7 Ways Google Analytics can Measure the Results of your Content

There are many reasons for wanting to invest in content. It’s shareable on social media, it’ll boost your rankings in Google’s search results and will hopefully establish your organisation as an authority within your industry. All of these are major assets in reaching your target audience. So if you’re going to put time and effort into creating content, it’s essential to make sure your audience likes it and as a result, it’s adding value to your business. Using the mantra “measure, analyse, improve, repeat,” you can make sure you’re continually making your website and content better. We’ve put together a couple of our fave tips/tricks to measure your actions and results and consequently, gain valuable insights into content marketing. You don’t have to be a super techy person to make the most out of it, but we’ve put together a Content Measurement Checklist that will come in handy as you sail through the content marketing sea (and grab our glossary of Google Analytics terminology). You can also print it out and stick it to your wall as a reference point here:

1. Goals from Content Marketing

First things first, setting up goals. This is essential to ensuring you’re measuring your website’s objectives. It doesn’t take long and you’ll know where people are engaging with and converting on your site. If you haven’t set up any goals or only have a few, we highly recommend taking the time to make sure you have them configured correctly. There are many different types of goals and what you configure will depend on your business objectives. For example, if you’re a clothing site, a goal would be making a purchase; if you’re a gym, a goal would be signing up for membership or if you’re a publishing site, a goal would be scroll depth. To get your imagination rolling, here are a couple of things you can measure:

  • Filling out a ‘contact us’ form
  • Subscribing to your Enews
  • Product purchases
  • Clicking on a social icon

To start tracking all these glorious things,

  1. Head over to the ‘Admin’ tab in your Google Analytics account
  2. Select the correct view
  3. Click ‘+ New Goals’
  4. Either select a goal template or click custom to create a bespoke goal
  5. Make sure you name your goal meaningfully and select which of the 20 numbered goals you would like it to be

For more info, check out our blog about setting up goals in Google Analytics

2. Traffic Source

Although this blog will go into the different attributes and ways of measuring the success of your content marketing on different channels, traffic source is a logical place to start. Looking at where your website traffic comes from on the Google Analytics traffic source overview section will give you a good indication of your more popular channels. If you’re only just embarking or ramping up your content marketing, we suggest setting benchmarks. For example, you want your organic or social traffic to grow by 5% and you want new users to grow by 10%.

3. Sessions via social referral

Content marketing and social media go hand in hand because after you write and publish an article or blog, you want to be posting about it on any channels. In terms of Google Analytics, you can find a top level overview of this by looking in the social analytics report (Acquisition > Social > Overview).

So, what insights can you gain from this particular report?

  1. Your ‘best’ performing social channel i.e. the one that sends the most sessions and conversions. If you’re measuring success via the highest conversion rate, it’s important to consider the goals you have set up for social. Social media often performs differently to other traffic types, so it’s important to set realistic goals, for example, clicking a social media share button or filling out an ‘email updates’ form for your blog.
  2. Your best performing blog on your social channel. This one also has a couple of variables and you may need to dig a little deeper because often blogs that go well on one channel don’t go as well on others. For example, a blog on social media best practices may perform better on Facebook or Twitter whereas, a blog about careers may do a lot better on LinkedIn – but you may get a higher level of conversions from LinkedIn.

4. Campaign Tagging

Campaign tagging is your not-so-secret weapon to making sure you’re accurately tracking your content marketing campaigns into Google Analytics. You configure your campaign tagging so you can keep track of how users are discovering your website. If you set it up correctly, you should be able to see:

  • If users are coming through from either paid or organic social media (as opposed to simply a social channel e.g. LinkedIn or Facebook)
  • If users clicked on any of your EDM links

Here’s Google’s own URL builder, so you can add custom campaign parameters for any of your paid or organic content advertising.

5. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a metric within Google Analytics that’s calculated by the percentage of visits with only one interaction. Despite bounce rate being a popular obsession amongst marketers, it often isn’t much of an indication about whether your content is working or not (at first glance). This is because if you have a high bounce rate, it could be because:

  1. People are reading your content, finding what they need and then leaving
  2. People are reading your content, there’s nothing else that interests them (i.e. they aren’t clicking on any of your other content) and so they are then leaving
  3. People don’t like your content and don’t want to stay on your page any longer.

Therefore, in order to understand bounce rate, you need to have a firm understanding of the context of your content. If you’re simply making the judgement that a high bounce rate equals low interest and low quality, you may be missing valuable insights. Here are a couple of tips for when you’re measuring bounce rate:

  • Don’t measure averages – if you only looked at averages, Switzerland would be flat.
  • Always look at context – consider page elements, such as having an ecommerce CTA versus only wanting people to read your blog.
  • Benchmark individual page or section bounce rate – If your business is growing (hopefully as a result of your content marketing), it’s good to have an indication of historical reports.

6. Internal Site Search

One of the best ways of getting an insight into what your audience wants to see from your business is to look at your internal site search data within Google Analytics. This will show you the words and phrases that people want to know about your business and expect to see from you. It’s also a good way to see if your information architecture is optimal. For example, if a lot of people are doing an internal site search regarding a particular topic, you might benefit from putting a CTA about it on your homepage.

To tap in on these insights, you can set them up by using a query parameter, a filter, implementation or by using Google Tag Manager.

7. Behaviour Reports and Content Groupings

In Google Analytics, go to Behaviour Reports > Site Content > All Pages and you’ll be able to see a long list of individual pages people have viewed. This is great to show you the most popular pages on your website. If you want to see what topics or categories people are the most interested into gather ideas for generating more content, you can also look at Content Groupings.

Content Groupings give you a clean, organised, top-level overview of what categories are doing well by doing what the name suggests: grouping content together. You can define what topics you want to be grouped together using ‘rules’, which create logic using things like URLs, page titles, or page content. You’ll then be able to do awesome things like

  • See the results of your best performing content topics
  • See posts organised by topics
  • Segment your data easily
  • Apply Content Groupings to the flow reports
  • Create Custom Reports using Content Groupings

To set it up, check out this blog.

If you want to learn more, you should check out Loves Data’s Google Analytics training – you can learn online or in person. All our courses will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the tool’s user interface, capabilities and ways to improve your business’s digital marketing campaigns.