18 Apr 2014

Analytics for Content Marketing the Right Way: Part 3 of 3

This is the third article in a series. Please read part one and part two.


Step 3: Integration

Once the inventory and catalog exercise is complete and once you have assigned values in the values tab, the next step is to make sure that Google Analytics accurately reflects the sources, assets, and interactions you have recorded in the prior exercise. Although some of the tasks during this step may vary, below are several tasks that that should be true no matter what a given content marketing mix is.

Check Tracking Code

All too often, tracking code is not applied to content marketing assets. Although the reasons for this vary, from design error in applying tracking code to all template types to malformed tracking code, it is an important check to ensure the validity of data in Google Analytics.

To perform this task, copy the list of content marketing assets that was inventoried during step 1 into the clipboard. Use a crawler to then do a search within markup of the pages whose URLs you have identified to validate if tracking code is present on those pages. The exact method by which this can be done will vary depending on the tools being used. One popular tool is Screaming Frog, and for that tool, there is a custom search functionality where you can specific what code you want Screaming Frog to identify if it is contained on the page. You can find further instructions on this page: http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/user-guide/configuration/.

Another key thing to check with regard to your tracking code is to make sure that you have subdomain tracking on your tracking code enabled, if the blog on the website of interest is on a subdomain. The only exception to this is if your website has universal tracking code applied.

Implement Custom Campaign Tracking

Campaign tracking is very useful in cases where you may run the same campaign through multiple sources (such as Google, Twitter, and StumbleUpon), allowing you to view the data for the campaign by selecting “campaign” as a primary dimension in Google Analytics and then setting a secondary dimension of “source” to compare outcomes by source alongside one another. This allows you to quickly determine where your content marketing campaigns are performing well and where the content is underperforming based on clicks or goals. Implementing campaign tracking is especially powerful for content marketing because it allows for tracking of how content marketing campaigns directly impact KPIs and business objectives. The easiest way to configure custom campaigns is through your social engagement platform directly. Several popular social engagement platforms, including HootSuite and ArgyleSocial, offer integrations for Google Analytics and for custom campaigns. Also, if email marketing is part of your content marketing strategy, many of the popular email marketing software providers, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, also provide Google Analytics integrations.

Setting up custom campaign tracking for content marketing will allow you to leverage the power of segmentation to track click-throughs from social media, social bookmarking, and other referrals and identify exactly which piece of micro-content or which link placements resulted in the best outcomes in terms of click-throughs and which resulted in goal conversions.

Implement Event Tracking

Event tracking allows for tracking of CSS buttons or graphic button images that link out to secondary calls to action, such as video embed views, widget interactions, clicks to transaction paths, booking paths, or leading users off a given website. Event tracking works by appending a small piece of code to an image link, button, or text link. Event tracking is useful for gauging interaction with secondary calls to action that may appear in areas where content-marketing-related content is featured, such as in a blog template. One example of a case where event tracking can be used is for a whitepaper download option when someone lands on a content marketing asset on a blog. By wrapping the button link to download the whitepaper in event-tracking code, it is possible to see, out of the visitors viewing a particular piece of content, how many of them moved further down the conversion funnel by downloading the whitepaper . Generating the code for event tracking may be complex for non-developers, but there is a simple widget that can be used to generate the code at http://gaconfig.com/google-analytics-event-tracking/.

Track Social Plugins

Social plugins are commonly used on blogs and other content so that visitors can vote and share content easily on popular social media platforms. For content marketing, it is useful to know which content is highly voted on and shared. It is now possible to track social votes and shares that are preformed with plugins in Google Analytics.

Enable Social Data Hub

Social Data Hub provides an ability to integrate social data from interactions on content off-site into your analytics. Social Data Hub is really powerful for analytics because Google is allowing third-party data to be integrated into their platform, which includes data from social networks, social bookmarking sites, and social blogging sites. Once you enable Social Data Hub, you will have the ability to view new reports that feature basic information on interactions that occur on social platforms. This is useful for analysts, since it consolidates data that were previously available only through social media platforms or social engagement platforms.


Step 4: Measure and Report

In step 2, commercial values were attributed to interactions that can occur on the website. Because traffic that results as part of a content marketing effort is often awareness-level in nature, most of the interactions, especially first-time interactions, will not lead to a commercial conversion action; however, visitors are much more likely to execute a secondary conversion or other interaction of value. In step 3, Google Analytics was configured to track the interactions of value using some of the methods and features identified in that same step. Because the heavy lifting was completed in prior steps, reporting can be made simple. Return on investment (ROI) can be measured easily by combining the aggregated value of all of the actions in analytics and deducting it from the cost of creating and spreading the content.


Content Marketing Tools