Get the Whole Picture: Putting Analytics First

June 14, 2015 by Lisa Chung

Your business tracks metrics like traffic, shares, pageviews, bounce rates and time spent on your website, but how can you translate this into who your audience really is and what they truly care about? While focusing on identifying your audience may not help you reach millions, it will, in turn, allow you to reach the right customers.

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Ask yourself:

  • Where is your traffic coming from?
  • How does your customer talk about your brand?
  • What are their interests?
  • How do they interact with your content?

Keep an eye on a user’s content journey and understand what types of content engages your customers.

Once you understand your audience, it is easier to optimize your paid, owned and earned media campaigns — reaching the right audience at the right time and right place. The key goal of content marketing is to connect with individuals – not just a demographic. With the increasing number of communication tools in the marketplace, there is no excuse for marketers not to connect with their target audience at any given time.

Interacting with your audience in a real way is the road to earning their trust. These meaningful touch points with with your brand solidify customer’s loyalty to your business, not your competitors. And the only way to spark this connection is to really understand who they are as people and what they want — before even creating any type of content.

Once you understand your audience, it becomes easier to generate new ideas and concepts geared toward their wants and needs. Tailoring content specifically for the audience will increase overall engagement as well as maintaining it long term, meaning they will continue to return to your site for useful, helpful information again and again.

As your business grows, your audience will continue to evolve, so tracking these analytics will be essential in sustaining your content marketing cycle.

I have the analytics. Now what?

Among many data points, two of the most meaningful statistics for brands to look at are the traffic sources and bounce rate. Here’s why:

Traffic comes from so many places — if you see that one website has become a key traffic generator, for example, creating a content partnership that speaks to that audience, it may be a great content distribution strategy to consider. If Google is the main traffic source, taking a look at the search terms used to direct readers to your site can inform adword buys and other keywords or terms to invest in for the brand.

Bounce rates tell you where the visitor was when they left the site. What page were they last on before departing your site? See if there is a consistent place where visitors drop off — it may help inform you that the page needs some redesigning or new content to keep them engaged. Look for patterns of behavior and consistency of results. This tells you where you need to focus first.

Data points are good for reporting on your past moves, but a deeper look at the data will show you what your next move should be. Numbers still need humans and critical thinking to interpret them for better brand results. They are only guideposts, but the power of these guideposts lie in the fact that they measure real-time engagements. This allows brands to pivot quickly if the results are not meeting expectations. Make sure the humans behind the campaigns understand the numbers and that they use them as pivot points to optimize your results.

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