How To Use Analytics To Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy
Have you heard? – Content is King!
Of course, you’ve heard – it’s what all the experts tell us. “More content” may even be what your visitors are clamoring for. For a small business where initial awareness is key, creating great content allows you to earn search visibility, build trust with potential customers and to establish yourself as the in-market leader and go-to resource to answer your prospects questions.
…IF you’re creating the right content – content your audience wants to read and will find useful. Before you invest more money into content, use your analytics to improve your content marketing strategy by providing insight into what you should be writing.
Meet Your Audience
You can’t create content your audience will love if you don’t know who is consuming your content. Who are they, what are they interested in and what do they do when they land on your site? If you don’t know, your analytics can tell you.
The Audience Reports within Google Analytics provide insight into important characteristics of your audience, looking at five different dimensions:
- Age identifies users by six categories: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and 65+.
- Gender identifies users as either male or female.
- Affinity Categories identifies users in terms of lifestyle; for example, Technophiles, Sports Fans, and Cooking Enthusiasts. These categories are defined to be similar to TV audiences.
- In-Market Segments identifies users in terms of their product-purchase interests.
- Other Categories provides the most specific, focused view of your users. For example, while Affinity Categories includes the category Foodies, Other Categories includes the category Recipes/Cuisines/East Asian.
You can access this information by going toAudience > Demographics or Audience > Interests.
If you know that the majority of your users identify as Movie Lovers or as being interested in Employment, then you can start experimenting with themes or visuals they’ll find interesting.
Identify Your Best Content
You know who your audience is; now uncover what it is they like. The Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report provides overall engagement metrics for the most popular pages on your site to give a clear insight into what your audience is most interested in.
For example, in the screenshot below we see that much of the most popular content on this site relates to vegan recipes or posts about overall wellness. This is a good sign these topics are of high interest to our audience. Looking further, we can also see that many of the most popular posts were video content and had high Avg. Time on Site numbers – with users often spending 4-5 minutes on each post. They’re not only landing on the page, they’re spending time there consuming the content. This is a great indication that our audience really enjoys watching video, and we should produce more of this.
Another way to identify what your audience wants to read is to look at your top pages and your top keywords. While Google has removed much of our keyword data (thanks, “not provided”), we can still use the keyword information found in Webmaster Tools data, AdWords search queries and internal site searches to understand what visitors are searching for.
For example, after linking to Webmaster Tools, to see the keyword data, look under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries.
This is great information to know as we build out our next editorial calendar.
Identify Your Worst Content
It’s important to know what content your audience loves, but it’s equally important to know which content they wish you’d stop producing.
To identify the site content your audience is less than impressed with, revisit the All Pages report and look for pages with an unusually high bounce rate. While a high bounce rate isn’t always something to be alarmed at (if a user lands on your site, finds what they need and then immediately leaves – that’s good), it can raise a flag that this is a page you should examine further.
For example, maybe our health site above finds they see a lot of traffic for “best workout techniques,” but that visitors aren’t sticking around to learn about them or to watch our video. We can examine this page and see if additional content is needed or if we can improve upon this content in an upcoming post.
Identify Your Money Pages
Sure, it’s nice to know which pages on your site attract visitors, but you really want to know which pages earn you money. Did you know you can easily find this information in your analytics?
The Page Value metric in Google Analytics is perfect for e-commerce sites looking to understand which pages on their site drive the most revenue. Google calculates Page Value by adding up all revenue from the sessions in which that page was viewed prior to a purchase or goal conversion, and then dividing it by the number of unique pageviews. For values to show up here, you must have set up a conversion that includes a Goal value or have ecommerce tracking on the site.
To find this information, go to Site Content > All Pages, then click the Page Value column to sort highest to lowest. To find pages with low page views, click advanced and specify “exclude,” “page views,” “greater than X.”
One way to use Page Value is to identify current content receives a low volume of traffic but has a high Page Value. This is a good indication that if you were able to create new content to drive people to this page, you could directly increase revenue.
Creating Better Content
Successful content marketing is about giving your audience the information and the resources they need to help them be better and to solve their problem. But you can’t do that without understanding who your audience is and what they’re already engaging with. The reports outlined above will give you the consumer insights you need to create a more successful content marketing strategy.
Lisa Barone is VP of Strategy at Overit, an integrated digital marketing agency specializing in content marketing, social media, video production and other aspects of digital marketing. You can connect with her on Twitter at @lisabarone or by following @Overit.