeping them interested in what you have to say?
Analysing content is one of those things that the majority of people simply don’t want to trouble themselves with.
For a few reasons: Massive effort; Unsure how to approach this task; Too time-consuming, and many, many more.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article you will learn the tools to measure your content effectively, and create straightforward content marketing strategies to focus on WHAT WORKS. What is proven to work. So you’ve got clarity and confidence in your campaigns.
Did you know only a mere 8% of marketers consider themselves effective at measuring their return on investment from their content marketing?
A well-thought out and researched content marketing strategy can lead to building business relationships, and encourage dedicated followers to your business and brand.
Positioning your business as the authority in your chosen field, this provides you with the chance to advertise your business, all whilst providing great value to your prospective customers.
Being able to carefully and accurately measure your content marketing activity, from conception to delivery, is crucial to measuring its success.
Analysing your content correctly is going to help your business in numerous ways:
1. Create a valuable content strategy
2. Keeping your marketing team interested. Tracking achievements keeps them motivated.
3. Enables you to best serve your business’s objectives.
4. Keeping ROI in the forefront of your mind collaborates great working relationships.
Looking at all of the varying metrics all at once can be pretty daunting, let me tell you.
To establish which metrics are going to be the most valuable to your business, let’s break down content analytics into sub-sections, so we can focus on them individually, and we can work through them methodically (without panicking!)
- Consumption metrics
- Sharing metrics
- Retention metrics
- Leads metrics
- Sales metrics
We will consider the data that is worthy of your attention as a content marketer.
What is relevant, and what is not. Which numbers matter, and which do not.
In this article, we are going to look step-by-step at the data that matters to your business, and what you can do about it.
Let’s dive into the first on our list:
The more equipped you are with the information about your customers like and dislike, the better placed you are to market to them. Using their preferences is a sure-fire way to serve up their preferred service/product, at their preferred time.
There are a few ways in which we can do this:
Analysing Website and Blog Content:
1. Page views - Shows how many times pages are viewed. Easy peasy.
2. Unique visitors - Tells you how many visitors are brand new to your site. The more unique visitors to your website indicates that your reach is increasing, which should therefore increase your intake of new customers.
3. Subscriptions - Content marketers’ end goal is to grow readership, so add up the amount of people who opt-in to receive your content via email or an RSS feed - preferably email.
4. Time on page – Digital media success is rapidly being measured by time. How much time your potential customers spend on your website pages, a clear indication of increased engagement. And the longer they stick around, the more likely it is that they are going to make a purchase, or an enquiry.
It’s vital to have a handle on this data, as they relate to both your blog and your website. Your analytics will inform you of averages, centered on any period of time that you choose to focus on.
The next step here is to analyse the page views, time on page and unique visitors by particular blog posts and pages. By doing this, you can really narrow down which content you provide is of interest to your potential customers.
A new subscriber to your content (yay!) is considered to be a conversion.
Therefore, set up your analytics to show which of your pages is the very best at obtaining your potential customers’ email addresses.
Consider your call to actions on these treasured pages, and whether you can duplicate this method on other pages or blog articles on your website to capture more email addresses.
How do we measure effectiveness of website downloads?
Glad you asked.
Opt-in counts - Some or all of your downloadable assets will be “gated,” meaning they need the customer to complete a form to gain this information. The number of downloads will give you an idea of how valuable potential customers consider the content is going to be.
Conversion rate - The number of visitors that arrived on one of your landing pages, and filled out the form is good information too.
By analysing this data, you can measure the effectiveness of your landing page, and your visitors’ desire for the content you provide therein.
Contrasting the high converting landing pages with the low converting landing pages will enable you to understand which content to create, and how to present it to your potential customers.
Ah, social media.
Social media analysing is not a walk in the park.
However, it is not impossible.
Let’s take a look at what we can measure, how we can measure the effectiveness of your content, and why.
Impressions – You’ll find that some social media platforms provide you with impressions figures, but his can be vague. Take them with a pinch of salt.
Most of us know now that it’s actually incredibly difficult to reach followers in an organic way, and that to get their content seen, they need to be throwing money at Facebook.
Click-through rate - You can measure clicks on social media platforms. Some platforms offer up analytics on clicks. There are some services available assist you to bring together social media analytics and link-shortening tools to check how many links are being clicked on.
Using these two methods (click-through rate and impressions) is going to give you what you need in terms of social media content metrics, in the vast majority of cases.
