Determining the success of your content is about more than pageviews, visits, and conversions. Those are nice metrics — especially when they are on the rise — but there are some other key metrics that you need to be watching.
Google Analytics is full of data to the point of overwhelm. Here are a few of the metrics you can analyze to help eventually increase your visits, pageviews, and conversions.
Bounce rate is the percentage of times visitors hit a page on your site only to “bounce” off your site after landing on the page. A high bounce rate is an indicator of a page that isn’t performing well. If you have a page that people are hitting the back button on frequently, take time to review the page to find out why. Does the page take too long to load? Are there broken links? Is there something “off” about the design? You could compare your high bounce pages to your low bounce pages. What do the low bounce pages have that may be missing (or present) on the high bounce pages?
VISITORS & UNIQUE VISITORS
Visits represent the number of times your site is landed on by a visitor. A visitor, on the other hand, is an individual who is visiting your site. Here’s the definition from Google for all of you Google Analytics users out there:
Analytics measures both visits and visitors in your account. Visits represent the number of individual sessions initiated by all the visitors to your site. If a user is inactive on your site for 30 minutes or more, any future activity is attributed to a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes are counted as part of the original session.
The initial session by a user during any given date range is considered to be an additional visit and an additional visitor. Any future sessions from the same user during the selected time period are counted as additional visits, but not as additional visitors. (source: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1257084?hl=en#visits_vs_visitors)
Just like Visits, Visitors isn’t the most important metric; however, it does give you insight into the number of actual individuals you are reaching with your website.
PAGES PER VISIT
Seeing 5,000 Pageviews can make you feel good, but seeing that the average number of pages viewed per visit is a better indicator of the “stickiness” of your site. If your visitors are typically “One and Done,” are you happy with that? Taking the time to review pages/visit and the typical flow of traffic on your site can help you refine your content and prepare more that may be of interest to your visitors.
AVERAGE VISIT DURATION
Use the Average Visit Duration metric to help you understand how long people typically spend on your site. This in and of itself may not provide insight, but in combination with other metrics it can be enlightening. For example: if your Average Visit Duration is fairly low, but your online conversions are good/high — maybe having a low average visit duration is good for your particular site. You can optimize your other pages to make the user experience as seamless as your key page that typically leads to a conversion. If your Average Visit Duration is low and your conversions are, too, it’s time to look into tweaking your page or total site.
Click through rate (CTR)
A click-through-rate is a clear indicator of your content’s success. It’s measured by dividing the number of clicks by the number of views. Your CTR shows how many people viewed your content and converted by taking the desired action.
On a blog post this could be clicking your CTA or inline links, on a landing page it could be someone completing and submitting a form to download a piece of content or register for a webinar. Whatever it is that you want the viewer to click on and do.
In their simplest form, backlinks are when another website links to your content. Alanna talked all about backlinks in this article. Link building is a marketing tactic, but identifying the backlinks that you generated organically is another good way to analyze your content.
Moz offers a free account of their Link Explorer, their link building research tool that allows you 10 free queries per month. It’s a good place to start, and they also have paid options available if you’re looking for more.
Social Media Metrics
In addition to CTR, time on page, and bounce rate, social engagement and comments are a valuable indicator. How many people commented or liked your post? How many clicks did you get? These are all things to consider.
You’ll also want to review negative feedback on Facebook (see below). Taking a pigeon-holed view of positive feedback can be detrimental to your evaluation. If people are hiding your posts or doing any of the other actions counted as negative feedback, your reach will be affected. Identify the cause of the undesirable feedback and adjust accordingly.
After looking at the available information from the big five social media platforms, you may want to shine some light on dark social. What is dark social you ask? It’s all the sharing done through messages and email. The video about healing low back pain that you sent through FB messenger to your friend would be considered dark social. In 2016, RadiumOne reported that dark social makes up 84% of outbound sharing. It’s difficult to track, but it can be done.
Two ways to track dark social:
- Add Share Buttons to your website. This is pretty simple and can give you an idea of how often your content is being shared.
- Add UTMs to all of your links. It’s not foolproof and you won’t be able to capture everything, but you’ll have a much clearer picture of where your traffic is coming from. Here’s a free tool to create UTMs from Google Analytics.
There’s also a process that Social Media Examiner shared in this article How to Track Dark Social Traffic in Google Analytics. It may take some time, but you’ll get a better grasp of dark social shares.
What are your favorite metrics? Are you measuring offline traffic and sales against your online efforts?
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