If you're a content creator, chances are you've heard of "content analytics" before.
But what are content analytics, exactly? And how can content analytics tools help your business?
In this post, we'll answer those questions and more. We'll define content analytics and explore its benefits. Plus, we'll share some of the best tools for tracking your content's performance.
Let's get started.
What is content analytics?
Content analytics is the measurement and analysis of how visitors engage with published content, such as articles and podcasts.
It includes metrics like:
- social interactions
- acquisition sources
This data helps organizations optimize their content strategy, understand what content resonates with their audience, and identify content opportunities to improve sales and engagement.
Content analytics tracks the trails left behind by people and machines as content is delivered, discovered, and consumed, and encompasses a wide variety of metrics such as sentiment and perceptions.
How to use content analytics data to improve your content
- Choose the metrics that matter to your business
- Identify the most important analytics and include them in your monthly reporting
- Develop a system for tracking that works best for your business
- Hold your content marketing team accountable to driving business objectives and tracking the numbers over a long period of time
- Set production goals and keep track of your content production stats to create enough content to fuel your marketing strategy
- Keep track of author output to see the number of content pieces produced by each author
- Track content by type, such as blog posts, webinars, ebooks, white papers, YouTube videos, etc.
- Keep track of content by persona to see how many content pieces are targeted at each of your customer personas
- Keep track of content by category to see how many content pieces are in each category in your business.
How are content analytics and web analytics different?
While web analytics focus solely on website performance, content analytics often provide a more comprehensive view of the entire content experience, including web analytics along with mobile app analytics, podcast analytics, social analytics, and other measures.
Content analytics tools are focused on metrics that are more relevant to effective content strategy decision-making, and model and display data in ways that are more relevant and useful to content managers than out-of-the-box Google Analytics.
Web analytics metrics typically include metrics like:
- bounce rate
- click-through rate
While content analytics metrics include:
- engaged time
- social interactions
- acquisition sources
Many content analytics metrics are present in generalist web analytics packages, but may not be measured, structured, or presented in ways that are as actionable as a good content analytics platform.
By utilizing both web and content analytics, businesses can gain actionable insights to optimize content and workflows, enhance storytelling, and improve business outcomes. For example, web analytics can help identify which pages are driving the most traffic, while content analytics can provide insights into how users are engaging with specific pieces of content and what type of content is resonating with the audience.
Ultimately, a comprehensive understanding of website performance requires both.
What are the benefits of content analytics?
Content analytics provides publishers with valuable insights to make data-driven decisions, improve content performance, and optimize customer engagement. By tracking the impact of content on sales and deal progression, businesses can identify high-performing content and avoid wasting valuable resources on content that doesn't bring results.
Content analytics tools also help publishers understand audience behavior and preferences, enabling them to tailor content to specific audiences for better engagement. Additionally, they help content creators improve search engine optimization (SEO) by analyzing keyword performance and identifying opportunities to optimize content for search engines.
With content analytics, businesses can create and optimize their content strategy, enhance storytelling, and ultimately improve business outcomes. It enables businesses to make informed decisions about what to write or talk about, personalize content for specific audiences, and experiment with optimizations to improve performance.
Important content analytics metrics to track
When analyzing website content, content analysts should track several key categories of metrics to understand the effectiveness of their content. These metrics types include:
- consumption metrics
- retention metrics
- sharing metrics
- lead metrics
- sales metrics
Consumption metrics, such as unique visitors, page views, and time on page, help measure how much of your content is being consumed. Retention metrics, like bounce rate and social media follower counts, help measure how engaged your audience is.
Sharing metrics, like website shares and social shares, help measure the impact of your content on social media.
Lead metrics help attribute leads to specific content or campaigns, and sales metrics help measure the revenue generated by your content.
Tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs can be used to track these metrics and gain insights into the performance of your content.
By tracking these metrics, content analysts can better understand the value their content delivers, hone in on the elements that resonate with their customers, and achieve their business objectives in the most effective way.
1. Engaged Time on Page
Engaged time on page is a content analytics metric that measures the amount of time a user spends actively engaging with a specific piece of content. This metric is beneficial because it provides insights into the level of interest and attention that a user has towards the content. It can also help to identify which content is most effective in holding the attention of the audience.
Tools like Google Analytics can be used to measure time on page, but modern browser usage involves managing profilerating tabs that can be left open for minutes to days without any engagement. Tools like Parse.ly measure engaged time on page, which is the amount of time the user actually spends engaging with your content.
When interpreting the data, it is important to consider the context of the content. For example, a longer engaged time on page for an article may indicate that users found the content valuable, while a shorter engaged time on a product page may suggest that users are not finding what they are looking for.
