What content pieces on my site are performing the best? What do we need to have on the site for visitors to come back? Why did this content go viral (and conversely, why didn’t this content go viral)? You’ve probably been on the giving or receiving end of these questions countless times.
Even as companies ramp up their content strategy and place increasing importance on what their prospects and customers engage with, content measurement and quality evaluations are often elementary, at best. Simple metrics like page views and average time on page provide a narrow and often incorrect look at how content is truly performing. Take your content measurement a step further with these additional analyses that will give your content plan the edge it needs.
- Content by Traffic Type: As with most website deep dives, a good starting point is to determine exactly how visitors are getting to your site and content. By adding that second dimension of traffic source (e.g. – direct, referral, organic), you can glean very valuable insights. Perhaps users that come from search are most likely to skip your whitepapers and dive right into a particular set of articles. Are there a lot of direct entrances to a few pages in particular that users might have bookmarked? Do visitors that come from paid search always exit your site once they get to a certain point? By cross-tabbing content pieces with entrances/exits by source, you can identify the real consumers of your content and optimize accordingly.
- Social Sharing: With a few pieces of additional code on your website, custom events can be implemented to measure social sharing, adding important context to your understanding of content consumption. Overall, it’s critical to see what pieces of content are being shared the most and the least. Taken a step further, including the channel can really knock your content sharing analysis out of the park. If you are able to identify trends in content that does well on Twitter versus the types of articles frequently circulated via email, you can use these social sharing analytics to find the magic formula needed to make your content go viral.
- Scroll Depth & Time on Screen: Although it’s been blogged about on numerous occasions, the average amount of time spent on a page is often one of the most misleading engagement key performance indicators out there. Simply put, web analytic platforms only know how long you’ve been on a page if you go to an additional page afterward. Therefore, the last page of your visit is excluded from this calculation. If you only visit one page, your whole session is excluded. To make up for this deficiency, there are many plug-ins that help accurately measure engagement on particular pages. Popular tools measure scroll depth (how far a user goes down on an article) and how many seconds a user stays on certain portions of the page. An article with a million views is virtually worthless if users only spend 10 seconds reading the first paragraph and then leave the page.
- Views After Upload Date: Ever wonder how long a piece of site content stays relevant? By analyzing the views after upload, you can truly see the effective ‘long-tail’ of your content. For example, let’s say you post 10 articles a month. First, check to see how many views the 10 articles posted six months ago received. Then, compare the six-month results to the number of views those same 10 articles received three months ago. Finally, see how they performed last month as well. Try it for as many months as you’d like, and you’ll likely see a pretty big drop off from one particular month to another. This will indicate how long articles stay relevant on your site. If you want to give stale content a boost, try refreshing SEO keywords or injecting some fresh facts into an old topic after you’ve determined the fall-off point.
- Conversion Pathing: Ultimately, your content should accomplish a goal, whether it is driving traffic to a lead generation form or user registrations for your community. One of the most important insights that you should gather from content analyses is which path best assists goal conversion. Most analytics platforms provide some kind of funnel analysis or page flow that ends with an ultimate goal page. You could also simplify this by merely looking at the previous page before each of your main goal pages. This will not only help to identify successful content, but could also point out any potential bottlenecks and pages where high abandonment is happening.
Here’s hoping that these key findings enhance your content measurement process and help optimize and refine your strategy going forward. Did I miss any? Let me know below!