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Consider this scenario: As a Digital Marketing Manager, you are assigned a budget for the quarter and pull upon multiple resources within the firm to churn out attractive infographics, well defined guides, promising whitepapers and compelling blog posts back to back; you then share them across social media channels, paid and otherwise, and sit back waiting for the leads to flow in – a job well done right? Absolutely not!
As compared to traditional media live TV, Radio and even billboards by the new mall that have never lent themselves to nuanced analysis, new age tools in the internet ecosystem allow for measuring your efforts constantly and thereby help in assessing what can be done better and whether your content has achieved the targeted business goal or not in shorter timeframes. Developing high quality content is a part of any good content marketing strategy, but if you’re not assessing how effective your content is, and tweaking your campaign and collateral(s) on a near real-time basis, then you are doing a great disservice to the time and money invested into these technologies.
Content is King
Effective content marketing can enable a better CONNECT with the customers. For example, you have a Twitter account with followers who are typically business managers and CEOs. But you are a sales person interested in promoting your product & services. A continuous stream of tweets focused on advertisements and sales offers will make your followers lose interest in your posts and you might end up unfollowed by many. It is very important to engage with the users by sharing the right content in the right medium. To this end, measuring and tracking content performance should be the key goal for digital marketing as it is the primary step to attain your marketing objectives. This can provide deep business insights quickly and ultimately explain many questions like what went wrong, what channels to improve, how good are the conversion rates, did the content reach the right audience etc., shining light into a campaign that might otherwise remained a black box.
There are many different tools available to gather and visualize content marketing data today, but Google Analytics seems to be the star studded player among others. GA is the most powerful tool for monitoring and analysing content traffic, which gives birth to smarter data-driven marketing. It gives an enormous amount of information about who is visiting your site, what they are looking for, how they are getting to your site, how is your content performing and did it reach the right audience or not. But sometimes it can be challenging in GA to know which metrics matter the most and how best to extract the useful information from the others. Here are some suggestions on how best you can use GA to help track your content more effectively.
1. Website traffic & Pageviews – Necessary but not really an indicator of content success:
Website traffic tracks the number of visitors who visit any webpage of your site. A higher number can indicate good visibility. But on its own, the number can be misleading – it needs to be clubbed with bounce rate and average time to provide a complete picture of engagement. Confused? Let me explain with an example:
Visits to your website for the month is about 17,081, the average bounce rate is 79% and average time spent on the site is only 40 seconds. The number of visits to the site is pretty high but it is bounced more than usual. This indicates that though more people may be visiting your site this month, 79% of the visitors are navigating away from the site after viewing only one page. Also very little time is spent on the site, indicating that either your web page is boring or off-putting. Content pages undoubtedly grab more interest and hence traffic than other pages but it is also necessary to check bounce rate and avg. time and arrive at a benchmark to compare similar pages that you intend to publish as a part of your content marketing strategy.
2. Referral traffic is a good way of checking earned media success:
Referral traffic denotes the number of visits to site referred from external sources. Referral traffic is tracked when a user clicks on links shared on other sites like Facebook (paid or otherwise) to land in a page in your website.
It is an obvious fact that the website homepage will almost always be the most visited page, but this does not necessarily reflect any promotional or content marketing efforts. Paid searches, effective SEM and online advertisements could have promoted the rise in traffic to the homepage and not because of the actual content available in the site. But referral traffic is directly proportional to content and content marketing/distribution strategy. For example – When you circulate your content in social media and it gets shared multiple times, this can generate more clicks and in turn direct more traffic to website. Referral traffic is an effective testament to measure which site referred most traffic your way and through which content. This can help plan your content distribution strategies better. Also it can serve as a benchmark to publish similar content to similar interested audience.
3. Tracking downloadable content is made easier:
A considerable chunk of marketing content is made available offline to visitors by providing them with an option to download (e.g.: Whitepaper). This can be made available either after filling up a “Contact Us” form or in some cases without providing any personal information. In the latter scenario, to track the occurrence of someone downloading your content, it is necessary to set up the Event Tracking option in GA. Events can help measure conversion rates of how many visitors entered the site and how many ended up downloading the content. Lower numbers can imply poor conversion rate and this can help us to focus on improving the number of completed transactions.
4. Define goals and track conversions to make smarter marketing decisions:
Tracking which sites are giving you the best converting traffic is crucial for any business. GA goals and conversion tracking can provide detailed analysis of what webpages are worth your marketing efforts & time and empowers you to take smarter decisions for your business. For example – You run an e-commerce site and you want to track whether the customers who visit the product page are actually ending up buying the product. This can be done by creating a goal in GA, which will count the visits to URL -Order confirmation page once the customers’ checkout their order.
5. Location report is a bonus:
Demographics is one interesting section in GA. The main purpose is to track where your visitors are from the world. It also includes an interactive map with varying color gradient to indicate what part of the world referred what proportion of the traffic. This insight is particularly useful if your business is more focused into any specific region or looking forward to launch regional marketing campaigns. For example – If your business revolves around the audience in China, but you have analysed that traffic from China is very low compared to other countries, you can take action to improve marketing strategies for better reach in that country.
I hope you are piqued by the wealth of data Google Analytics provides and the power you can wield to plan future online marketing strategies/campaigns. And, that’s not all folks! There are several other metrics available in GA that are very useful to track the performance of your content. Watch out for my next blog on detailed description of other metrics.
So, how do you use Google Analytics to gauge your content marketing success? Please drop a comment below.
This blog is written by Dorothy Amy, Analytics Consultant at BRIDGEi2i
About BRIDGEi2i: BRIDGEi2i provides Business Analytics Solutions to enterprises globally, enabling them to achieve accelerated business impact harnessing the power of data. Our analytics services and technology solutions enable business managers to consume more meaningful information from big data, generate actionable insights from complex business problems and make data driven decisions across pan-enterprise processes to create sustainable business impact. To know more visit www.bridgei2i.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of BRIDGEi2i.