Content marketing continues to be one of the more effective marketing strategies small businesses can undertake, but how do you know if your efforts are paying off? Learn more about these effective measurement strategies for content marketing to help you determine what’s working and what’s not.
Using Google Analytics is a powerful way of seeing how well your individual content pieces are performing. Understanding the basics of reviewing content performance in Analytics can help small business marketers guide their future efforts. Site traffic is one key indicator of content’s success. If you’re looking to see how individual blog posts on your website perform, you can review page views for your content piece. In Google Analytics, traffic is represented as pageviews: the number of times your individual blog posts have been viewed. If you navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages, you’ll be able to see pageview data for every page on your site. You can look more closely at individual blog posts by going to Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown and choosing your /blog folder. Knowing how much traffic your individual blog posts are getting tells you which blog posts are your most popular, which may give you an idea of what topics your visitors might want to see more of. It also tells you which blog posts are your least popular, which may help you decide on topics you shouldn’t cover again or review why that post didn’t resonate with your readers. Be sure to also look at time on page; if there was a very short visit before the reader left, your blog post didn’t hold their interest long enough to read it. Review why. Too wordy? Misleading title? First paragraph not engaging? These all help to provide insights into your blog posts. Last, look at the average page per session to see if reading the blog post led the reader to other pages of your site. While blog posts are great for luring a reader in, the ultimate goal is for the visitor to be interested enough to visit other pages of your site too.
New vs. returning visitors
Content such as blog posts, as mentioned previously, is a great way to get people to your website who may not have visited before. Depending on the content you’re creating, your post might be very basic or “top of funnel” content, introducing basic concepts, or perhaps you created a case study or white paper that’s more substantial or in-depth. A good way to see if your overall content strategy is working is to see how many new visitors come to your site through your content efforts vs. returning visitors. If all your posts have a “one and done” visitor, either your content isn’t engaging or what they were looking for, or you’re not varying your content to entice different levels of prospects. Reviewing your types of content and which ones attract new visitors vs. returning visitors can help focus your strategy. If people are spending a lot of time reading your blog posts, that’s a great sign that you’ve created a quality piece of content. Another sign that your content is useful and high quality is that people reference your blog posts multiple times. Returning visitors gives you that data. To find this in Google Analytics, search Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Then as a secondary level, choose “Users” and select new or returning. This is a powerful measurement tool!
There are ways outside of Google Analytics to measure content as well. One of those measurement ways is through content shares. The predominant goal of any content piece is to provide value for readers. Though no single metric can illustrate this, social shares show whether people are willing to share your content with their audiences. Shares can be tracked through the analytics tools of the different platforms or your social media management platform.
Rankings for targeted keywords
Assuming each content piece focuses on a specific keyword phrase, watching how well your website ranks for certain keywords can help determine if your content is working. While website rankings are not as important a measurement as traffic, they are one indicator to see if your content is making an impact in elevating your online presence overall.
Leads and conversions
High rankings are good. Traffic is better. Leads and conversions are the best! Sure, if you wrote a content piece about “blue felt hats” and rank well for that term, that’s good, but it’d be better if it drove people to your site. Even better would be if someone either filled out a contact form to learn more about blue felt hats or, ideally, bought one! There is a way to track that. Using Google Analytics, create goals by going to the left-hand tab and selecting the Conversions > Goals tab. Click the ‘Set up Goals’ button and on the Goals page where you can click the red + New Goal button. Next, under Goal setup, select the Custom button at the very bottom of all the options and click Continue. Enter a description and hit “continue.” Next, enter the URL you consider a “conversion” (like a contact form, demo request, etc.), then hit save. You’ll now be able to track which content piece URL leads visitors to that ultimate “conversion.”
How effective a piece of content is can be somewhat subjective. However, measuring the overall impact of each content piece can help lead your future efforts and know which content pieces help with rankings, traffic, and ultimately conversions. Work with a small business marketing professional to help guide your content strategy efforts which should include measurement.