When brought together, content marketing and analytics are the greatest a dynamic duo since Batman and Robin (or Ben and Jerry, if you’re more of a foodie than a DC fan). Though you may be seeing an increase in traffic or lead generation while just focusing purely on your content creation, the truth is there is no way to know for sure just how your content is performing without analytics.
The insights that you gather from your analytics report can help you make data-driven improvements that will bring real results, making you the superhero of your content marketing campaigns.
Why Content Marketing Professionals Need Analytics
When it comes to content marketing, many companies consider this piece of their marketing strategy to be a strictly creative process. However, while creativity in content marketing is crucial, analytics and data monitoring are also essential in order to produce content that makes a real impact.
While content creation alone can help boost traffic to your website over time, the key to ongoing, consistent lead generation and increased web traffic is making improvements to your content that help you attract more visitors and leads. The best way to find out how you can better optimize your content for lead generation and conversion is by reviewing the data to see what is working and what isn’t.
After you’ve gathered and analyzed the data, you can then develop a strategy for better optimizing your content. In the end, the only way to make your content the best it can be is to combine content marketing and analytics.
Top 4 Analytics Reports Every Content Marketer Should Use
Now that you know why analytics are important, it’s time to talk about which analytics reports will help you better understand your content performance. Below are the top 4 analytics reports in Google Analytics that every content marketing professional should use to measure performance and optimize content:
1. Pages Report
The Pages Report in Google Analytics allows you to see your page traffic on your website. In addition to showing you how many people are visiting each page, you will also get a look at the time on site and bounce rate, which Google Analytics provides by default.
To find this report in Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Then you can adjust how many pages you are able to see by changing the number in the “Show Rows” section at the bottom left-hand side of the screen.
You will also want to adjust the time range when looking at this report. Make sure that the date range is sufficient to get enough data. Look at the search volume for the past quarter and six-months period. You may even want to look at traffic data from the past year to get a better idea of how the content has performed over time.
Once you have accessed this report in Google Analytics, there are a variety of ways that you can take the information you’ve learned and apply this insight to your content strategy and implementation:
- Keep an ongoing list of which pages get the most traffic. This will help you determine which content topics and formats may be most popular with your online audience. Look for patterns in the content pieces to see which elements may be driving traffic.
- Try testing new content with this insight in mind. Once you’ve taken a look at which pieces bring the most traffic to your page, use what you have learned to test new content. For instance, if your most popular content pieces are How-To blogs, try creating more of this content to see if you can continue to increase traffic.
- Review the pages that get the most traffic. Just because a piece brings in a lot of traffic does not mean that it is as effective as it could be. Go back and continue to optimize these pieces by ensuring that the content is on-brand and includes quality links to other relevant posts and pages.
2. Navigation Summary
The Navigation Summary Report is another useful way to gain powerful insight into your content. This report allows you to see how visitors are behaving on your site, including how they get to the page and what they click on and look at once they are there. This information can be invaluable while you work to optimize your content.
You can navigate to this information in Google Analytics from the Traffic Report. To see this information, click on any page in the traffic report and look at the Navigation Summary at the top of the page. Just as you can with the Traffic Report, you can adjust the number of rows displayed in the Navigation Summary.
Once you have accessed this summary, you’ll want to pay attention to two elements of the report: Previous Page Path and Next Page Path. Previous Page Path allows you to see which page the visitor was looking at on your site before they arrived at this piece of content. The Next Page Path allows you to see what website page your visitors navigate to after looking at the piece of content.
These elements of the Navigation Summary can help you better understand how people get to your pages and where they go from there. This is important because it offers you insight into what your visitors already know and what information they still need. By looking at this data, you can see where there may be gaps in your content and create new pieces to account for these informational gaps.
3. Organic Search Traffic
It’s helpful to understand not only which pages are getting the most traffic but also which pages are getting the most organic search traffic. When a page is getting a significant amount of organic search traffic, this offers you the opportunity to learn more about the traffic on these pages and take that insight to improve the rest of your content. It’s also important to understand which pages get the most organic search traffic so that you can take care when editing these pages so as not to upset the Google search engine ranking.
To view the traffic channels on Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. This will allow you to see a list of the channels that have been driving traffic to your pages. To look at organic traffic, you can then select “Organic Search” and “Landing Page.” If you want to look at traffic on a particular page or post, take everything after the primary URL and paste it into the search box. Look at the absolute number of sessions and percentage of your search traffic to better understand your organic search traffic to that page.
Keep this information in mind when making changes to your website. If a page brings in a lot of organic search traffic, you will want to refrain from completely re-writing this page. If you make any edits, be sure to monitor performance afterward.
Most content marketers are already aware of how important conversions are as a marketing metric. Conversions will vary based on what action you want the visitor to take. In fact, conversion does not always mean that you’re making a sale. If the piece of content is aimed at increasing webinar or event sign-ups, then this will be how you measure conversions.
Since conversions will vary based on your objectives, it’s important to set up your unique goals in Google Analytics. Once you have set up your goals, you can track them by going to Conversion > Goals > Overview. This allows you to see a summary of which pages are converting the most visitors based on the specific goals that you have set up.
To find your conversion percentage, simply divide the number of conversions by the number of total page views. This will give you a better understanding of how likely a visitor is to convert after visiting that page. The pages with the highest conversion percentage should be the pieces of content that you share and promote most often as they have proven to be effective in getting visitors to take the actions that you want them to.
There you go—you’re ready to be a marketing analytics superhero! Using these four analytics reports will help you get a better grasp of how your content is performing and what specific changes you need to make to improve it.