The Questions To Answer
How should I organize my website?
What content should I show my visitors?
Is there a logical flow for my site?
How can I optimize content to increase conversions?
These are difficult questions, many times approached subjectively and with “insider” intuition and, all too often, there is no clear ROI on the expected results.
Changing / creating content costs money, and frequently it’s not FTE salary dollars (not sunk costs), instead coming out of project budgets. That’s why it is important to have the following:
-An analytics driven content plan
-A logical business case for the ROI on content changes / creation
The goal is to delight your visitors and increase your conversions and this post will show you how to do just that. I will show you how to use Google Analytics to track content metrics, report out on them, and influence a hypothesis based, data driven strategy to optimize your site's content.
Let's use a real world example, doctored up with some “dummy data" to walk you through the process from start to finish.
Set up proper tracking
Question, hypothesis & test
Report the results
Deliver the "story"
Use results to influence future strategy
1) Set up proper tracking
There are a variety of was to set up tracking. Which one you use will depend on your site’s goal. Let’s walk through an example: (The numbers contained in this post are hypothetical)
Website Type: Life Insurance
Conversion Goal: Lead Generation (quotes)
Secondary Goal: Content Interaction / Site Research (What is it, how much do I need, what types are there?)
We will use Google Analytics Content Grouping, Goal Setting and Funnel Visualization to accomplish the analysis of our sites content performance.
1.a ) Content grouping
In Google Analytics go to Admin -> Content Grouping
Below you will see that I have set up content grouping using rule definitions:
*Note: Content grouping only records from time of inception (<-love that movie by Leo Decaprio btw). So if you change / add URL’s you will need to group them prior to launch for full recording of metrics.
1.b) Goal flow
In Google Analytics go to -> Goals and set up a custom goal.
The key is to turn the" Goal Funnel" on, so that you can use “Funnel Visualization”
Above I set up an intended path from the home page to a Research Resource -> “Calculator.”
I would expect to see people going through the goal funnel: Home page -> Resources -> Calculator
To check if this is happening we will use Funnel Visualization.
In Google Analytics go to Reporting -> Conversions -> Funnel Visualization -> Select the right goal
Above we can see not many users are flowing through the intended funnel: an area of exploration for Content Optimization.
1.c) Use custom reports
Data driven marketers use Custom Reports in Google Analytics. Custom Reports is one of GA's most flexible and powerful features. A clear understanding of all the dimensions, metrics and what filters are possible makes this feature extremely powerful.
For instance: If you want to see a session metric and a HIT level metric like Page Views on the same report, you must use Custom reporting. Remember though, these are Very different metrics and not all segmentation of the data will allow you to display correctly session and HIT together.
In Google Analytics go to -> Customization -> Overview -> New Report
I want to set up a report that shows my site's custom content grouping, with paid traffic excluded.
Side note: Since paid traffic is not sent to the top of the funnel (currently) if I include them in the report below, it will skew how the content is preforming. (i.e. there will be many people driven to the bottom of the funnel from paid campaigns)
Export your results to Excel for analysis and combination with other data.
1.d) Use regular expressions
Always use Regular Expressions (regex) when possible for filters, they are flexible and precise.
Always CHECK your regex prior to implementation.
Use www.regexr.com to check your regex … below is an example of the RegEx which I have used above to get all the Life Insurance related content off our site.
Note: You should have full understanding of all your URL's
2) Question, hypothesis & test
Let’s use all of the above to move through a logical business case:
Question: Are people following our intended content journey from resource pages through to quoting pages?
Test: Use custom content grouping to show the “Flow Through” content ratio from resource to quote , create a custom report (shown above in 1.c Custom Report Section) to test …
3) Report the results
Follow the steps in the 1.c Use Custom Reports Section of this post, export your data to Excel … see below
Develop some proxies for the data above, we will choose to use "Flow Through" content ratio as a proxy, with our ultimate determinate: "Resource to Quote Flow Through Ratio."
Using the 6% baseline (above), we will develop an ROI for increasing this Content Flow Through
4) Deliver the "story"
Now is where your business acumen, logical reasoning and storytelling abilities come into play.
We know that we have a Flow Through to quote of 6% for our Organic and Direct visitors … What else would we need to know to make a business case?
Quote to purchase ratio? … How much is a sale worth to us? … what about "Quote start" to "quote completion" ratio ?
Those sound good ! … Below I have made some assumptions with Dummy Data (THESE ARE NOT REAL NUMBERS FOR MY COMPANY)
So there you have it, above is my business case, laid out simply so that Directors can easily see the value we can provide by optimizing site content …
Now go get the changes taken care of and track the benefit!
5) Use results to influence future strategy
Record the before in after in Google Analytics to test your changes, work with the content team to determine what messaging, style, and overall content strategy was used … record all the analytics about the content performance you can, document it !
Next time you need to make any content changes: site, advertising, collateral etc. you can use this test case to influence best practices in those areas as well …