Like any aspect of your business, you want to be sure your content marketing strategy is working. Publishing a lot of content doesn’t necessarily mean success.
To be effective, after all, content marketing should accomplish one or more goals:
- Generating online sales or increasing existing sales;
- Attracting the attention of customers and in turn generating leads for the business;
- Expanding a customer base;
- Increasing the credibility of the business;
- Increasing brand awareness for the business;
- Engaging users by creating an online “community” or customer base.
So how can you be sure your content marketing strategy is accomplishing these goals and providing value to your customers? You need to be tracking and analyzing the success of your strategy. To do that, unleash the powerful tools in Google Analytics. We’ll help you navigate through it.
Why Google Analytics
Gathering data is one of the key ways you can improve your business, because the right data informs effective decisions. Google can help you because it gathers immense amounts of data about your business and its customers. All you need is a free Google Analytics account, and you can start collecting data and making decisions based on it.
Google can help you examine your content marketing strategy to determine where it’s performing well and where you can improve. For instance:
- It will show where your content marketing efforts have been effective;
- It can show trends, such as whether the strategy is getting better or worse;
- It will tell you what content is accomplishing which goals, such as building traffic to your site or converting customers;
- It can even provide some quick wins for your strategy.
With this information, you can improve your current strategy and be better prepared for your next campaign.
So let’s get at it.
Start By Setting Goals
The first thing to do, once you’ve set up a free Google Analytics account, is to begin with establishing goals. Google has four goal types:
- Destination goals – described by Google as when a specific location loads. The example is a “Thank you for registering” screen.
- Duration goals – described by Google as sessions that last a specific time or longer. The example is a set number of minutes or longer.
- Event goals – described by Google as an action that is triggered that you have defined as an event. Examples are an ad click or a social recommendation click.
- Pages or screens per session – described by Google as the number of pages or screens a user views. An example is when a certain number of pages or screens have been clicked.
Let’s use a duration goal as a specific example.
In your Google account, you will navigate to:
Admin – View – Goals – New Goal
Custom – Next Step and choose the goal type Duration.
You then establish your goal for the minimum duration you want to track as a conversion. There are fields for hours, minutes and seconds to establish your minimum session time to qualify for a conversion or achievement of your goal. Any session this length of time or longer will generate a goal achievement or conversion, which will show up in a report.
Remember that you can always add and edit your goals, and Google does have helpful tips and tutorials. Once you’ve established your goals, you can get to creating and analyzing reports that help you really understand what people are doing on your website or blog. You’ll be able to see what people are engaging with and what they like. You can also analyze what content is creating value for your business. Google Analytics can even help inform what content you want to next create. This is all with the objective of improving your content marketing strategy.
Top 5 Reports To Guide Your Content Marketing Strategy
It’s true that Google Analytics has a myriad of information and reports – so much that it can be overwhelming. So let’s look at some of the best reports on which you should first focus to improve your content marketing efforts.
- Site Content
This initial view will help you analyze what people like on your website. Look at Behavior – Site Content – All Pages and you will be able to see all your pages listed out by popularity based on the number of pageviews. This can support your content marketing strategy because by knowing what page has the most pageviews, you can then deliver similar content to continue to engage your audience.
- Site Search Reports
These reports measure the search function and provide insight into what users are looking for on your website. We all know it’s important to help users by having a search bar on your website. It’s also a strategy for keeping people on your site – if they don’t find what they’re looking for on the landing page, they can search for it. This function also provides great data for content marketing.
View this information within Behavior- Site Search – Search Terms. Using this report, you will be able to analyze what keywords people are searching for on your website. You can analyze this against the keywords you’ve been targeting with your content marketing strategy. You will be able to discover if you have a gap in your content, if your content needs to be updated, or if you need additional content. Your users are basically telling you what they want.
The search report also gives data on search exits, which may mean that the content that comes up in response to the search terms isn’t actually what users are looking for when they entered their search.
- Analyze Site Speed
Users are getting more demanding in terms of the loading time of web pages. The slower the load time, the more likely users are to leave the page. As well, Google now uses page speed as a ranking factor, so you want to be sure your page speed is up to par, or your search results will suffer and your bounce rates will increase. You can use Google Analytics to determine which pages need help so that you can target those first.
This information is under Behavior – Site Speed – Page Timings. You will see your pages grouped by page load time and you will be able to analyze specific pages. Your content can be the best possible, but if the page takes forever to load, users will never get to it. Take steps to improve the slowest pages on your site.
You can also view Behavior – Site Speed – Speed Suggestions for information on how to improve page-loading speed.
- Analyze Your Mobile Audience
With the continued increase in mobile usage, it’s important to your content strategy that your site is optimized for mobile devices. Here’s another change: Google has started mobile-first indexing, which means it will use the mobile version of a webpage for indexing and ranking. You don’t want your strategy impacted because your site doesn’t perform on mobile devices. Google Analytics will help you check this.
Go to Audience – Mobile – Overview for information on how your site is performing on mobile devices. This will show you whether your site is performing poorly compared to the desktop version, and even give you a deeper dive into the performance across mobile devices. This will inform you if you have issues across all mobile devices or only issues related to a specific operating system.
You can also set up a goal completion that relates to your mobile traffic or mobile conversions, which will provide reports for any time period chosen.
- Analyze Low Engagement Pages
Your strategy may be effective at driving people to a specific page, and that high traffic may seem like a good thing. But what if they get to that page and immediately leave? Getting traffic isn’t valuable without a conversion, but at least you’re getting them to the page, so it’s a quick win to improve those pages and create better conversion rates.
To view this information, view Behavior – Site Content – Landing Pages to see where people land on your website, then view the comparison button (which is on the right-hand side of the page). You can look at the bounce rate or the goal conversion rate if you set one.
You can then look across all the pages of the site to compare the bounces or the conversions. You can even narrow the search to show only pages with blog posts, for instance. You will see which pages have high traffic but low engagement, and this is where you can focus your improvement efforts.
Google Analytics can give you a vast array of reports on your website and its performance. It’s important to use this information to inform decisions, allow you to make improvements, or even plan future campaigns.
Your content marketing strategy can be effectively developed, analyzed and adjusted using these five reports. While they aren’t an exhaustive list of Google’s reports, they will provide you with some initial gains and some important information as you continue to improve your business.
Danielle Canstello is party of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise-level analytics and business intelligence software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.