There are extra ways in which you can gather further engagement data, however, for the purposes of this article, we are not going to delve into that particular rabbit hole, as that’s for another, more complicated, day.
If people like something, and find the content of value, and of interest, they tend to share it.
If your content is being shared on social media platforms, you receive delightful gratification, a dopamine hit, and validation that you are providing your audience with what they are seeking.
Seeing your content shared on social media is one thing. You know it’s being shared. Unfortunately, not the same can be said of email sharing. You have no idea if your recipients are forwarding on your valuable piece of content. You’d like to think they are, but you don’t know for certain.
Therefore, we won’t worry ourselves about information we don’t know, or can’t get hold of. Let’s take a look at social sharing metrics.
Blog and Website shares
For this type of content, all you need to do is pop a sharing tool on your blog, and maybe even some other pages within your site, and that information on who is sharing what is readily available to you.
You’ll find that social media platforms usually give you analytics to see how your posts are performing; each one is a bit different, and sometimes reports are just available to paid posts.
We find SlideShare to be very lavish with their data. You can review the data individually, or in a group, over any time period of your choosing.
Engagement activities like comments, email shares, social shares, favouriting, downloads are all monitored, and presented to you as extremely valuable data.
Other social actions
It’s worth looking into which platforms offer you the best information in terms of metrics. These can vary such as pins (on Pinterest), likes, favourites, and so on. Examine which insights are offering you the most valuable and insightful information. You can then use this data to create content marketing strategies, based on your particular objectives when it comes to creating content for social media platforms.
You can consider setting up spreadsheets to track this information that you receive from social media platforms, as you won’t be able to fully automate this process.
Pinterest is up there in terms of providing meaningful analytics.
You can track re-pins, impressions, clicks, original pins, and more. Good work, Pinterest.
Email and feeds
Hypothetically, people could share your emails or RSS feeds.
Chances are though, they won’t, or not in a way that you are able to analyse. Moving on!
What are retention metrics, anyway?
Retention metrics demonstrate how you are keeping dedicated followers of your information and content. The followers we all want, and want to keep hold of.
We know that by demonstrating the retention of these dedicated users, you are effectively (and hopefully, profitably!) cultivating good, lasting professional relationships to people that are going to be very open to selling to.
So, how do we measure website and blog retention?
Bounce rate is a marketing term applied to analysing traffic to websites. It represents the amount of visitors who land on the website, and then head off, rather than exploring the rest of the site. It means they a) don’t like what they see, or b) haven’t immediately found what they are looking for.
High bounce rates on blog articles however, can be a good thing. That particular visitor has returned because they are interested in your content. Generally speaking though, on your website pages that are not your blog, a high bounce rate is bad.
New and returning visitors
In Google Analytics, you'll be able to monitor your users, and separate them into new visitors, and returning visitors.
And to learn exactly how much traffic a piece of content is generating for your website, you also look at this in Google Analytics.
Navigate to Behaviour » Site Content » Landing Pages . This report will show you which pages your website visitors are first landing on. This defaults to your landing pages with the biggest amount of traffic first.
You can also examine how your website traffic is increasing over time by comparing periods of time.
Why not see where your traffic is originating from, too?
This is known as referral traffic . When you understand the source of your traffic, you can realise which part of your marketing strategy is driving traffic with the capability to convert, and which part of your marketing strategy should be ditched!
You can use this tool to discover where traffic is coming from to your most prevalent landing pages:
From the landing pages report, click on the page you want to analyse. Then, go to the Secondary Dimension button, then Acquisition » Source/Medium .
Now you’ll be able to see where your traffic is originating from for that landing page.
It may be that the majority of your traffic is coming from people searching on Google:
If this is the case, and you’re spending a ton of money investing in social media, you’ll know to re-focus your efforts elsewhere.
To discover your retention metrics, what you want here is to find the returning visitors section growing, or maintaining.
When you publish new content, hopefully in this section you should see peaks of interest.
On social media platforms, you can measure retention by how many followers you have to your page.
You want large followers, and to keep them. Facebook for example is going to reward you for a large amount of followers by pushing out your content to more people. The more followers you have, the greater the chance of exposure to more people.
What about email retention?
Oh, the dreaded unsubscribe. No-one wants that. That’s a proverbial kick in the teeth, isn’t it?
