Previously, we’ve outlined why quality content should be a #1 priority in your web marketing mix, but how do you quantitatively measure its success? In our experience, a combination of tools like Google Analytics (general), dlvr.it (social) and Quantcast (demographic) give an excellent baseline of data for evaluation.
Depending on what marketing objectives your website was built to accomplish, Google Analytics tends to be an excellent swiss army knife for measuring ROI on the web. Generally speaking, your most valuable pages will have a large volume of unique, converting visitors with a dwell time of more than one minute.* This blend of metrics signifies that your page is pulling in a variety of different viewers who are interested in what you have to say and are more likely to click on your calls to action. In addition, pages with a greater proportion of search engine-based (organic) visitors are even more valuable because they offer essentially free traffic.
* If you run an online store, lower dwell time and higher conversion is probably preferred to evaluate your best pages.
Using Google Analytics
If you haven’t already set up an Analytics profile and inserted the tracking tag on your website, start there. You’ll realistically want about a month of collected data to make an accurate judgement of your content.
Data in hand, let’s click on the “Content” tab on the left sidebar and the sub-page, “Top Content.” Here, you’ll see the most basic breakdown of your pages and their value initially sorted by pageviews. Although pageviews are useful, the metrics we want to measure are actually unique pageviews, time on page and bounce rate. Bounce rate in particular is important to minimize, because it refers to the proportion of visitors that find your page and leave your site immediately after. An example would be finding a content page from Google, consuming it and going back to the search engine without clicking onto other pages (or calls to action.)
There is another view I find very useful called “Pivot” which makes it much easier to breakdown not only the raw traffic numbers, but also the sources like Google, social media and “direct” traffic.
If you use AdWords to drive paid search traffic to your site, you can choose to have that cost data brought into Google Analytics and used as an additional metric. AdSense data is automatically displayed as well, if you use Google’s ad network to make money off incoming website traffic.
Aside from “Top Content”, I find “Content Drilldown” to be useful, because it lets you see the top pages in any given website folder. We use it to figure out which product landing pages are the highest performers and identify our top news and blog pages for the month.
dlvr.it, Social Tools
If you have a social media setup and there is an analytics package associated, feel free to use it, but we love dlvr.it for its simplicity. It analyzes all of your distributed content and presents a minimal dashboard to monitor followers, engagement and top content. Consider it the answer to Google Analytics’ “Top Content” for social media. Also, see which content headlines and shared links drive the most traffic back to your site. This gives a good sense of the type of site content that most appeals to your social followers.
Quantcast, Demographics Tools
This tool in particular is most useful for making sure that your content is targeting and attracting the right audience. While Google Analytics measures your ability to pull in visitors, Quantcast qualitatively measures demographic information. To give a case example, our preferred audience for Brafton News is marketing professionals above college age, and Quantcast allows us detect how much business traffic visits our websites. You simply can’t discover that type of information with Google Analytics yet, and this tool will show if your content is mistakenly attracting college kids to a professionally-targeted website.
In summary, the analytics tools above will go a long way toward identifying your most valuable content and giving directional information on types of content for further investment. As with any other marketing initative, ROI is a top concern for an online business. In fact, Brafton reported earlier today that (83 percent) of marketers say they would boost their use of content marketing if they could more easily measure ROI. Take the time to set up analytics tools and consistently check them to capitalize on every quality lead and traffic opportunity.