3 Ways We Use Google Analytics to Improve Content Strategy
Google Analytics can be a rabbit hole of numbers – it is easy to get information overload and can be difficult to find actionable insights.
However, this rabbit hole is also a treasure trove of custom data that has been building and growing throughout the lifetime of your company website. When done right, Google Analytics can inform a future content strategy that will get rid of the noise, increase site visitors, and interest your viewers.
How To Find Actionable Insights in Google Analytics
Enter Google Analytics with a plan of action
Don’t storm enemy lines without weapons and a game plan. The best advice I have ever received for understanding the benefits of analytics is to have specific questions to answer before entering the platform. Take the steps to answer those questions so you don’t fall into the Google Analytics blackhole.
Make sure you use a relevant and consistent time range
It may seem a bit obvious, but even the most experienced marketers can forget to take this important step. To understand how a recent campaign has affected website traffic, look at monthly data compared to the previous period. For seasonal companies, or those trying to analyze the big picture, comparing this year’s overall data to the previous would yield the most relevant insights. Make sure to compare apples to apples – not apples to elephants.
Download our checklist of 30+ ways to promote content here.
Put on your ‘theme finding’ cap for the current blog strategy
While ‘correlation is not causation’ is very much relevant when analyzing Google Analytics data, keep tabs on any data anomalies found. If a specific topic yields an interesting reaction on multiple occasions, there is an actionable insight hidden in that pattern.
1: Find Your Content Strategy Winners and Losers
Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages
Questions to ask:
What are my top 5 best-performing blogs?
Look at how visitors engage with the blog. How much time they spent reading (time on page), what percentage of people immediately left the page without reading (bounce rate) and how many people finished a goal on that page (conversions) inform how valuable the content is to the audience.
*To analyze website conversions, goals need to be implemented in Google Analytics.
What are my 5 worst-performing blogs?
It is equally important to understand what content or blog topics flopped. This can be tackled in two ways – brainstorm ways to make those topics more intriguing to the target audience, or scrap that content and focus on the topics that drive engagement.
What content has continuous engagement?
Content with continuous engagement, or evergreen content, is a gift that keeps giving. For true evergreen content, it doesn’t matter if the content was written a few months ago or 8 years ago – it is still driving traffic to websites and adding value to website viewers.
Reviewing our data, one of the top-performing pages on the entire site is one of our blog posts. I could use this blog as a targeted social media ad campaign since I know that this topic grabs our audience’s eye. I could also brainstorm a blog series on this topic, to continue to offer fresh information on a topic my audience cares about.
2: Find Where Your Audience Is Engaging
Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium
Questions to ask:
What are my most successful channels?
Understanding how an audience reaches a site can be a great tool to inform the language and format of content. If a large portion of an audience reaches a site through ‘organic results’ with queries like “the ultimate guide on…” or “how to…” then keep creating long-form content. If audiences reach the site through social media and have a lower time on page, then a shorter “listicle” content strategy may be a better way to go.
What channels are not performing?
Like the lowest-performing content, we can look at this in two different ways. The glass half-full strategy is to dive into the low performing channel strategy and attempt to boost engagement. If a company has already attempted this for little to no results, it may be time to cut losses and refocus that time onto more successful channels.
Our Pinterest page drives the highest social media traffic but has low time on page metrics. This tells me individuals are initially interested in our brand, we lose their interest quickly. I would investigate my current Pinterest strategy to make sure that the content I offer on this platform aligns with our Pinterest audience’s interests.
3. Learn About Your Audience
Audiences -> Demographics -> Age, Audience -> Geo -> Location (switch from country to city)
Questions to Ask:
What age is my audience?
Understanding average age can give a great hint on the writing style relatable to your audience. It can also help with deciding on analogies, understanding what pop culture references to use, and the format that is the most compelling to the demographic.
Where is my audience?
Understanding the geographic location of an audience leads to interesting insights. For a local company, perhaps over 90% of the audience is found in the company’s city. There are opportunities to write about local charities, local partners, or any other current events affecting the community. This content will still be relevant to a majority of viewers. For a company that has less than 50% or 60% of their audience in their city, this type of content would probably fall flat.
Most of our audience is aged 18-34. I would use this information to shape the formatting and language of my content to align with the style of a younger demographic. Our audience can be found in every major city nationally and internationally, so I know to not focus on geo-specific content.
Google Analytics has the info needed to improve content strategy; it just may take a little time to sort through the noise and find the data gems. Go into the platform with questions and a plan and come out with action items and results.
Want some assistance digging through your data? Reach out to learn more about Dowitcher Designs.