January was a big month for us at Simply Measured.
We announced $8M in funding, released six brand new Google Analytics reports, and an all new Twitter Activity Report. In the midst of these releases, we covered CES from start to finish, dropped some knowledge, and basically put out a ton of blog content.
So now that the month is winding down, we’re digging into our metrics. And if you guessed that we’d be using our new tools to do it, you guessed right.
Take a walk with me as I go through our new Google Analytics Blog report. I haven’t looked at this report yet, but this is how we – as an analytics company – use our own analytics to develop a content plan.
7 Steps to Insight: Using The GA Blog Report to Plan Content
1. Overview: Our first insight comes as soon as you open the report, with your three highest traffic days called out in your engagement overview. In our case, our blog’s bread & butter is clearly announcing that we’ve earned $8M in new funding. I’m going to focus on doing that from here on out…okay after giving it some thought, that might not be scalable. But what is of note is that the same post had a continued engagement spike when we promoted it the second day. An action plan worth testing is to re-promote posts the day after running them throughout our social channels, giving them a longer tail.
2. Top Performers: Another notable point is that our most socially shared post was this Instagram study from October 31st. This was a top performer when released, but the pickup in engagement this long after its release is a good signifier of a topic people are interested in. With 321 social shares of this post in January, you can bet that you’ll see some more Insta-centric content from us into the very near future.
3. Traffic Details: The traffic details section gives us a deeper look at our visitors, but if we don’t use that insight, it’s just a bunch of pretty charts and numbers…although they’re really pretty charts. The percentage of new visits and return visits can be a hard figure to translate. What does it mean? More importantly, how can I use it? Without throwing myself under the bus, as the community manager, this means an area of focus could be engaging more with the audience on Twitter and Facebook that is reacting to posts. A reader who feels involved with your content is way more likely to come back for more [heads to the sink to wash the treadmarks off face].
4. Top Referrers: Our two biggest referrers are Google and Twitter. While your brand’s focus could be a number of different places, for us this means that search traffic is an area we need to invest more time and resources. In the future, I’ll be more thoughtful about the SEO profile and keywords of each post we put out.
5. Social Sharing: While we got a high level look at our most socially shared post in the overview, sometimes it’s good to dive into the box of Trix and dig around until you find the prize. The social sharing section gives you a robust look at which posts are being shared across Twitter and Facebook. In our case – $8M Announcement aside – we have three Instagram posts being talked about quite a bit. This validates the earlier assumption. There’s also an interesting trend alongside that: Our Twitter Customer Service Study, analysis of Nike’s Customer Service on Twitter, and KitchenAid’s Twitter PR crisis management post have all been shared quite a bit. This suggests an interest in the topic of relationship management on Twitter, and is something we’ll add to our calendar.
6. Amplification: Who’s your biggest promoter? Who shared your content with the most people? In January, we had close to 4,000 shares to our site. Focusing in on the people who shared our content is a good way to expand our audience. These folks have helped promote our brand and content in the last month to a very large audience. What content did they engage with? How did it differ from the overall content that was shared? Both become important metrics when trying to get your brand in front of more people.
7. Top Posts: I’m a table fan. I like the added detail you get there, but we’re data geeks here, so that shouldn’t surprise you. This table can be sorted in Excel to show the leaders in any column. You’d think that by this point, there isn’t a lot of new data we can get about content, but notice the second post in the table. A definitions post. It wasn’t one of the socially shared leaders, but it had 1,670 page views which, for a post from last summer, isn’t too bad. This tells me a few things: A. that search was most likely a leading source for this post. And B. People are still confused about Facebook Insights, and there’s an opportunity to help re-clarify how it works and what makes it tick.
Simply Measured has six initial Google Analytics reports, and over the coming months, Nate and I will break down the benefit to each one. If you’re responsible for your brand’s content, the blog report can be an invaluable resource for building a richer, deeper experience for new readers, returning readers, and your most engaged readers.
Check out our Google Analytics Beta Program for free, and since we’re always curious to hear the best use cases, let us know what kind of insight you find in your report.