Content Marketing – Measurement Analytics
Know Your Traffic Well
It is always wise for you to seek out business insights related to your content marketing efforts. It is similar to measuring traffic in a brick and mortar store. In a brick and mortar establishment you will want to know how many people come through the door, where they go and how long they stay there. You will think about how to encourage people to stay longer and you will explore the effectiveness of your store displays and content.
When the owner of a physical store sets up a new display, this owner will always watch to see how people respond to the new content (the display). If most people walk by without even noticing the new display, the owner will need to think about how to change the display to grab attention. A new sign may be in order. If the display captures the attention of people, but after a quick look they walk away, the shop owner again needs to think out what may be hindering a longer look at the new display (the content).
This is what you need to think about as a content marketer. Do people reach your new content? If not, a higher level of search engine optimization and citation (links and references to your content) are needed. If they visit your new content and then bounce away without consuming the content in a meaningful way you have clearly not delighted them and more work is needed.
Traffic analysis software, enables us to monitor the quantity and behavior of your traffic.
Are You Creating
Search Engine Optimized Content
that Is Easily Found and
Delights Your Target Audience?
Content marketing is all about creating and presenting content that delights your target audience. In order to do this it is important to observe the level of visitors and their reaction to your content. You need to set goals, measure and make adjustments.
We recommend using Google Analytics to monitor your traffic and to improve your content marketing and here is our justification.
Google Analytics is Free!
Monthly Cost: $0. Consultants needed: None. Training: perhaps a little but see whether your Internet Marketing Consultant will give you a free lesson or two.
There is no financial reason monetarily to not run Google Analytics. If you or your company wants to spend $199 ( or way more) a month on another solution, go for it. But install Google Analytics as well. It’s free.
Here are some of the value-added items available through Google Analytics:
Content Marketing – Traffic Overview
In a very easy to understand format you can see some very important metrics such as:
Without traffic, you don’t have much going on. The phone does not ring, items are not downloaded, forms are not filled out and you cannot conduct meaningful content marketing experiments. The traffic overview screen allows you to see whether you are attracting the traffic you need to succeed.
You have spent time creating content for your website and/or blog. If people come to your site but you cannot keep them on your website – visiting multiple pages – then you need to think about how to delight them so that they do stay and take in your content.
When someone visits and then leaves after viewing only one page, we say that they have bounced away. If this rate is too high, you again need to think about how to delight your visitors. Content is the key and if your bounce rate is high then many of your visitors never get to see your content. Since many people come into your site via your home page take some time to really study and analyze the bounce rate of your home page. If you can reduce the bounce rate by a ½ then this will be like a 100% increase in traffic to the rest of your site.
New-Returning Visitor Mix:
You want to have a loyal following of repeat visitors. However, you also want to have new visitors. Both of these items relate to content. Have great content and people will return. Have search engine optimized new content and new visitors will find your new content. Returning visitors delighted with your content will also refer your content to others producing new visitors and this will grow your total traffic level.
Average Visit Duration:
You want people to spend time on your site enjoying your content. The only way to do this is to create great content. Use this metric as a way to determine the success of your new content. I once created a set of videos for a client and once placed on their site the time on site increased by a factor of 3. The video content was the reason and was considered a big success.
Traffic Demographics – Location:
It is always a good idea to see where your traffic is coming from. You may want to set up a custom message for a particular demographic. In this case, we can see that traffic from India (item #2 above) may be significant enough to warrant a special welcome message or a special message design to engage them. The bounce rate of a visitor from India is low, page views are solid and time-on-site better than most other demographics. It may be worth a good effort to engage the visitor from India even more. Do something to make them feel special.
I could also see traffic being developed in the Canadian demographic with a little bit of attention. To increase traffic from a specific country needs to be determined on the basis of the business. It may make sense for some businesses and not make sense for others.
I am always amazed at how little analysis is performed on the location demographic traffic. A certain location demographic can be a nice source of traffic and business if developed properly. It can also be a differentiator.
New Versus Returning Visitors:
It is often valuable to see how your new versus returning visitors behave. In the above example, the new visitors view more pages but stay on the site only half as long as returning visitors. This indicates that the returning visitors are returning to view something in more detail. They are interested in something and not viewing as many pages. They may have even bookmarked a page to get back to the page of their interest more quickly and this has led to a higher bounce rate as they go only the page that they are interested in.
Content Marketing – Engagement
This is a metric that relates to how well you are capturing the attention of your audience. Remember, Content Marketing is fundamentally related to engagement as this is why you are creating the content. This is a metric to study.
Is your content engaging?
This is also a worthy metric to study. When you create great content, do you test it in all the browsers that people use to view your content? If your content did no look so hot in Safari and over 21% of your visitors use Safari, this is something that you better fix. If Safari visitors do not have a delightful experience, they will leave. They will not bookmark your content. They will not refer your content to others. This is not good for your content marketing efforts.
In this example we also see that over 5% of the traffic is coming from an Android Browser. Today, it is necessary for some businesses to pay very close attention to mobile platforms. It may even be necessary for you to build a site designed for mobile platforms so that you have a greater chance to delight your mobile visitors.
