Content Metrics and Analytics: Be a Miner and an Investigator

Measurement is a part of any content strategy that simply can’t be overlooked. There’s no question about that. But if measurement isn’t accompanied by analysis, you’ve missed the mark.

Sure, measurement can tell you how many people viewed your content, how they found it and how quickly they ditched it altogether. It can also help you tie efforts with tangible results. But if you aren’t analyzing the data you find, you’re not telling the full or completely accurate story.

When it comes to content measurement, you should wear both a miner hat and an investigator cap. You should be pulling numbers, then looking at it from all sides and scenarios.

Here are three examples of what can happen when you combine metrics with analysis.

Bleak Bounce Rate or Partly Sunny Story?

Bounce rate is a relatively common, simple metric to track. It’s the percentage of users who navigate away from your site after viewing just one page. But it’s even more useful when analyzed in context.

Let’s say your site’s bounce rate is consistently high, meaning a good number of users only view one page. On its own, that’s a bleak story: Users aren’t finding what they want on your site and are bouncing as quickly as they arrive.

But consider what a little investigating might uncover:

Alongside bounce rate, you consider your rate of returning visitors (repeat visitors divided by unique visitors) and average time on site, both of which are consistently high. Now, that high bounce rate doesn’t look nearly as dreary when you realize users spend a good amount of time on that one page they see — and they’re coming back for more.

Videos: Wasted Efforts or Untapped Opportunity?

You’ve invested a good deal of time and money into a series of videos to complement your website content mix. The problem is video page views are much lower than any other type of content on your site.

Based on that metric alone, you might be ready to put the breaks on plans for any new videos. But instead, you do a bit more digging first:

You break apart video page views by traffic sources, and learn that visitors coming from social media have a significantly higher rate of viewing video pages than other visitors. Taking it a step further, you assess the average video viewing time by visitors coming from social media and learn that they prefer videos shorter than one minute. Putting all the evidence together, you shift your social content strategy to incorporate more — and shorter — videos.

One-hit Wonder or Recipe for Success?

You target a new audience segment with some content on a very niche topic. Your metrics show the content is performing atypically well: Bounce rate is unusually low, while time on page is unusually high.

Wanting to replicate this success site-wide, you dig deeper:

You discover that traffic to this content came from one of the content sources, who shared it via his social channels. As a result, you incorporate a new step into your content creation process: You begin sending links to all content sources and asking them to share with their social networks.

Of course, these are just three examples. There’s really no end to what you might uncover with your miner hat and investigator cap on simultaneously.