Metrics 101: What your analytics are really telling you

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So your latest Google Analytics report brought back a few home truths about your content strategy? Maybe you’re not seeing as much conversion as you’d like or perhaps the bounce rate is particularly high in key areas of your site. Well don’t panic yet, there is something you can do...

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Keep calm and consult metrics!

After all, that’s what they are there for. A content marketing strategy is an ongoing process which can take time to establish itself, and sometimes certain parts need a little tweaking in order to get them working as they should be. So if after three months you’re not where you think you should be, do not abandon all hope – your next steps and action points are likely to be right there in front of you.

What are your metrics telling you?

There are metrics for everything: all parts of your business process can just about be boiled down to a numerical unit and your content is no different.

The questions to ask are which metrics are key in relation to your business goals and what can you do to improve them?

Bounce rate and time spent per page

In terms of conversion, bounce rate is a good metric to start with. This measures the number of people that leave your site after viewing the first page – as opposed to continuing through to other areas on your website.

A high bounce rate can mean a number of things; perhaps your content is easy to digest and access by your audience. However, if they are taking in the content and then leaving with no sign of conversion, it could be the case that your content simply isn’t convincing the user that your product or service is the best option for them.

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Another useful metric to consult here is the average time spent per page. This will show you how long people are hanging around engaging with your content before leaving your website. If they are in fact spending a significant proportion of time reading before they leave then again you may have to refocus the topic of your content.

Alternatively, this could reflect your site’s usability or your call to actions. Maybe your goal is to increase the number of people signing up to a newsletter but you simply aren’t persuading the user to go through with it properly. This could indicate a problem with your action buttons (the icon a user clicks to go through with the process) or suggest that your content is slightly off topic.

These are all things you can access through your metrics with a view to fixing the solution and moving forwards.

Traffic

With traffic, it’s important to remember that you don’t just want hoards of people flooding to your site, only to click off immediately when they realise they are in the wrong place. Although quantity is an important part of this metric, quality is arguably just as crucial – if not more so!

You want the right people coming to your site in order to engage and hopefully take something away.

If the content you wish to drive the most traffic to is hosted on your site then you can measure it using Google Analytics. This will show you the number of people heading to your content and interacting with it.

If traffic is low or of poor quality, it’s likely you may see a high bounce rate; this could be an indicator that your SEO needs tinkering with or that you need to do work with your social media following.

Taking SEO as an example, are you using the right keywords? If users aren’t staying around to read what you have to say it could mean that your keyword strategy isn’t quite right and that you are bringing in the wrong kind of traffic.

Of course, there are plenty of metrics you can consult – too many to simply list! – in order to improve your content strategy. If you’d like to find out more about what certain data means, then get in touch with the people in the know!