In our last story in this series (yesterday), we started moving down the path of how you can improve the performance of your content marketing initiatives using specific and contextual website analytics metrics.
We talked about how you should look at content marketing performance in business context, and what a well crafted business objective/goal should look like when it comes to content. We highlighted the importance of this analysis, and listed down a bunch of metrics that will essentially help you understand content performance, and strategise to improve performance of future content.
Today, we will start looking at some of those metrics. We will look at why these specific metrics matter for performance. We would also look at how intelligent growth platforms such as Benne Analytics improve this whole process by eliminating the need to spend hours analysing different data sets. And, for those of us who still use Google Analytics, we would also help you understand how you can do this analysis using your Google Analytics dashboards.
(But, if you are still using Google Analytics for your website analytics, we strongly recommend switching to Benne Analytics and eliminate the need to spend hours every week going through overwhelming charts and datasets.)
So, let’s get started, shall we?
#1. Page views
We are all familiar with pageviews. It is right there at the top of any analytics platform you use. This pageview overview that you see at the top of your dashboard is the total number of times different pages on your website have been viewed/visited.
But, looking at this aggregate pageview count doesn’t help you much, since other than showing you an overall traffic growth trend, it doesn’t offer much info. Luckily for us, whether you use Benne Analytics or Google Analytics, the platform also monitors and measures pageviews for specific pages on your website.
Looking at this fragmented view of pageviews for different pages on your website can give you a basic understanding of how different content pieces on your website perform compared to each other. And, with the right filters applied, it can also help you understand what topics attract your audience the most - overall, or by specific channels. This understanding will help you strategise the nature of content you should be producing as well as promoting on different marketing channels.
For example, let us say 40% of the pageviews our blog generates from search traffic is because of stories related to ‘content marketing’. And in addition to generating pageviews, the visitors who come this route also result in a healthy time spent on the website, number of pages viewed per session etc. That would indicate that our content for this particular traffic is resonating with the searches being made on Google, and our visitors are finding our content valuable. If I were to focus on increasing my organic traffic, I should be creating more valuable content related to different topics on content marketing - how to best get started with it, how to come up with content ideas, how to analyse content performance, how to increase social footprint of your content etc.
And it is not just overall pageviews that you should be looking at. You should also look at pageviews generated by pages that brought the visitors to your website in the first place - i.e. your entry pages. Where the users go after having come on that page would depend on the quality of content on that page, but as far as bringing visitors to the party is concerned, they play a crucial role and should be analysed as such.
How to find data for pageviews in Google Analytics:
You can find a basic overview of your net pageviews in the section Audience → Overview
To look at pageviews for specific pages, head over to the section Behavior → Site Content → All Pages.
Here, you would be able to sort your views, look at unique pageviews, and see what content is performing the best. You would also be able to look at traffic metrics for specific pages on your site.
While this is invaluable data, and analysing it could help you identify your top performers and top performing topics, categories and tags, as you would have guessed, it takes a fair amount of work. You need to look at traffic for different pages and then evaluate them based on different conditions and factors. Most organizations who indulge in such analyses have at least one team of analysts and marketing experts dedicated to such analyses.
With Benne Analytics, our focus is to bring to small businesses, startups, and content creators the same level of analysis, but without spending thousands of dollars on it.
How Benne Analytics helps you understand pageviews in a simpler, easier, faster way:
As we saw, it is not enough to merely look at the count of pageviews - overall, or for certain pages. To get meaningful information out of it, you need to look at it in the right context.
Which marketing channels are driving the most pageviews for you?
Which categories, tags or topics are these pageviews coming from?
What drives your visitors to your content in the first place?
Are all marketing channels performing on the same level, or does performance vary based on where the users are coming from? If so, why does that variation exist?
There are countless such questions that, when answered correctly, help you understand why your content performs the way it does, and what can you do to improve that performance. The problem is - to answer these questions, businesses have had to spend a lot of time, money and resources on running the analysis. With Benne Analytics, you wouldn’t need to.
Our unique insights module analyzes your traffic data on dozens of different parameters to find meaningful insights for you, and then presents to you actionable insights you can use to shape your marketing strategy.
Of the many rich actionable inputs you will gain from our insight reports, you will know:
- how search traffic has been behaving for your content
Is it going up or down. What topics are getting the most visits from search results. What is the level of engagement of the visitors coming in from search/organic traffic.
- how is your content performing over time - across different channels
Cause and effect, my friend. Based on our insight reports, you would know exactly what content pieces you should be promoting - via your emails or through your social media handles. If there is a sudden uptick in the performance of a particular piece of content on one channel - say search engine results, our insight reports will highlight it for you so that you can leverage that increased audience interest in the topic by promoting it across different channels.
