For content marketing professionals, Google Analytics is the number one tool for small and medium traffic volume sites to determine if a strategy is working or failing. It’s most often used to tune content and delivery methods to drive the most traffic and conversions.
However, if leveraged correctly, Google Analytics can also reveal a lot about what goals to set and how to execute a successful strategy. It’s important first to determine what the critical analytics are for your content marketing strategy and ask yourself what the data will mean. This type of information allows content marketing professionals to be more strategic about driving sales and creating a more engaged audience.
To help traverse the extensive amount of data found in Google Analytics, we’ve outlined the four most important data points Digitile believes content marketing professionals should be looking at, as well as what this data tells us about content strategies.
1. Target audience
Building a buyer persona is a content marketing professional’s first step to a solid strategy with powerful execution. Google Analytics provides everything from age and gender, all the way to more in-depth information such as personal affinities.
The Audience affinity report can tell you the categorical interests of the people engaging with your content. To take it a step further you can use that report to compare which groups are expressing the most interest in your content by running a comparison report showing the conversion rates of each affinity group. This will tell you the type of people that your content is resonating with the most.
By making use of this information, you can determine which groups of people are already engaging with your content, which groups are likely to consume more content from your brand or you can conclude that your current content marketing strategy is targeting the wrong audience.
2. Content type
While target audience data is most important to developing your strategy, the types of content your audience prefers are critical to keeping them engaged and pushing them to take actions like visiting your website. Google Analytics behavior data can help content marketing professionals determine what site content drives the most engagement, whether it’s blogs, newsletters, photographs, discount offers, etc. The data that you should pay attention to include time on page, entrances, bounce rate, percentage exit rate, and page value. You may determine that there are only two or three significant pieces of content that contribute to the bulk of your audience engagement metrics. Where it makes sense, integrate the content into more pages throughout the site.
For example, if you want to understand which blog post command engagement run a landing pages report in the behavior section and apply an advanced filter to include only your blog post landing pages. Then, select the performance icon with session duration in the drop-down. This report breaks down which posts have the longest time spent, which translates into engagement intent.
3. Outlets and platforms
Now that you know the content your audience prefers, it’s time to understand where that content needs to live to drive your audience to your website. This is the data that outlines the media outlets and platforms where your audience is most likely to engage with your content. Content marketing professionals can use Google Analytics to understand acquisition and platform data. You may find that most of your website traffic is derived from a Facebook ad that was viewed from an iPhone, but because your site was not optimized for mobile, there is a high bounce rate.
For example, you can run an acquisition report under all traffic/ channels and then add a second dimension based on the browser. Lastly, select the performance view in the upper right. You can use this report to analyze which channels based on browser have the worst bounce rates. This insight will tell you which browsers require optimization. The referring channel gives you an idea of where they are coming from so you can optimize the entire funnel.
Conversion is the actual validation of every content marketing strategy. This is the cornerstone data that confirm the success or failure of a campaign. Driving traffic and getting engagement is essential, but at the end of the day, driving sales is all about pushing your audience to take action. All goal-setting efforts should focus on conversion, and Google Analytics will determine if those goals have been met. This is made easy by the “Goals” function of Google Analytics. Content marketing professionals can outline what actions they want to track such as, subscribing to a blog, filling out a contact form, or signing up for a contest. Conversion goal values can then be entered to track progress on content marketing efforts.
Once you set goals, run a funnel visualization report which is in the conversion section under the goals reports. This report depicts what pages people are coming from when they enter your goal path to which pages they are redirected to when they don’t complete the goal process path. This report helps you determine your highest value pages designed to direct people through the goal conversion process.
In the world of content marketing, data reigns supreme, and Google Analytics is the king. Understanding what data is most important and the value it holds for content marketing strategies is critical to success.