Data Collection and Audience Measurement
One of the things that makes content marketing more scientific than traditional marketing is the fact that it provides a mountain of data. Most of this data can be obtained at low to no cost. Google Analytics is one of the best tracking platforms for your online efforts to find out how well your content attracts traffic. Various other tracking services can help you gauge your performance. Studying this data will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses at content marketing.
There are many different services that offer audience measurement for websites, but Google Analytics is by far the most popular and it’s well respected due to its comprehensive detail. Analytics tell you how much traffic you’re getting, where it comes from and how visitors behave on your site. The research is designed for marketers and is divided into free and premium services. The basic free package tells you how many visits your site got in a given day, week or month, along with average session time and bounce rate, which reveals the percentage of visitors who exit the site after viewing one page.
One of the helpful indicators that Google Analytics provides is how users found your websites. Referrers such as search engines, social networks and websites are listed as sources that brought you traffic. You can use this information to share with referrers to let them know they provide you value. Another use of Analytics is finding out which geographic locations bring you the most traffic, which can help you determine if your branding messages need to be more universal or focused on certain regions. The main limitation of Google Analytics is that users can disable cookies in their browsers, which blocks data collection on how they use your site.
You can help improve your conversion rate by analyzing why people leave your site with Crazy Egg heat maps. The software shows you specific locations on web pages that visitors clicked before exiting. A scroll map shows how far visitors scrolled on pages, which helps you determine which parts of pages are most and least effective at holding people’s attention. The Confetti tool within the software helps you learn search terms that were used by people to find your site.
Alexa and Quantcast
Two audience measurement sites that can teach you a lot about web popularity are Alexa and Quantcast. Both sites rank millions of websites, using separate methodologies to measure web traffic. Unlike ComScore and Nielsen, Alexa and Quantcast publish their rankings for the public. You can even use them for free to find out how your website compares with competitors in traffic rankings. If you sign up for either service and paste their code on your web pages you can get much more detailed statistics.
Alexa, owned by Amazon, tells you how your site ranks globally as well as in the United States. If your site gets enough traffic it will tell you other interesting information, such as bounce rate, daily pageviews per visitor, daily time on site and heat maps for gender, education level, browsing location (home, school, work) and visitors by country. It will also tell you the percentage of visits that originated from search engines and the top keywords used from search engines. It will also give your site an SEO score on a 0-100 point scale.
Quantcast is useful for looking at income levels and other demographics of your users. Both sites provide much more information if you subscribe.Take the lead in content marketing by utilizing website Analytics, which will help fine tune your understanding of your audience.
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Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.
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