- which content pieces should be re-promoted and when
When you publish a new piece of content, you promote it on different channels. But when should you re-promote it? And of all the content you have produced, which pieces need to be re-promoted for maximum impact? Our insight reports highlight those articles for you. For example, if the performance of an old article is holding steady on search traffic, but the inbound traffic is declining on social, our system will highlight those articles as items in need of a boost on social presence. Now you would no longer be posting links to articles on Twitter at random, you will know exactly which articles you should post link for, and why.
How do you access these insights in your account?
Insights are auto-enabled on your account as soon as you subscribe to Benne Analytics. For starter and economy plans, you get detailed insight reports in your email every week/month. For growth plans, in addition to receiving insights in your email, you can access near real-time insights in your dashboard as well.
#2. Visitors Overview
Not all visitors are alike. Some would be more engaged with your brand and your content, and some less so.
There are a lot of ways in which you can look at your website visitors.
A simple comparison of your overall visits vs your unique visitors will help you get a sense of how active your website visitors are
A comparison of new and returning visitors helps you understand the perceived value of your content and your brand positioning
I have seen different businesses focus on new visitors or returning visitors based on what their current business objectives are. The reality is, they are both equally important to the health of your business, which means you should focus on both. While each new visitor is a potential customer for your business, a repeat or returning visitor means they were satisfied with their previous experience of engaging with your brand and content, and repeated visits indicates your content being perceived off as valuable.
For the best results, businesses need to have a healthy mix of both - create content that attracts new users, and retain old users at the same time.
One of the things you need to keep yourself aware of is the fact that not all websites will (or even should) have the same experience when it comes to new vs returning visitors. For example, if you run a blog, or have a content-led approach to marketing, you ideally want a good percentage of returning visitors. For a niche ecommerce website where you don’t expect much repeat business from your customers, your new visitors would always overshadow returning visitors. (Though, even here, if you are seeing more and more returning visitors, you should probably rethink your overall strategy since clearly your customers are interested in what you have to offer even after they have purchased with you). B2B websites that have very little content and mostly direct users to booking a sales call, downloading a product brochure or setting up a demo, would probably have very few returning visitors. So, you need to have clear and well defined and reasoned expectations as to what your business can and will generate.
The importance of understanding this behavior:
How your visitors behave matters. For example, do your new visitors spend more time on your website than your returning visitors? How does the bounce rate compare between the two? Who is leading to more goal completions?
Each of those questions helps you frame your overall strategy better. If your new visitors are spending more time than returning ones, that means the overall experience of using your website needs to be improved, but the content is being perceived as valuable by your audience. You have to remember that new visitors to a brand are far more susceptible to bouncing off your site as compared to someone who has engaged with you in past. So if new visitors are spending more time, then that’s a good indicator of them finding your content meaningful to their needs. Similarly, if bounce rate for returning visitors has suddenly gone up amongst your returning visitors, it is an indicator of decline in the quality of content. If so, you need to get back to the drawing board and rethink your broader content strategy and content plan.
To do any of these things, you need to get a better understanding of who your visitors are, and how they behave when engaging with your site.
How you can get visitor overview in Google Analytics:
To get a brief overview of your visitor profile, head over to Audience → Overview
To get a sense of new and returning visitors, had over to Audience → Behavior → New vs. Returning
Understanding visitor profiles with Benne Analytics:
Just like with pageviews, our insights module analyzes different data points for your visitors as well. While you will be able to see a broad overview directly in your dashboard, the insights module analyzes data on a much deeper level to find out actionable behavioral differentiations and usage patterns of different kinds of visitors.
We already highlighted a couple of ways in which your visitor profile can help you understand your content performance, and what should you do in such cases. The insights module does all that and much more, and highlights those recommended actions in the reports you get.
Visitor insights focus on how you can improve the overall experience for your visitors and the steps you should be taking to move more of them towards goal completions.
Our insight reports will help you easily answer questions like:
- what kind of content do your returning users favor
- what kind of content should you be creating in future
- what content types and categories are most promising for CTA completions
- what content needs to be re-edited to make it more valuable to your visitors
- when should you promote your content, what content should you be promoting, on what channels, and with what objectives
- what category of content should you focus on to retain more visitors and convert them to customers
With that, I will wrap it up for today, and pick it back up tomorrow with more content focused metrics to look at.
Data is only meaningful when applied in context of business growth, and our insights module are trained to work towards that objective. If you want to know more about how Benne Analytics can add value to your business and your brand, send me a DM.
That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.
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