3 Ways to Unlock Content Insights Using Google Analytics

This guest post comes from Kevin Kailath, a marketer we admire and our recent partner at Vantage PR, which is now PAN Communications. We worked with Kevin in 2015 to revamp the Vantage PR website. Keep reading for Kevin’s tips for using Google Analytics like a pro.

What do all awesome content marketers have in common?

They share an extreme level of empathy for the audience they write for, and you absolutely should too. If you’ve never had a face-to-face chat with the people you write for, close this blog post and go make that your top priority. Why? Because your content isn’t about your needs. It’s about your audience.

If you’ve already taken this step, get ready to expand on your knowledge using analytics. Here are three techniques for uncovering actionable content insights using Google Analytics:

  1. Use a custom segment to see what content your customers love. The majority of the traffic that comes to your website is not from your target audience. Your general traffic mix probably includes job seekers, bots and accidental visitors. Before you inspect what content attracts the most engagement, you’ll need to isolate your high-quality traffic (your potential customers).

One way to do this: Create a custom segment that only includes users who exhibit customer-like behaviors. Those behaviors might include visits to specific pages and/or goal completions like submitting a contact form. Apply this segment to your view and take a look at the “All Pages” report and “Behavior Flow” reports.

Analyze and brainstorm:

  • What content is receiving the most attention? Why do you think that is? Should you create more content like it?
  • What is the most common path users are taking to arrive at this content? Are there gaps in this journey that you can fill with new content?
  1. Study the top queries bringing users to your website. If you aren’t familiar with Google Webmaster Tools, get ready for an awesome surprise. This free tool offers you serious transparency into the Google search terms people use to get to your website. It can also be connected with your Google Analytics account so you can manage all your web data in one place.

If you have access to this data, run a Google Analytics Search Queries report for the last 90 days.

Analyze and brainstorm:  

  • What queries have gotten the highest impressions and click-through rates? Are there related terms you could be targeting as you create more content?
  • What landing pages are tied to the clickthroughs you’re seeing? What can you do to further optimize these pages for results?
  1. Use downloadable content that helps identify top interests. If you don’t already have longform content available for download on your website, the prospect of creating it may be daunting. But instead of deliberating until you have the perfect e-book, start with something smaller like a tip sheet or article. By having this content on your website, you’ll learn a lot about who (if anyone) is willing to download it. If you set up goals to track content views or downloads, you can use a custom segment to track the behavior of this audience in Google Analytics.

If a piece of content gets zero downloads, before you write it off as useless, test it in different locations on the website or with different landing page variations. Tools like SumoMe can really help with this process.

Bonus: Do you have text or image-based CTAs across your website and the ability to set up event tracking? Consider setting up events and related goals that trigger when users click on these CTAs. Once this tracking is in place, you can use the Top Events or Goals Overview report to view which CTAs are generating more interest than others.

Analyze & Brainstorm:  

  • What content is your audience downloading? Can you create related offers (for example, a series or version of the content for advanced users)?
  • If you use tools like SumoMe or Event Tracking: which CTAs are generating the highest click-through to conversion rates? What do you think is making them more successful?

Whether you’re using content to attract early stage prospects, woo leads further into the pipeline or remind existing customers why they chose you, these techniques can help out.

Give your content program the data-informed boost it needs.

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