How to Measure Content Effectiveness.
Sure, when you create content you believe is effective, it gives you a nice feeling inside. Unless you’re writing for your friends and family, however, that isn’t a terribly effective way to measure how effective your content is. Sure, your opinion matters, but it doesn’t matter half as much as you think.
For one thing, you’re only one person, for another, you are approaching your content from a completely different direction. You conceived it. You had a hand in creating it. And you are trying to achieve something with it. That means that you shouldn’t use your gut feeling to assess your content.
That then begs the question, what should you use?
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
Okay, you’re right, the headline is only a tiny bit of your content – but it might well be the most important bit. After all, it is that (And your picture) that gets shared on the different social media platforms and other ways that you get your content out there in front of people.
For that reason, you want to stick as much feedback on how good it is as you can. Fortunately, there are tools out there for that. One of the most effective ones I’ve run into is CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.
Here you just plug in the headline you’re considering and they’ll give you direct feedback. They’ll give you a score as well as why you get that score. From there you can tweak and shift it until you have something that will really draw your audience in.
Google Analytics and vanity metrics
The first place to start is Google Analytics or some other stat tracking program. So far so obvious, you say. The thing that I wanted to point out, however, is that you want to avoid such things as the vanity numbers.
You see, just tracking how many people hit your page isn’t enough. That can be just as much an effect of putting up the right headline or image on the right social media platform or pumping money into marketing your content.
What you want to look at instead is such things as ‘bounce rates’ and ‘dwell time’. The first of these is how many people feel encouraged after they’ve hit your landing page (or the page through which they entered your website) to click on to something else on your site. The second statistic tracks how long they hang around on your site.
Google analytics will let you look at both in relation to specific pages. If you’re finding that one page has a lower bounce rate and longer dwell time than other pages, then chances are they’re enjoying that piece of content more than other pieces.
Another interesting statistics is how many percents of people that hit a page are returning visitors versus new visitors. Of course, new visitors are nice, but return visitors are much nicer as when they return often enough there is a good chance they’ll build up a habit. And that’s what you’re after.
Does your content have legs?
There is, in fact, one way that the number of visitors a piece of content gets are interesting and that is to see how quickly the number of visitors drops off after you stop pushing a piece of content. Or, as we say in the industry, does your content have legs?
If your content has legs, that means that people continue to trickle in through that page even after you’ve to stop pushing it. This can be for several reasons. Perhaps they’re sharing themselves, perhaps people find the content helpful and return to it to read the tips again or perhaps somebody has linked to it.
Whatever the reason, content with legs is the content that you should examine more closely to figure out what aspect of it is drawing your audience in and try to replicate it elsewhere. Note that only high-quality content is going to have legs. So make sure that you do everything you can to make it as good as it can be.
Another way to know if a piece of content is making waves is to see how often it is back linked to. Generally, backlinks mean that people don’t just like your content, they think it is authoritative enough to use as a part of their own argument.
Now, that is obviously good news.
One thing I heartily advise that you do when people backlink to a piece of content you’ve written is actually reached out to them to thank them. After all, they’ve already demonstrated that they like what you’re doing, so there’s a very good chance that you’ll establish a relationship in this way.
And once you’ve established a relationship you might get them to link to your content more often. That’s a big potential reward for the small price of reaching out, wouldn’t you agree?
And then there’s the grandmother of effectiveness measurements and that is, is your content actually converting visitors into customers? This is a number that you want to track as a percentage, not as an absolute number.
Google analytics will do this for you (if you’ve set what is a conversion, of course). Alternatively, simply divide the number of people that end up buying through a specific page by the total number of visitors.
The higher your conversion rate, the more effective your content.
Only when you know what content is effective can you replicate it and give your audience what they want. For that reason, it is important that you track your content. Don’t just track it in one way, either. Instead, use as many of these tools I’ve outlined as possible.
In this way, you can get an aggregate idea of what’s going on. And that is more valuable than just looking at any one metric, as it filters out such things as noise – where interest fluctuates based on such things as the time of year, what else is going on and similar statistics.
So track as many of these stats as possible and try to track them over a longer time period as well, as that will further reduce the random fluctuations that are bound to occur. Sure, it is nice to see how many visitors are hitting your site day by day, but you can only really form the conclusion on a week by week – or even better – month by month basis.