If you are a restaurant, a hotel, or a car service then I recommend that you to look carefully at your analytics to determine whether you need a mobile platform with its own unique and dedicated content. Mobile device access has to be considered for your content marketing plan.
A great way to understand your traffic, using Google Analytics, is by studying Visitor Flow analysis. This shows you how visitors flow through your website content. Drop-offs are of particular note. If a specific page has a large percentage of visitors that drop off (leave your site) then this page needs to be examined in detail.
If you make the effort to get people to reach your site, you need to do your best to keep them on your site. If you see a page with a large drop off, look at the Headline. Look at the value you have created for that page. Have you created enough value? If you want to make some changes with content experiments, you can implement and manage your changes with your Google account.
Visitor Flow is set up to define a page or collection of pages as a node.
With Visitor Flow you can see:
- The relative volume of visits to your site by the modifiers you select (traffic sources or browser type for example)
- The relative volume of pageviews per page or collection of pages
- Specific metrics for pages and page exits
Traffic Sources – Non-Social Network:
It is extremely valuable to see where your traffic is coming from and if they use a search engine to see which keyword phrases your visitors used to search for your content. Your traffic sources are typically split into three categories:
Search Engine Traffic – Search engine traffic is great traffic to receive because it means that eople are actively searching for your business. They want to find it. It is up to you to make your business accessible via search by using appropriate keyword phrases and optimizing your site and pages for these keyword phrases.
Referral Traffic – Referral traffic is when one online location, such as another website or blog, has a link from their content to your content. These links are extremely valuable to your search position so referral traffic helps in two ways; traffic from the actual source and traffic due to a higher position in search.
Direct Traffic – Direct traffic is also important to note. This traffic comes from people that have bookmarked your site. It could also be from people that have seen your website or blog URL in some other place (ad, billboard, business card or brochure). Direct traffic is valuable as direct traffic is often significantly based on loyal followers.
Traffic Sources – Social Network:
If you have set up a blog or a facebook page or post items to Pinterest then you will want to study the traffic that is coming from these sources. See if one social networking site performs better than the others in terms of traffic, page views, time on site or conversion rate. If you see one traffic source performing better than the others then you can think about what content can be created to further enhance the engagement of that source. You can also think about ways to engage the people from the social networking sites where engagement seems low. Again, it is all about creating the right content for the specific target audience.
This is a great tool as it shows a page of your website or blog and then all the clickable links or navigation items on the page. The really valuable part is that for any given page you can see the percentage of people that click on any given item.
This is a great way to determine if you are creating easy to follow paths for people to reach your content. You can also gauge which content is the most popular and leverage this even further.
|Content Marketing – Content Experiments
A big addition to Google Analytics is what is now called Content Experiments. This was what we often refer to as A/B Testing. Content Experiments helps a business improve their marketing performance.
With Content Experiments you can make modifications to your content and then test it in a live environment and let the data speak for itself as to which content is the most effective.
Your content experiment can focus on any single page that helps visitors accomplish a specific goal:
- A landing page
- A page along your goal conversion funnel
- Your goal page
The Content Experiments section of Google Analytics shows how much emphasis Google places on helping content marketers create the best possible content. They want to deliver the best and most authoritative content to their searchers so they have provided a very formidable tool that supports our efforts.
Content Page Load Times:
Google Analytics also offers a metric called Site Speed Page Timings. This, again, helps content marketers to see how fast their content loads. A page that loads too slowly, even if filled with great and delightful content, may be deemed by Google to load too slowly to provide a delightful experience.
Pay attention to this metric as you do not want to have your great content penalized (placed lower in search) as a result of long load times. Optimize your content for good search results includes optimizing for load time.
Testing is one of the best things in the world and testing tracking methods is even better. The great thing about Analytics is that you can set different profiles to focus on specific aspects of your business. Want to just see blog traffic? You can do that. Want to see only traffic from Canada? Sure. Specifically analyze traffic that signed up for your newsletter? Why not? You might gain great insight into what each content-specific profile is interested in and cater to their interests. The content marketing possibilities are endless.
Content Marketing – Analytics Summary
Google Analytics is NOT Perfect. However, it is still a great free tool to get a handle on the effectiveness (or not) of your content marketing efforts. It will provide you with great insights that will help you to fine-tune your content marketing plan.
If you want to know about specific visitors – it’s not going to happen. Google Analytics can provide some excellent insights but it focuses more on trends. If you cannot ensure that the tracking code is on every page, or PDFs are big for you, Google Analytics will not work well for you. But the first rule in online content marketing is to have analysis of some kind. Some tracking programs are more difficult than others… as long as you have an idea of what is going on, it’s a great first step. Just have something running so you can measure and see trends, etc.
Some of you might even be against using Google anything, but this is one product that is worth trying. You need to monitor your content marketing efforts and the price is right.
Do you know your traffic well? Just like you will measure the performance of an employee you need to measure the performance of your online employees (websites and blogs). Do you gain insights from your visitors into what content they like (and also what content does not hold their attention)? Do you use analytics to improve your online performance? To monitor some key indicators will go a long way.