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Measuring the Marketing Performance of Different Content Types

Published September 24, 2014
Your business’s website exists to sell products or services to potential customers, and it does so in a variety of ways. From informational pages to videos to technical documents to your company blog, these different content types are all working to push visitors to convert. But what content types are doing the best job? How do you know?

showcasing organic traffic with megalytic

 

All Content Contributes to Sales

If you run an ecommerce site, you may naturally think of your product pages as the revenue-generating portion of your site. However, the content marketing revolution has helped us see that every piece of content on your site contributes to sales. A customer may initially read about your product through a blog post before deciding to come back later to buy. They may download a whitepaper or read a series of customer testimonials before gaining the confidence to convert. We want to look at performance of all content types across your site to determine how well each piece contributes to engaging and, ultimately, converting visitors into customers.

Where do you begin?

Start by realizing that a number of metrics tie together to show how effective various content pieces are for your business. Numbers of visits aren’t everything, since a lot of people could be landing on a particular page but just bouncing off. You want to look at how long users stay on pages and how far they go within your site, as well as how many users ultimately convert into customers. Let’s look at how to measure the performance of some popular types of content.

Measuring Blog Posts

A consistent blog posting strategy drives search rankings and ultimately traffic to your site that may not come through other forms of content (like a whitepaper or more technical content). However, running a blog successfully requires careful review of performance to inform decisions for future topics. You should segment blog topics by theme to determine what types of posts work best in holding users’ attention as well as driving conversions.

Bounce rate indicates how many people are leaving your site immediately after landing. To identify the posts with the least likelihood of users bouncing, we go to the Behavior > Site Overview > Pages report. Then, we enter “blog” into the search bar to filter to just blog posts (as long as your site uses /blog/ in blog post URLs, you can filter this way).

Next, we click the header of the Bounce Rate column to sort the column by bounce rate, lowest to highest. Finally, we select “Weighted” under the “Sort Type” dropdown to ensure that we see statistically significant results.

 

measuring blog bounce rate in google analytics

 

In this screenshot, we see five of our best performing blog posts by engagement. We can then take the time to look through the content of these posts to see what themes most engaged readers.

Of course, we can also sort by the reverse of this example, looking at the highest bounce rates to see the worst-performing posts. In addition, we can sort by average time on page to get additional insight into engagement. Take time to look at multiple metrics before making firm decisions about how well each page performed. Also, note that setting up some additional code in your site will allow you to more accurately track content engagement.

Measuring Pages with Videos

Many businesses are giving videos central placement on their sites, whether showcasing a brand, describing the benefits of a product, or introducing visitors to a new CEO. Video offers a powerful medium to communicate branding messages. However, when implementing video, you want to be sure that people are engaging with it, and you want to measure how video is impacting decisions to look further at your website.

When measuring video, you want to look at three things:

  1. You want to be sure people are actually playing your video.
  2. You want to know how much of the video they’re watching.
  3. You want to know how far they go into your site after watching the video.

If you’ve embedded a video on your site from YouTube, you can add some extra code to your site to track video views and engagement. Depending on other video embedding options you’ve used, a number of solutions exist for tracking videos in your site.

Whatever your setup to track videos, use the data to inform decisions on where you place the video on your site as well as what future video content you should plan. You may find most people are only watching one minute into a five-minute video and decide to test a shorter video.

Measuring Product Pages

Product pages can exist in a variety of forms, from brief bullet points with a single image to long-form content with parallax scrolling. While the strategy may differ based on the products, these pages ultimately exist to convince a user to buy.

When reviewing the performance of product pages, you can look at similar engagement statistics as outlined in the blog section

 

measuring the performance of product pages

 

In this example, we’ve sorted by Page Value to show the average revenue attributed to each page. We can use this data, compared with the actual value of each product, to determine how various product descriptions, images, and general presentation contribute to purchases on the site.

Megalytic Measurements

Using Megalytic, you can present engagement and conversion data for content across your site. First, the “Engagement by Landing Page” widget shows the content entry points on your site that drove the best engagement. You can then determine if blog posts, video, product pages, or other content ultimately contribute to people going further into your site.

By default, this widget shows average session duration and pages/session for each landing page, although you can customize the metrics.

 

measuring engagement with megalytic

 

When looking at the top pages, pull out popular categories from the information you see. In this example, we can see the main “recipes” page, as well as two blog posts related to recipes, showing among the landing pages with top average times. From this data, we can infer that recipes rank among the more popular content from this site.

Next, let’s look at the top converting landing pages on the site. The “Conversion by Landing Page” widget shows goal completions and conversion rates by landing page.

 

megalytic report on landing page conversion

 

Interestingly, while we see a couple of overlapping pages from the Engagement report, we note that the top converting landing pages don’t necessarily correlate with the top engaged ones. First, be aware that different pieces of content serve to contribute to different points in a marketing funnel. A person may come to the site and find recipes to use but not be ready to immediately buy a recipe book. That purchase may take place later.

Second, observe the statistics for content across the site to decide how to improve upon your return from content. Perhaps you could improve conversion on the popular recipe posts by promoting an offer on a recipe book once a user has read through a recipe.

Conclusion

Analyzing effectiveness of content types involves looking at performance for specific pages of your site and then examining those pages to see what type of content worked and didn’t work. In addition to showing the value of past efforts, data on content performance should help drive future decisions as to what types of content to use on the site and where.

ALSO IN THIS BLOG

When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:

 

 

It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.

 

Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.