A Crash Course in How to Measure Content with Google Analytics

When charting your content strategy, the two most important questions to consider are what content to develop and how to measure the content you already have. We recently talked about how content analysis can help you figure out the first question, so today we’re going to cover how Google Analytics can make all the difference for question two.

Why Measuring Content Matters

But first, let’s touch upon the importance of measuring content. Measuring your content will help you refine your content strategy to achieve your marketing goals.

To make your measurements matter, your content strategy team needs to clearly define the metrics, or KPIs, that matter to your goals. KPIs help you answer the question, “What is the purpose of your content?” and these metrics may vary between content types.

The basis of your measurements will come from Google Analytics. Taking those raw numbers and translating them into meaningful insights requires some knowledge and planning. The journey from data to goals looks like this:

Goal > Customer Journey Phase > KPIs > Google Analytics Metrics & Dimensions

Each content type should have unique values for these elements. While information about your goals and customer journey phases will come from management, the data that will help ensure that your content is impactful will flow from your Google Analytics Dashboard.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics—commonly referred to as GA—is a free tool provided by Google to “measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.” In laymen’s terms, GA is the all-seeing eye of online content, tracking an impressive amount of behaviors and events that occur on your company’s digital properties in a single dashboard.

While there are other platforms for marketers seeking an answer to the question of how to measure content, Google Analytics remains king in a crowded field of challengers. Dinesh Thakur, CEO of Ads Triangle, recently outlined his top reasons for using Google Analytics, which include:

  1. It is free (a rarity in the marketing tech stack)
  2. Simple set-up and automated collection of data
  3. Custom reports
  4. Integration with other tools, like AdWords
  5. Internal site search, perfect for understanding user behavior and improving content

Thakur goes on, and there are undoubtedly a dozen more reasons that could be added. Simply put, nothing is as straightforward, robust, or affordable as Google’s tool. That isn’t to say that a novice content strategist could make sense of all the numbers that GA tracks, especially when it comes to connecting those numbers to meaningful marketing KPIs and goals.

How to Measure Content with Google Analytics

Understanding how to measure content with Google Analytics means understanding how to measure what matters in Google Analytics.

We just so happened to write the book on how to measure content with Google Analytics in our newly-released Content Measurement Handbook. It’s full of in-depth info to help you get the most out of Google Analytics by turning your data into actionable insights.

In the Content Measurement Handbook, we walk you through how to measure content: from KPIs and content strategy planning to setting up your GA dashboard and custom reporting.

The most important—and first—step in measuring your content using Google Analytics is ensuring that your GA account is properly configured to give you the most accurate data. This includes configuring your property settings (i.e., correctly claiming all your digital real estate) and view settings (to make sure your data isn’t being corrupted by internal traffic or spam).

After the initial set-up and refinement, the next steps are ongoing monitoring and reporting. This is where you create the goals-based dashboards in Google Data Studio so that you can monitor your content regularly to see what works and what doesn’t.

We’ve created content reporting templates to help you set up Data Studio effectively. You can find them all in the Content Measurement Handbook. There, you’ll learn about the most helpful reports to build for content strategy, including:

  • Search console
  • Behavior flow
  • All pages
  • Landing pages
  • Site Search terms
  • Search pages

Once you understand how these reports work and how to properly manage the data coming into them, you’ll be armed with invaluable, up-to-the-minute data around your content’s performance. The possibilities of how to measure content are vast in Google Analytics; what we’ve mentioned so far is just a start.

Want more? Get a complete introduction to Google Analytics and content measurement in our exclusive Content Measurement Handbook. Take the guesswork out of how to measure content and create a content strategy that makes a difference to your company’s bottom line.