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Analytics Will Matter Even More in 2019

I often say to my students, “A business without analytics is a blind business. After all, how can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are?”

To best predict your future, you need to have a really clear picture of your past and present.

 

Analytics: Past & present

What once involved intense manual data mining, report creation, repetition and a whole lot of human error has become more and more automated as the years have progressed.

And, because machines tend to move faster than humans (certainly where data processing is concerned), the rate of change in the field of analytics has been getting faster and faster.

The existence of change has always been there (and always will be), it’s just now happening at unprecedented speeds, with updates, upgrades and plenty more “ups” happening on a daily basis.

 

Analytics 2019

Marketing: Past & present

When the speed of change in analytics increases, so too can the speed at which we adapt our marketing and business strategies. And that’s a good thing.

Being able to make informed business decisions that are fully aligned with your dreams and objectives is a powerful thing. The more efficient analytics becomes, the more efficient we become at making those amazing decisions.

Your Business: Past & present

I’m not clairvoyant, so I can only offer guidance, but let me ask you this: Are you investing ⅔ of your marketing efforts in analytics?

Looking ahead to 2019, you may be surprised that trends show about ⅔ of all marketing is now, and will continue to be, based strongly on analytics and data.

So, if you are spending the majority of your efforts on implementation, think twice.

Back to marketing

Given the current trends, I see marketing in 2019 summarised by three key pursuits: Research, Implementation and Measurement.

Both Research and Measurement (making up ⅔ of the above-mentioned pursuits) require a strong understanding of analytics.

Additionally, as you likely already know, the value of analytics goes beyond marketing. It also plays a key role in other areas of business decision making. Therefore, making the investment on the marketing side will pay off beyond that.

 

Analytics 2019

Why is Analytics important for businesses in 2019?

Here are 5 critical uses of analytics to pick up in 2019:

 

  1. Match the message to the traffic.

Analytics gives insight into which types of traffic are most engaged with what types of content and who is most likely to buy your product or service.

By understanding your different audiences, you can create campaigns that target them with relevant content and aligned strategies, leading to higher conversions.

Essentially, you’ll know who responds to what, taking a lot of guesswork out of implementation.

 

  1. Understand how people navigate your site.

It’s important to know who your visitors are, and more important to understand how they behave on your site.

Understanding how visitors engage with your web property shows you where they enter, what they interact with, where conversions originate and where people quit. Understanding specific user flows on your site empowers you to make changes that address your business goals, whether it’s keeping people on your site longer, funneling them to specific content, or taking specific actions.

 

  1. Know your traffic sources.

Simply put, when you know which sources drive the most (and best quality) traffic, you know exactly where to direct further investments of time, money and/or effort.

 

  1. Get clear on the actual interests of people visiting your site.

The better you know your clients and visitors, the better you can cater to their needs, the greater your business will grow.

Analytics gives insight into valuable demographics, which you can capitalize on. Those can include age, gender, interests, device type, location… it goes on.

Having access to this information helps you create more relevant personas and exceptional targeting.

 

  1. Recycle your analytics in other business areas.

The thing about information is that you can use it over and over again, for as many different purposes as you like.

The idea that analytics is only for analytics experts or marketing professionals is flat out wrong.

Knowledge empowers everyone. Circulate that knowledge throughout your organization so whether someone is working in customer service or product design, they have a wealth of information right at their fingertips to help make better business decisions.

 

Planning for 2019

Remember that, ultimately, it isn’t about the information you get from analytics. It’s about what you do with it. Invest in bringing that critical knowledge and insight into your business, then use it!

How to use analytics to create good content.

Are You Missing the Boat on Data-Driven Content Marketing?

Do you want high performing content? Don’t we all!

In working with a variety of companies, from small startups to Fortune 500s, I’ve learned that analytics is a tool not capitalized on enough, especially when it comes to content marketing. Even big companies, with huge marketing budgets, are missing the boat.

