Most marketers understand the value of data-driven content strategies, but online tools like Google Analytics can be hard to navigate. In today’s digital world, the problem is no longer having enough data — it’s having too much.
If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Instead, we recommend focusing on certain sections, so you’re only looking at the most important data.
Our guide explores some of the areas you need to look at when creating a content strategy and questions to ask when examining this data.
Setting Up Google Analytics
Before you start creating a data-driven strategy, you need to make sure Google Analytics (GA) is set up on your website. Setting up GA typically involves installing a tracking code on your website so Google can monitor users’ behaviour and how people interact with your site.
If you had your website developed by a professional design agency, they should be able to set it up for you. As the tracking code goes into the back-end of your website, it’s much easier to hand set up over to a professional.
But, if you really want to set it up yourself, you can find step-by-step directions here.
Once it’s set-up, you need to give Google a few weeks to collect data. You typically won’t be able to get an accurate picture of your web analytics for the first month. However, you should still be promoting your website and encouraging visitors during these early days — so you’re not totally off the hook.
Google Analytics for Content Marketing
When using Google Analytics for content marketing, we recommend focusing on three core areas: audience, acquisition, and behaviour. You should get a basic understanding of your website performance from these sections, so you can start to measure and refine your content.
Are You Reaching the Right Audience?
Before you start a content marketing campaign, you should identify your target audience and develop a customer avatar. The information on Google Analytics under the ‘Audience’ section can then show you if you’re reaching the right people and whether you’re developing a loyal following.
Important data points on this graph include:
Overall number of users compared to new users. New users are people who have never visited your site before, while returning users view your page multiple times. You ideally want to have a good mix of both.
Number of sessions per user, which tells you on average how many times customers visit your page. High figures indicate that people are often returning to your site.
Pages/session, which tells you how many pages they view during one visit. The more, the better as this indicates people are exploring your site rather than only viewing one page and leaving.
Average session duration, which tells you how long people spend on your website. Again the longer, the better.
With audience demographics, you can start to see if you’re attracting and connecting with the right customers. The information in this section will tell you more about website visitor’s age and gender, which Google gets from the details users provide when they set up their Google accounts.
Google Analytics can also tell you about a user’s interest based on their search, browsing and video history.
You can also see where your users come from. Ideally, you should be getting lots of website traffic from your target market. However, you might find a few outliers like website visitors from India or Australia.
It’s also helpful to look at what devices customers are using to browse your website. While it’s best practices to optimise your site for mobile, this is especially true if you have a lot of people browsing from their smartphones.
How Do Customers Find Your Website?
User acquisitions typically comes from three main channels (direct, social, and organic).
Direct acquisitions come from a customer directly typing your URL into the search bar so ‘www.copyhousecopywriting.com’. These users already know your brand and skip the initial search stage to visit your site directly.
Organic acquisition comes through SEO. So, people search for a search term in Google and then move from Google onto your site.
Social acquisition comes from people viewing a post on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and clicking through to your website. Social acquisitions always originate on social media networks.
The different types of user acquisition don’t exist in isolation, so there’s some overlap. For example, someone might learn about your brand through social media and then the next day visit your website by typing in the URL (direct acquisition).
Examining how users find your site is an important part of determining whether your social and organic campaigns are working. If people aren’t finding your site through these channels and you’re investing in campaigns, you need to go back to the drawing board.
How Do Users Interact and Engage with Your Content?
The first thing you want to look at is the overview page as this will give you a quick snapshot of how people are engaging with your page. It’ll show you page views, unique page views, average time on page, bounce rates and exit rates as well as what pages are performing the best.
Wait, What’s a Bounce Rate?
When you’re looking at the behaviour page, it’s important to know the terms. Here’s a quick run down:
Page View. The number of times a page has been viewed.
Unique Page View. The number of times a different person, identified by IP address, has viewed your page.
Average Time on Page. How long users spent on your website, on average.
Bounce Rate. When people leave your site after visiting only one page. So, even if they spend a lot of time on the page, but leave without visiting a second this still counts as a bounce. In other words, they just bounce.
Exit Rate. How many people have left your website from that page. Exit rates tell you the last page people saw before they left. All visitors leave your page eventually.
Behavior>Site Content>All Pages
Now it’s time to examine how people interact with your site and what pages are the most popular.
The All Pages site shows you where and how visitors spend their time. What pages are the most popular? How long are they spending on your page? And, are they quickly leaving (bounce rates) or what pages do they view directly before exiting your site?
Behaviour>Site Content>Content Drilldown
Get even more specific by looking at content drilldown. Content drilldown breaks your site into different categories, which is helpful if you’re investing in blog articles as you can see how these specific posts are performing.
To determine user engagement, pay attention to the average time on page. Are users reading the entire article? Most articles are a 3-4 minute read, so if you’re view time is less than 3 minutes they might not be reading the full article.
Keep Exploring, Keep Learning
We’ve only covered a very small amount of the data included in Google Analytics. But, this should be enough to get you started on a content marketing strategy. Let us know if you have any questions about any of the above. Keep it real!
Data Driven Content Strategies from Copy House
We believe data-driven content strategies are the only way to achieve results for our clients. When we create a strategy for our clients, we take the time to learn about your unique business needs and objectives. We then use data from Google Analytics to shape our strategy and make sure our content is achieving the desired results.
Find out more about our content strategy services here or send us a message to get the ball rolling. We also really love LinkedIn engagement so if you enjoyed this post please like, comment and share.