If many people view life’s value in relation to its impact on others, what if you viewed the content your company creates in the same way?
How does your content actually impact your end users, and what value does it provide to their decision making process? How can you best answer this question, and what tracking do you need? Let’s find out in this post.
Why do we measure content?
Your content is only as important as how much value it drives for users. If your content doesn’t drive value, then why is it being made? If your content isn’t driving value, you need to be able to take steps to ensure it does in the future. But first, you need to escape the content bare minimum.
Escaping the content bare minimum
Many users are fine looking at content produced by vanity metrics. Pageviews. Time on page. Average page depth. The truth is, if you do content analysis based on vanity metrics, you get vanity insights. We need to step beyond the simple metrics to truly gain insight, and that ideally involves new custom tracking to truly measure the impact that your content makes.
Level 1: Understand what’s worthwhile
Traffic is only important in the actions and value that it drives. If you have a piece of content with 100K sessions, what good is that content if 95% of users leave after viewing, and no one takes any actions on your site? What if no one returns to your site later after viewing this content? You should aim for content to make long-lasting user level impact, not fleeting session success.
Engagement and conversion are a better focus, but this needs to be closely defined. What qualifies as an engaged user might be different for your content then some of your typical site pages, and the same applies for conversions. Every piece of content should have a clear goal and objective for the impact and value it can have, and engagement and conversion targets will follow.
Level 2: Let’s level up content tracking
Seer recommends setting up the below items for all relevant content that should be tracked for further analysis. These are:
- Content author: Who wrote the post
- Publication date: When was the post published
- Content tags: What overall content topics do this post tie back to
- Content section: What content section of the site does this apply to
- Scroll tracking: How are users pacing through the site, ideally broken out by site elements
These areas can help to answer questions such as:
- How does content consumption differ by author?
- Do users consume certain evergreen content or are they drawn to newer posts?
- Do certain content sections generate more engagement than others?
- What percentage of users actually read the full content post itself?
These areas can all be simply tracked using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics by leveraging custom event tracking and custom dimensions to grab these on-page elements.
These are the questions you should be asking about your content—not “how much traffic does this content get?”
Level 3: Content customization central
Other areas that you should track for your content might be custom just to your area. Questions to ask:
- Are there any specific calls to action on our content areas? Are user prompted to sign up for a newsletter?
- Do we have additional features in the content that users can interact with (top navigation, side navigation, etc.)?
- Is this long-form or short-form content? Do we want users to read this quickly and absorb this information or should this take longer?
Tracking your content in a custom manner targeted towards your site’s exact specifications and your users’ specific actions makes this incredibly powerful, and that in turn can drive powerful insights.
Level 4: Marrying the qualitative and quantitative
All of this custom tracking is great, but what if we could add additional context to bring qualitative insights and quantitative insights together? This can be done in two primary ways:
- Install a UX tool such as Hotjar or CrazyEgg to gain additional insights for users actions
- Develop a strategy to leverage the data layer to store custom content information
Let’s expand on that second step a bit. Let’s say that you create content based on specific themes. This in turn could tie back to the emotions that users may be feeling when reading your posts.
What if instead of a blank slate for this post, you could pass through information to say that the theme of this content is analytics, tracking, and content analysis? What if you could add that the emotion is urgent? And what if you could analyze this later to see what impact content analysis posts or urgent posts had on your users actions?
Are users that consume these content types more or less likely to be engaged or convert?
These are all things you can and should be tracking. What are the content themes and emotional tones that you use when you create your content?
Level 5: Tying it all together
So, you’ve moved past looking at vanity metrics, implemented basic content tracking, customized it to your site, and started to bring together qualitative and quantitative date for your content. What now? What value does this bring to you?
Now, based on this new tracking, you can answer important questions for your content and provide actual value in the analysis you can do. See that users are scrolling the most through your educational posts? Make more of them! Notice users convert to sign-up for your newsletter through a specific author’s posts? Add more CTAs in theirs to leverage the high rate of conversion.
What are the first things that you want to do to take your content measurement to the next level? What value can you now drive with this direction?