Interestingly, analytics (whether Google Analytics or another tool) tends to be looked at only after a paid campaign, end of the season, or before the end of the year. Sadly, most companies don’t even consider looking at data pre-campaign, which is a huge missed opportunity.

The more I work with analytics, the more I realize this powerful data should be considered in all phases of a campaign, especially when it comes to content marketing.

Why? Because analytics doesn’t just tell you what worked, it can also help you predict what will work in the future and what to use to make it work… if you look in the right place!

That’s why, when the time comes to create relevant, engaging content, I look to 5 main Google Analytics metrics.

Here are 5 ways to use Google Analytics in your content marketing strategy:


1. Site Content

In Google Analytics, just under Site Content, you can see the pages on your site that get the most visits. This gives you insight into your most popular topics or content types, allowing you to predict the topics and formats that are most engaging and appealing to your visitors.

Look at your bounce rates, exits, and avg time on page as well.

With this data, you will be able to plan future content either by using similar content structure, similar topics, or even a similar general approach.

Site Content Report from Google Analytics


2. Site Search

If you have site search capabilities built in, Site Search metrics is the best way to see what people look for once they arrive on your site.

Are people searching for something you don’t have a lot of content on? Or maybe you do, but they’re using different terms and not finding what you have?

Knowing what people are looking for is like having a crystal ball, telling you what content to create or enhance.

This can tell you how to cater to new visitors, align your content strategy with current customer needs, and know what content to use in ads and promotions.

Site Search Report


3. Audience Details

What type of people are visiting your site? This can help you determine the type of content to deliver. For example, you may discover you have a large millennial or baby boomer audience you can tailor content to. Perhaps you have high traffic from a particular country and you can adjust some existing content to have a more local flair.

When it comes to audience details, there can be many factors to consider.

To make better sense of the numbers, I usually look at at least 3 months of data to get more content-worthy metrics, and look at these key metrics:

  1.       Demographics (age and gender).
  2.       Interests (affinity categories and in-market segments), which help me understand the general and related interests that my visitors have, allowing me to create better content and target them in my social or search campaigns.
  3.       Geo (language and location). Pay close attention to language. Over time, you may notice a growing traffic segment associated with another language, or that there is potential for expanding your market.

Knowing these metrics will help you create the right content, for the right age group, at the right place, at the right time.

Demographics (age and gender)


 

4. Channels

‘Acquisition’ is the way in which you acquired visitors. It is where you will find the top sources of traffic to your site. For example, you can acquire visitors from Google, referrals from other sites, article mentions, newsletters and more.

Knowing how you got your current visitors will help you understand how your content is being shared, searched and viewed, and which content is best at drawing people in.

Knowing this empowers you to create content catered to the different visitors in your different channels, and create even more of the type of content that is best at bringing new visitors to your site.

 


 

5. Search Console

Under ‘Acquisition’ in Google Analytics, there is an important section called ‘Search Console’. This section is functional when you link your Google Analytics with Google Search Console.

Search Console reflects traffic from organic search, meaning you can see which keywords or queries in Google are leading people to your site. You will also see how well you rank for these keywords, and the number of impressions you get for them.

This data will allow you to assess what is working as far as search goes, help you further capitalize on these topics, and empower you to work on better and more relevant content for your site.

Google Search Console Tools Report on GA


Takeaway

Analytics can be a big part of creating great content. Taking advantage of analytics BEFORE creating or modifying content makes it part of a truly powerful cycle of creating content, seeing how it works on your web properties and sites, realigning your content strategy in accordance with the data gathered, and back to creating content. The big difference being, your content gets better, more relevant and more engaging each time.

If you use analytics (and you should), make sure you are using it to its fullest potential and your fullest advantage. Always check your data and analytics. Listen to what they are telling you. Make them an essential part of your overall marketing strategy and you will begin to see your content performing better than ever before.