Overall, tracking engaged time on page can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of content and can help to inform future content strategies.
2. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page. It is an important metric to track in content analytics because it indicates whether visitors are finding the information they need on your website.
A high bounce rate can negatively impact a website's performance because it suggests that visitors are not engaged with the content and are not likely to return. Strategies for reducing bounce rate include:
- aligning content with the targeted keyword cluster's search intent
- improving design and user experience
- providing relevant and engaging content
- optimizing page load time
- targeting the right audience through effective marketing campaigns
3. Traffic Sources
Content analytics can track traffic sources — data that can naturally provide valuable insights for improving content strategy. These sources include organic search, social media, referral traffic, direct traffic, and email campaigns.
- Organic search shows how many visitors found the content through search engine results.
- Social media tracks engagement on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.
- Referral traffic indicates which websites are driving traffic to your content.
- Direct traffic measures the number of visitors who typed your website URL directly into their browser.
- Email campaign tracking provides information on the effectiveness of email marketing efforts.
Tracking these sources helps publishers optimize their content for the channels that are driving the most traffic, as well as uncover promising growth sources that can be capitalized upon.
4. Conversions & Revenue Attribution
Conversions and revenue attribution are crucial content analytics metrics to track as they provide insights into the effectiveness of a business's content marketing efforts. By tracking conversions, businesses can determine which pieces of content are most successful at driving leads down the sales funnel.
Additionally, revenue attribution allows publishers to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of each piece of content, enabling them to make data-driven decisions about where to allocate resources.
For example, if a particular blog post consistently generates high conversions and revenue, a business may choose to invest more in optimizing the quality of the existing content to drive higher engagement and traffic, promoting that post, or creating similar content.
In the past, it was challenging to accurately track revenue attribution driven by the work of content teams. This made it harder for content teams to justify the massive advantage they bring to their businesses, and it's not hard to find content professionals who sweat at the mere thought of being held accountable on this type of metric to this day. But we now have the ability to accurately determine how much each piece of content is making for you, and it's not something to shy away from.
Revenue attribution is at the heart of every great content strategy.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Metrics
When it comes to analyzing website content, there are several key SEO metrics that content analysts should track.
- Links are one of Google's top three ranking factors, and high-quality, relevant links are earned as a result of creating unique and valuable content. Analysts should track the quality and quantity of links using tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush Backlink Audit/Analytics, Majestic, and Moz's Link Explorer.
- The second metric is organic traffic, which measures the number of users who visit a website through organic search results. This metric is important for measuring the effectiveness of a website's content in driving traffic. Analysts can track organic traffic using tools like Google Analytics.
- The third metric is time on page, which measures how long a user spends on a webpage. This metric is important for measuring user engagement and the effectiveness of a website's content in keeping users engaged. Analysts can track time on page using Google Analytics.
By tracking these metrics, content analysts can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their content marketing efforts.
What features should a good content analytics platform have?
A good content analytics platform should provide businesses with detailed insights into their audience's interactions with published content. A content analytics tool should offer sophisticated and complex analytics that can help businesses make good decisions about content, from strategy to individual tactics.
It should allow businesses to track their content's performance by measuring its effectiveness at achieving set goals and provide visibility to steer future content strategy towards success.
It should enable teams to create and optimize content strategies and understand the value their content provides. A content analytics suite should also identify the right audience source channel and track how far down people scroll through pages.
- Ability to track audience interactions with published content
- Detailed insights and analysis of audience behavior and preferences
- Visibility into the effectiveness of content in achieving set goals
- Tools for creating and optimizing content strategy
- Identification of content opportunities for improving sales and engagement
- Sophisticated and complex analytics beyond simple pageviews or unique visitors
- Tagging of websites, apps, and other content properties with a code snippet
- Source channel identification to determine which channels bring in the right audience
- Understanding of audience segmentation and how different segments interact with content
- Ability to track content conversion and revenue generation
- Gathering, storing, and organizing of data and content reports
- Tracking of audience reading behavior on blog posts
- Capability to run unlimited campaigns and track new blog posts.
Overall, content analytics tools provide practical benefits to help businesses fine-tune content usage strategies, pinpoint weak spots in their process, and identify any missing content.
Essential Content Analytics Tools
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free and user-friendly content analytics tool that provides valuable insights into website traffic and user behavior. It offers key metrics such as total users, active users, bounce rate, page views, engagement rate, and more. It also allows monitoring of traffic sources, some keyword information, and social media activity.
Google Analytics can help businesses make informed decisions by converting data into easy-to-read reports. It integrates with other tools like Google Ads, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Google Search Console. Businesses can track the effectiveness of their content marketing strategies through features such as data visualization and monitoring tools, data filtering, manipulation, and funnel analysis.
