No matter how successful your content is, you can always identify and pursue optimization opportunities and use analytics to guide you.
Unfortunately, even the most experienced content marketers struggle to track the most useful metrics and access, organize, and interpret data. Even small miscalculations can send content performance off track.
Trust Insights Chief Data Scientist Chris Penn recently chatted with Amanda Subler on Ask CMWorld Community . He outlines common mistakes marketers make and how to plan metrics more effectively. Watch this video and/or read on for more tips and techniques.
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Mistake 1: Metrics are confusing with KPIs
An indicator is not the same as a key performance indicator (KPI).
KPI are “numbers that if they go wrong, you can get fired.”
For example, consider website traffic metrics. “If you were a hardware store and your website traffic was zero, would you go out of business? Sure is not. But if you’re Amazon and your website traffic is zero, yeah, yeah, you could be in big trouble,” Chris said.
KPIs focus on numbers that validate your work performance. Chris explains: “Which number will get you the bonus? Which number will help you gauge your performance or get you fired? Once you’ve made that clear, you’ll know which metrics are your KPIs. ”
Choose the most important KPI-related metrics – the top results at your company care about the most. “You need to draw a line between what your boss is responsible for and what your content is successfully accomplishing,” says Chris.
Mistake 2: Not setting measurable priorities strategically
Not all Indicators equally capable of providing useful performance insights. But before you dismiss standard content marketing measurements like page views or social following as meaningless metrics. meaningless Chris recommends letting numbers — not untested assumptions — guide your decision.
“You have to run analytics on all of your available data to determine which (variables) are contributing to your preferred outcomes – such as increased revenue or closed won deals,” he says. .
For example, in his work, Chris often runs data through multiple regression analysis – a research technique used to see all possible combinations of your asset variables to you can evaluate their comparative value. This analysis can show which metric is most mathematically likely to drive the performance results that are important to your business.
“Only after your analysis reveals that number can you say, ‘OK, clearly social media followers aren’t driving any of the results we’re interested in,’” Chris speak.
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Mistake 3: Putting too much data in the dashboard
The analytics dashboard can make it easier to see what’s going up and down. But what data – and how much – should you include in your dashboard to get that clear picture?
Chris says marketers often assume that the more data points crammed into a dashboard, the more valuable it will be to content stakeholders. But it’s the opposite: “There is no such thing as a dashboard with all the answers in it. There is no ‘one ring to rule them all’, he said.
He develops relevant dashboards by asking clients to create a matrix of all levels in their organization – manager, director, executive, etc. Roles are listed at the top, with job functions detailed at the bottom. “Each cell in that matrix should have its own dashboard because what the CMO is interested in may not be what the marketing director needs to know. He said: “Creating a dashboard that tries to answer the question for everyone at once is not going to help.
Instead of trying to unravel every relevant data point, focus on the information that allows each role to make the most important decisions. “Otherwise, you can create these Frankenstein monstrosities, where people record all kinds of data everywhere but never improve their understanding of what actions to take,” says Chris. “No decision data is a distraction, and a decisionless dashboard is just a decoration – you won’t be using it and it will be a waste of your time to build.”
Instead of trying to unravel every possibly relevant data point, focus on the information that enables each role to make the most important decisions, says @cspenn via @CMIContent @semrush. Click to Tweet
To approach dashboard development in a more manageable and useful way, Chris points to a method co-founder Katie Robbert of Trust Insights dubbed user stories. Her process begins with filling in the blanks in this sentence with a key need or goal for your role:
“I need so that i can achieve [a desired outcome]. ”
For example, as a CMO, your user story might look like this:
“I need understand my attribution analysis so that Can I allocate my budget efficiently . ”
A content marketing creator might use this sentence:
“I need arrive see which content performs best from a revenue perspective to I can create more like it . ”
As an SEO manager:
“I need arrive See which of our pages rank in organic searches most often so that I know which pages I need to tweak. ”
“Once you’ve written down the story of exactly what you’re trying to learn, you can then create a dashboard to track performance based on it,” says Chris.
Mistake 4: Rushing to act before understanding
Choose the right one Indicators for tracking and dashboard building is clearly a key element of a data-driven content marketing strategy. But having that data available won’t help unless you know how to interpret it correctly to know what action will allow you to take. amplification or optimization your content performance.
Data analysis is not an easy skill to master, let alone apply to your content decision making. But luckily, says Chris, if you’ve done the tagging and tracking correctly, you can use Google Analytics to see what content is driving the best results – a powerful step towards understanding how to amplify its success.
“If I had to pick one report that you should dig into and get to know well, it would be conversion path analysis, which you’ll find in the new Google Analytics 4 under ads in our admin console. you,” he said.
Generating complex data reports like this requires some additional setup steps – including installation goals in Google Analytics and conversion tracking in Google Tag Manager. But once you’ve done this, you can visualize comparative content funnel performance for each stage in your funnel. You can see where your content might be missing out in the buyer journey, indicating an area that needs optimization or a new approach.
Spend a little more time configuring Google Analytics (or get a data scientist to help you). You can create analytics Chris calls Most Valuable Pages (MVP) analytics to track content pages and content most visited by consumers as they move towards conversion.
“If you can figure out your most visited pages at each stage, it will tell you where the content is working,” says Chris. “Then you can make sure those are the pages you’re sharing on social, including in your newsletter, featured at the bottom of your blog posts, because you’ll know, from the corner mathematical degrees, they will drive people towards transformation. ”
Make decisions with insight, not instinct
Finding the most successful content is important information, but even a powerful tool like Google Analytics can’t tell you why some content is better than others.
“You’re never going to get those answers from analytics,” says Chris. Understanding the root cause of an action captured in your analytics requires a different kind of analysis – the kind you’ll need direct access to precise qualitative insights to achieve.
“You” have to be able to do surveys, focus groups, polls… stop probing and go out and talk to customers,” says Chris.
If there’s no such thing Deeper understanding of the subject to help fill in the reasoning behind what’s in your analysis, there will always be a gap between your measurement strategy and the full data-driven content decision making .
Here’s how Chris looks at it: “You’re data-driven if you make decisions with data first, which means you don’t rely on prior experience, assumptions, or instincts first. You are making decisions based on facts that you can see. ”
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Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute