A big component of successful marketing in 2016 is having a good content strategy in place. Content strategy is the key to acquiring free users through organic search engine rankings, which is a crucial element of keeping acquisition costs down. We would all enjoy a scenario where we avoid using our checkbooks to acquire users by focusing only on driving organic channel traffic, but in reality it is not as easy as it sounds. As search engine technology has evolved into a generation filled with machine learning search algorithms it has become increasingly difficult to rank organically without publishing content that demonstrates value and authority on a specific topic.
The days are gone where content strategies with keyword stuffing tactics would drive pages to the top of search results and in its place are sophisticated algorithms that analyze content with human-like ability and reward the top rankings based on quality and relevance to specific subject matter. The signals of quality and relevance typically come in the form of long, well researched content, but to truly understand what is and is not working, monitoring and understanding engagement data is required.
Engagement data can be reported on in a variety of ways depending on your contents business objectives, but to give you a good starting point to building your own reports I decided to share a few of the metrics/dimensions that I consider when I analyze my content. Some of these data points should already be offered by your analytics platform, while others require on page or platform-specific technical setup. In future posts I plan on providing guides to tackle some of these technical setups mentioned, so make sure that you sign up for my newsletter to be alerted when these guides are available!
Do you have questions about some of the metrics/dimensions that mentioned below? Mention me on twitter, @connor_phillips or send me a DM and I will gladly help!
Pageviews - views of an individual webpage
Why is this important? The pageview metric is the best measurement for quickly understanding the volume of traffic to an individual page.
Unique Pageviews - unique views of an individual webpage
Why is this important? Unique pageviews represents the volume of individual users to a specific page. This metric strips out any instances where a user views an individual page more than once.
% New Users - Percentage of sessions that were from first time users to the website
Why is this important? This metric provides you with an understanding of how many sessions contain users that have never been cookied before and helps with determining the type of audience that is visiting the website. (% New Users should only be considered when looking at landing pages)
Bounce Rate - Percentage of sessions that only a single page before leaving the website
Why is this important? Bounce rate gives you an understanding of user behavior once they enter through an individual page and answers the question of how many users decide to check out additional content after entering.
Exit Rate - Percentage of sessions that exit a website from a particular page after viewing more than one page
Why is this important? Exit rate helps to determine if an individual page is driving users to leave a website. If data shows that a specific page is single handedly driving users from your website then this should be seen as a red flag and should be adjusted or removed.
Avg. Time on Page - Average amount of time users spent on an individual webpage
Why is this important? Based on the length of the content and/or content type, you should have a rough estimate of the amount of time it should take a user to consume it all. With avg. time on page, you are able to get a rough gauge of performance against your expectations.
Goal Completions (Requires Setup) - Amount of completed tasks that relate to a specific action take on a page
Why is this important? Goal Completions are or at least should be related to your business’ key performance indicators (KPI’s). By using the metric in this manner, you should be able to understand what content is helping to grow the business.
Social Shares (Requires Setup) - Amount of shares on social media websites
Why is this important? Social sharing is another type of organic acquisition that contains an additional element of virality, which could exponentially drive traffic to a website if shared by the right influencers. This metric is another indication of content quality as those who appreciate the content are more likely to share it with friends.
% Scrolled (Requires Setup) - Percentage of a webpage viewed in quarter increments
Why is this important? In some instances, Avg. Time on Page does not provide us with enough information on how much of the content was consumed. % scrolled provides us with that depth by breaking content into quarters and then measuring the amount of users who reach each quarter. This metric helps to show the amount of users who reach the end of the content versus those who only make it partially through.
Page - URL of an individual page
Why is this important? I hope this is self-explanatory :)
Word Count (Requires Setup) - Number of words within the body of content
Why is this important? This is a helpful way to group and analyze audience engagement based on the length of the content. Please note that there are a wide variety of additional factors that could potentially influence engagement, so try not to scrutinize content based on this type of cohort alone.
Category (Requires Setup) - Grouping of content based on a common theme (e.x. Food, Health, Fitness)
Why is this important? Grouping content based on content categories helps with better understanding the topics that relate to your website's audience the most. This helps when finding direction for new content and increases the likelihood that the new content will have success.
Content Type (Requires Setup) - Grouping of content based on the type of content (e.x. Long Form, Short Form, Infographic)
Why is this important? This metric is extremely helpful in determining the best vehicle (rich media or traditional) to use to deliver your message to your audience
Estimated Reading Time (Requires Setup) - Amount of time it should take the average reader to read the content
Why is this important? Similar reasons as using % Scrolled. This metric is best used when it is compared with avg. time on page as it helps to determine if your content aligns with standardized reading calculations.