Overall, Google Analytics is a powerful free tool for businesses to analyze, measure, and improve their marketing strategies and website performance. However, it's not designed with content teams in mind. While it offers incredible value for money and is highly configurable if you know how or are willing to spend the time learning, it should be augmented by tools that are better at surfacing the information a content team needs.
SEMrush is a powerful content analytics tool that offers a range of features to help businesses manage their online visibility and marketing campaigns. With SEMrush, content marketing professionals can perform keyword tracking, trend analysis, social media monitoring, website monitoring, and competing product analysis.
The platform allows for easy and convenient management of campaigns across multiple marketing channels. SEMrush is particularly useful for competitor analysis, allowing users to compare their website's performance to that of their competitors, including traffic sources, marketing strategies, and customers. The tool also offers real-time keyword statistics, including those used in paid ads, making it a valuable resource for optimizing Google Ad campaigns.
With pricing starting at $99.95 per month, SEMrush is an affordable, effective, and ridiculously feature-rich solution for content analytics.
Parse.ly is a content analytics provider that offers instant insights and analytics without any hassle. Its key features include real-time trend analysis by topic, location-based trend filtering, content engagement comparison between domains, influencer identification, personalized feed, and backlink analysis from any web page.
With Parse.ly, businesses can gain valuable insights into their audience's behavior and preferences, allowing them to make data-driven decisions for their content strategy. For example, a business can use Parse.ly to analyze which topics and types of content are resonating with their audience and adjust their content strategy accordingly. Additionally, businesses can identify influencers in their niche and partner with them to reach a wider audience. With Parse.ly, businesses can optimize their content and improve engagement, leading to increased traffic and conversions.
Buzzsumo is a content analytics platform that provides real-time analysis of trends by topic, location-based trend filtering, and comparison of content engagement between domains. It helps in finding influencers in your niche, personalizing your feed, and showing backlinks from any web page. It can be used to gain insights for your YouTube channel, find new topics, analyze your competitors, find influencers to collaborate with, and more.
However, Buzzsumo has a restrictive monthly limit, needs a fair amount of effort to get the desired results, and is costly, especially for small businesses and indie publishers.
5. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a content analytics tool that provides website owners with valuable information about their website's performance in Google search results. This free tool helps website owners monitor their website's traffic, search appearance, and search traffic.
With Google Search Console, website owners can track their website's search performance, identify and fix issues that may affect their website's ranking, and optimize their website's content for better search results. Some of the main features of Google Search Console include search analytics, site performance, indexing status, and crawl errors. By using Google Search Console, website owners can improve their website's visibility and attract more traffic to their site.
Overall, Google Search Console is an essential tool for website owners who want to improve their website's search engine optimization and increase their online presence.
MarketMuse is a content analytics tool that helps businesses improve their content strategy by providing data-driven insights. It analyzes your existing content and identifies gaps in your content strategy, suggesting topics that will improve your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website. MarketMuse uses artificial intelligence to evaluate your content against your competitors, identifying opportunities for improvement.
Its features include keyword research, content optimization, and content performance tracking. MarketMuse also offers a content brief builder that guides writers through the process of creating high-quality content that meets user intent. By using MarketMuse, businesses can create more effective content that resonates with their audience and drives conversions.
Overall, MarketMuse is a powerful tool that can help businesses stay ahead of the competition and maximize the ROI of their content marketing efforts.
Kissmetrics is a behavioral analytics tool that helps businesses understand how their customers interact and react to their content. It offers features such as individual visit tracking, data visualization, and email automation.
With Kissmetrics, businesses can track their customers' journey across numerous devices, examine conversion metrics, and design tailored campaigns. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to use, although the initial setup and UI can be overwhelming.
Kissmetrics offers three different paid plans with pricing starting at $299 per month.
8. Social Media Analytics
Social media analytics help you measure the effectiveness of your social media content by tracking engagement and conversion metrics. Popular social media analytics tools include the first-party dashboards (such as Twitter Analytics), as well as third-party analytics tools like Hootsuite Insights, Sprout Social, and Buffer Analyze.
These tools enable you to track metrics such as likes, shares, comments, clicks, and conversions, and gain insights into which social media channels are working best for your brand. This data can then be used to inform your content strategy by identifying which types of content are resonating with your audience and driving the most engagement and conversions. By leveraging social media analytics tools, you can optimize your content for better performance and achieve your content marketing objectives faster.
Content analytics is a powerful tool that can help you understand how your audience engages with your content. By using the right tools and strategies, you can use content analytics to improve your content marketing efforts and achieve better results.