If your company isn't already using content analytics tools, then you surely must be considering it. Or, perhaps, your current strategy just isn't working. "Keep it simple," advises Dodge. "Start out small and utilize free tools that are available such as Google Analytics. Platforms like Google Analytics are not only seen as the gold standard by many in the online marketing field; they also deliver an extremely robust set of tools to dive in and better understand users," says Dodge.
Google Analytics can provide publishers with a variety of information including number of daily visits, traffic types, and time on site by country.
"That said, it is very easy to get carried away or get overwhelmed by the amount of data at your fingertips," observes Dodge. "My recommendation is to first define what you will be tracking and monitoring on a regular basis. Refer back to your business goals and objectives and take a 10,000 foot view of your site's analytics to best determine if those goals are being met by current content that is being published."
From there, Dodge says, "Determine what those content pieces are that are most important for monitoring and how best to track them. Are these general page views on a particular article? Maybe it is PDF downloads or email sign ups you want to track and need to employ some event tracking to do so. Use this data and make incremental changes over a period of time so that you can better understand your user. Viewing data as an aggregate in a three-month window allows you to spot trends and adjust for the future."
Slayter advises not to overthink it. She explains, "You can spend hours and hours poring over the data that Google Analytics gathers. But your goal should be to focus strictly on the data that actually helps you make better decisions. If your site is supported by ads, are the right people visiting and clicking through? If it's a marketing site, are you successfully capturing qualified leads for your business?"
Slayter feels that publishers will learn more by sitting down and spending some quality time reviewing a monthly or quarterly report for the big-picture trends than by obsessively checking "organic" search results twice a day.
All in all, content analytics can be viewed as a "great equalizer" for web publishers with free tools giving a lonely blogger the same level of insight into his reader as The New York Times has. And once you know what your readers want, it's easier to give it to them.
Black Truck Media
Real Story Group
Reputation Capital Media Services
SAS Institute, Inc.
Simple A, LLC