It’s natural that subscribers will come and go, but hopefully you will grow followers in this way, rather than losing more of them. If, all of a sudden, you’re seeing a pattern in unsubscribers, re-evaluate your email campaigns, and try and see what may have gone wrong.
Qualified leads. Music to your ears, right?
Great content will attract an audience. And an audience can create leads.
Say you’ve created an outstanding blog article. You’ll be able to tell if it’s attracting the required leads if:
· Visitors consume your blog post and catch your lead magnet, which may mean that they could be considering doing business with you.
· Visitors get in touch with you using your contact page, and ask questions related to their intended purchase.
These actions suggest that your content is generating qualified leads, who are much more prone to buy from you in the end.
One way to decipher whether your users are qualified is to check if they’re checking out important pages on your site, like your pricing page, for example. To do this, go ahead and set up goals in Google Analytics .
Once you’ve set your analytics goals, go to Conversions » Goals » Funnel Visualization to see which pieces of content are working hard for you to convert visitors into leads.
Further Success in this particular area of metrics however is going to involve some money. Investing money in an automation service.
With such a qualified platform in place, you’ll achieve:
· Leads produced by a certain piece of content.
· When current leads connected with the content.
· The content’s conversion power.
· Parts of your funnel that don’t have effective content.
You’ll be able to follow the leads as they wind their way down the funnel to the successive steps in your selling sequence.
These particular metrics will analyse the specific content that generated this amount of leads, and therefore tell you exactly what is working in your content, and which is not. Adjust accordingly, rinse, and repeat.
Time-Stamp services track the movements of your users, and when they last interacted with your content. Clever, huh? You can use this information to see exactly which content they saw, before they became a qualified lead, which led to them becoming a lead conversion.
Saved the most complicated for last. And the one that may involve you referring back to your Maths school history.
Let’s dive into analysing content sales metrics, and see exactly how many leads we’ve discussed in the previous section actually convert to sales, along with the value of these sales.
If you’ve got qualified leads and are developing them with the perfect content at the perfect time, then surely, some of these qualified leads should purchase something?!
For exact numbers, head back to your Google Analytics dashboard to discover these.
Behaviour » Site Content » All Pages is where you want to be for this.
Setting up Reports
Depending on your analytics requirements, you can examine options to measure your sales.
Using your marketing automation platform, you’re going to want to create columns to monitor each variable, like so:
Create sales metrics built on tangible sales, or sales opportunities.
Create sales metrics intended to track the worth (or value) of the content.
You should consider utilising percentages, which will help calculate the value of your content marketing team and its content marketing plans.
Use a Revenue column if your intention is to analyse real deals.
Use a Pipeline variable if your intention is to analyse leads.
Use Generated as your final variable to analyse the content which prompted the initial interest (i.e. brought a potential into the sales funnel).
Use the Influenced variable to analyse the content which your prospect read whilst in the selling cycle phase, consequent to the first touch.
You can use these columns and formulas to analyse:
· A content campaign
· A blog post
· A webinar
· A stand-alone piece of website content
Build yourself a dashboard now you are armed with which information you are going to analyse.
You can then track those KPIs which are the most insightful and meaningful to your initial content objectives.
Over the course of time, you’ll be able to add on additional tools and analytics to further your content analytics capabilities.
However, start small at the beginning, and commit to regularly analysing your content metrics.
Consider creating a spreadsheet with all the metrics that you can measure now, and the metrics you want to measure at some point. You can blank out the future metrics, and focus on the ones you can easily do now.
Taking it all in
Very aware this is a LOT of information. Possibly information over-load.
Remember, you don’t need to action every single metric above .
Attempting to monitor too many of these metrics at once is not a good idea. It can also lead to “analysis paralysis.”
Instead, start each new content marketing project or campaign by choosing just a few pertinent metrics to set aims for.
This way, your return on investment will be simple to monitor, you’ll know exactly what success looks like.
Our advice is to take each metric section one by one, and only then will you be able to discover and utilise the metrics that are relevant to your business.
Of course, don’t just sit on all these wonderful analytics, once you’ve done the hard work!
Analyse the data.
Decipher what’s worked for you content-wise, and what hasn’t.
Now that you know how to track your content marketing ROI, you can begin creating content.
Start with good old fashioned keyword research.
Formulate your campaign based around these valuable analytics, and reach out to more customers to attract more revenue.
Which is what it’s all about, isn’t it?