3 Google Analytics Metrics to Measure the Hidden Impact of Blog Posts and Content Marketing
Content Marketing is more than just jargon because great, useful, content can have a definite business impact.
But while this impact should be measurable, it’s not always easy to know where to look and the data is often hidden away.
So, here are a few of the useful but lesser-known Google Analytics metrics that we use to measure the truer impact of our clients’ content marketing.
Assisted Conversions from Blog Content
Goals are a metric that a lot of marketers know about and track.
But measuring assisted conversions from on-site content like blog posts isn’t often considered, or even known.
Yet, measuring these assisted conversions can reveal the fuller picture of how content is working towards the concluding ‘last-click’ conversions that can get too much credit.
This is important because the question if all the effort with content is achieving anything eventually comes up.
But when it does, it can misleadingly look like content is achieving nothing if assisted conversions are overlooked.
Step by Step guide:
There are a few steps involved but it’s not complex to setup this kind of tracking:
- Go to ‘Conversions’ – ‘Multi Channel Funnels’ – ‘Assisted Conversions’ in the main left menu
- Then go to ‘Channel Groupings’ – ‘Copy MCF Channel Grouping Template’ in the ‘Primary Dimension’ menu – and then ‘Define a new channel’ in the box that pops up.
- You can add a single landing page, or a group of content pages. E.g. if all of your blog pages were located under a /blog directory then you could just add ‘landing page URL contains blog’ as the rule. Then name the channel something obvious, like Blog Posts.
- You should then begin to see something like this (bear in mind it won’t work retroactively). You can also filter to see the impact of exact pages.
Content Conversion Paths
This builds on the last point. Once you’ve set up landing pages for assisted conversions – you can also then see how those pages are combining with other traffic sources, before a visitor converts.
This longer view reveals how content combines with other channels within the entire user-journey.
E.g. a blog post might raise awareness, for the same visitor to return back directly a day later and convert.
Normally, this impact would be hidden.
These ‘paths’ to conversion can be strangely enjoyable to look at. And if patterns emerge then they can help shape the ongoing content strategy.
Step by Step guide:
- Setup blog or content landing pages for assisted conversions, as described in part 1 of the post.
- Go to ‘Top Conversion Paths’ in the main left menu, under ‘Conversions’ – and select the new channel grouping in the ‘Primary Dimension’ menu
- In the ‘Secondary dimension’ filter, select ‘Landing Page URL Path’
- You should see something like this (again bear in mind it won’t work retroactively!):
Live Chat Conversions
For the past few years, live chat boxes have been popping-up on a lot more websites. They make sense because they can increase the number of leads and sales.
However, one of the downsides is that data leading to the chats gets lost.
It’s difficult to tell where visitors come from or what pages they convert on.
In fact, when someone starts a live chat it just looks like nothing happened in Google Analytics.
This is because live chat conversations – usually provided through an external app – cannot be easily added as goals.
So the conversion data just doesn’t show.
So, if a lot of people elect to get in touch with a live chat, rather than – say – an oldskool conversion form, then that’s a lot of conversion data getting lost.
More leads might be coming in but where they’re coming from becomes murky.
And some of them might be coming from a content marketing campaign that’s not getting credited for its real impact!
Step by Step guide:
Integrations between live chat apps and Google Analytics are emerging (using services Zapier) but there are ways to get the data back in meantime.
These ways do vary depending on the live chat app used (this example uses the excellent and free Drift app) but usually doing the following can get you the data.
To identify the landing page of a live chat conversion:
- This is easy enough: most apps will show the landing page that the visitor converted from within the chat history. E.g. the following chat came from a blog post about special offers on https://www.thechaletcompany.com
To identify the source of conversion (useful for off-site content & guest posts):
- First off, make sure that any links to the brand website are tagged with UTM tracking parameters in the linked urls. These parameters help because most live chat apps will keep the parameters in the landing page urls that are shown next to each chat. From there you can link the source.
- E.g. a landing page starting with http://reefdigital.com.au/?gclid would have come from Adwords because the ?gclid parameter is added to links from Adwords ads. The UTM format is a bit different but the same idea applies to tagged posts, or content campaigns.
- When this info isn’t available then use some (or all) of the chat’s date, time, region and landing page info to identify the source in Google Analytics. E.g. returning to the earlier example: with a bit of 5-minute digging, it becomes clear that this chat (started on April 2nd, from Liverpool, UK, at 12:19pm) came from organic search…
Bear in mind it’s a bit fiddly to trace every conversion like this.
It’s sometimes easier to investigate only the most valuable leads rather than every single one.
So, those are some of the lesser known Google Analytics metrics you can look at to understand the truer impact of blog posts and content marketing that’s often hidden, although there are plenty more that could make for another post.
What about you? Any other ideas to add to the mix? Feel free to share in the comments.
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