The Beginner's Guide to Content Analytics

June 03, 2020

In today's digital age, up to 88%* of all interactions with a company is digital. The success of your business depends almost entirely on the strength of your digital content . And it’s not just your newsletter and your website copy. It’s all of the information that you and your company create and put online. Think of digital content as your “shop window” and the primary way the world sees and interacts with your business.

With all of the time and effort put into creating your digital content and the importance of it for your business, you should know how it’s resonating with your target market and impacting your business.

This three-step guide is a simple process for you to get the most out of your content and your content analytics system.

Step 1: Connect your content to your business

How do you know whether your company’s brand resonates with your target market? If your content isn’t read or your messaging falls flat, then it likely isn’t serving your business, your goals, or generating ROI. Start by asking yourself these questions.

What is the purpose of my content?

What people care about can vary widely within different departments in the same organization. Your marketing team and your technical support team might both create content but with very different audiences in mind. The marketing team may try to get people to sign up for a webinar that they can use to nurture leads. Meanwhile, the technical support team may use help docs to reduce time spent answering common customer questions.

Curious prospects, first-time buyers, and long-term customers are all integral to an organization’s success, though each is measured differently. When you know what the purpose of your content is and who it is targeting, then you can measure its impact accordingly.

How well does it serve that purpose?

After you have your content’s purpose defined and you are creating content, you then need an analytics system to make it easy to understand if the work you’re putting in is actually paying off.

Let’s say you want your target prospect or customer to take an action: fill out a product demonstration form, download a technical white paper, watch a “how to resolve this issue” video, or simply come back to your site again.

Content analytics makes it easy to figure out exactly which content is encouraging your target prospects or customers to take the next steps you want them to take. That means you have to look beyond content page views and bounce rates.

For example: what topics get people to visit and spend time on your website, product pages, help docs, or partner forum?

Parse.ly Average Engaged When looking at Tags (categorizations of your content), sort by average engaged time to see what topics people spend the most time on. Engagement time is the foundation for getting your audience to take action and interact with you. If measured incorrectly or not at all, you might be putting effort into content that may not matter.

Or how about which web pages, blog posts, white papers, or data sheets are better at converting signups for a webinar or sales inquiry?

Parse.ly Conversions Report By using a conversions report like this, you can see what content influenced your visitors to convert.

Measuring the impact and ROI of your content can be tough, but the right content analytics system should help you connect the dots between your messaging and your business. When you know what kind of messaging resonates, then you know how to get your target audience to take action.

Step 2: Optimize your content strategy

Now, it's time to put all that new information to work. Using data to inform your content strategy should encourage creativity and experimentation—and more importantly, repeatable success.

Need some inspiration? Here are some examples of how you can inform your content strategy:

  • Which of your marketing campaigns are getting more visitors to your website? Keep an eye on your campaign tracking data and spend your budget wisely.
  • What is it about your company’s brand that encourages loyalty? Compare your top content by new and returning visitors to figure out what content catches their attention, and what content keeps people coming back.
  • What impact does your company blog, newsletter, or email marketing have on your overall content success? Having an easy way to compare the impact of your different pieces of digital content, such as email campaigns, can help you see where your voice stands out in a crowded inbox.
  • Which social media platforms are better at increasing awareness and engagement, and which are better at driving traffic? Do a side-by-side comparison of social interactions and social referrals to find where your most engaged readers live online (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and optimize your distribution strategy.
  • How can you combat churn? Using customizable customer segments, find out what content matters most to your registered users or previous purchasers.
  • Are certain topics more engaging than others? Grouping topics by engaged time can help you see where target prospects and customers are deeply engaged, and consider creating content related to that topic more often.

Remember: Content ambitions and needs vary from company to company (and department to department!)​, so make sure that yours are specific to your organization​. You need a content analytics system that lets you see all of these metrics in one place so everyone can rally around one source of data, no matter their needs.

Step 3: Get clarity on engagement and impact

It’s time to clarify what impact content has on your business by going back to your purpose (Step 1) and your data-informed strategies (Step 2). You’re connecting the dots here between what you were doing, what you changed, and how that change has made an impact. Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself to quantify:

  • How many purchases were influenced by prospects reading a piece of content? Quantify customizable conversion events, and create a new goal.
  • How many visitors to your website read deep into your thought leadership pieces? Recalibrating success around how much time visitors spend with your content can bring to light the pieces that are good for your brand.
  • How many newsletter or blog readers actually drive revenue? Layer specific email campaigns with conversions to calculate the percentage of readers that translate into revenue.

The three steps in this guide outline a simple process you and your team should use: Parse.ly 3-Steps

Bonus:

A content analytics system like Parse.ly is more than sums and stats: it’s about making data accessible and meaningful for your entire company.

If you want your team to be more data-driven, stop recycling numbers; translate them into tangible success. ​

  • Avoid sending spreadsheets. Let’s be honest, no one is actually reading that Excel file you sent out with “important” data. Instead of sharing a data dump no one reads, share engaging, interactive dashboards and reports from Parse.ly that connect directly to your team's goals.
  • Help your team think about what metrics mean in terms of impact. What is obvious to you may not be obvious to others. Easy-to-access data can help them see success the way you see it. Using a content analytics system like Parse.ly helps your team tie content to impact clearly.

  1. Footnote Source: 2017 United States Ecommerce Country Report via PYMNTS.com

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