If you’re producing digital content for your website or social, then you want to know whether it’s working or not! Here’s our run down of metrics that you should be keeping an eye on.

Why do you need to know about digital marketing metrics?

Unlike offline marketing, adverts, flyers and even billboards. Digital marketing offers businesses awesome and in-depth insights into how effective their marketing efforts really are. With every post, like, share, follow or comment data is created that you can use to extend your reach and increase engagement with your brand.

Whether you’re looking to grow your business through organic or paid digital marketing there are a number of key metrics that you really need to know. In this post we’ll be looking at metrics that you can access for free, either via your social channels or via Google Analytics, and because they’re free, there’s no excuse not to be using them!

Website and behaviour

This section looks at how people are behaving on your website. All the information that you need can be found in Google Analytics, if you don’t already have an account set up, make your way over there now and get it done.

Page views

The total number of views a single page has had for any given time period. It’s a pretty basic stat but useful all the same as you can measure/ compare how your pages rank against each other.

If you find a page that stands out as particularly high ranking, or indeed low ranking, it can be an indicator to have a look at what might be working well, or not so well.

Average page time

A measure of how engaging a page is.

If you find that a page has a low avergae page time, it may mean that the content isn’t engaging people. Alternatively, if you’ve created a great blog post or ecommerce page, you’d expect to see that users are spending more time on there.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate is a measure of who leaves your site after only viewing one page. Whilst this is a useful indicator of the level of engagement, it can vary depending on your website.

If you have an ecommerce site you’d be looking for a lower bounce rate than a blog-based site. With an ecommerce site you’d expect that users would look at multiple pages before making a purchase, with a blog site you could very well see higher bounce rates due to users finding the information they were looking for and then leaving.

Behaviour flow

The behaviour flow section of Google Analytics gives you an awesome visual picture of how your users are behaving on your site. It shows you the pages that your visitors are looking at along with the drop off rate. Identifying pages with a higher drop off rate can help drive a higher conversion rate.

Traffic sources

This shows you where your users have come from, whether that is direct, social or search. This tool is great for planning content and marketing strategies, if you know the majority of your audience is coming from social then you can focus on producing great content for that channel.

New vs. Returning visitors

Are you looking to reach new users or generate new or more potential leads? If that’s the case then you want lots of new users on your site. After all, each new user is a potential sale for you.

If you’re trying to build a community, have a blog site or engagement is key for you, then you’ll be looking for returning visitors and building a loyal audience.

In an ideal world you’ll want an even balance of new and returning visitors to your site!

Social

Social channels offer a great opportunity to get your brand or message out there, both through paid advertising and through organic reach. This section explains some of the key metrics that you’ll be wanting to keep an eye on. In most cases these metrics are all readily available in the analytics sections for the major social channels.

Impressions

Each time your post appears on a feed it is classed as an impression, it is merely the number of times that that specific post was displayed, and is not a measure of someone interacting with it.

Reach

This term is often confused with impressions…

However, they are different, the reach of a post is how many people could see your content.

Let me explain…

Let’s say that you have 200 followers on Twitter and you post once a day. Your reach would be 200 and your impressions would be 200 because the post went out to each of your follower’s feeds.

However, what if we post multiple times a day? If we send out two posts a day what happens to our reach vs. impressions? In this scenario our reach remains 200, because our audience size hasn’t changed, however, our impressions will rise to 400 because two posts have appeared on the feed or our 200 followers.

Engagement

Every time someone interacts with one of your posts it is classed as an engagement. Every like, mention, share, comment etc is classed as a single engagement.

Engagement Rate

There are different ways of measuring engagement rate depending on your social goals. However a good starting point is to work with the following formula:

Engagement rate= engagements/ impressions

This means that you take the total engagements, (every like, share, comment etc) and divide it by the total number of impressions (total number of times the post has been displayed). This will then give you your engagement rate as a percentage.

In terms of what qualifies as a good engagement rate, opinion differs between social channels and between marketers! As a general rule anything between 1% and 4.5% would class as average to good. If you’re scoring higher than that, good work, if you’re scoring lower than that, it may worth looking to see where you could improve.

Demographics

A great feature of analytics is the audience breakdown or user demographics. This give you info on the users that are engaging with your posts, and provides you with awesome information to tweak the content you’re producing, and build up an audience persona.

If you aren’t hitting the engagement rate that you were expecting it might be worth looking at your user demographics, have you created your content with your users in mind? If not, head back to the drawing board and consider what you could do differently to appeal to your audience.

Audience growth

In an ideal world you’d see the number of people following you increasing each day, however you’re sure to hit a few snags and naturally there will be people following and un-following you or your brand.

Audience growth is a useful tool to spot and unusual patterns in your user behaviour, did you have lots or people follow or un-follow on a specific day? Go back to that post and identify what caused that behaviour, you’ll either want to replicate it or avoid it in future!

Summary

Digital marketing offers businesses a fantastic opportunity to market their business. Unlike offline marketing, every post and action creates measurable data that can be used to understand your audience, develop your content strategies and advertising campaigns.

Spending the time getting to grips with the key metrics will allow you to focus your marketing efforts and grow you business in 2019!

What are the different types of content and what should be putting out there to help your users?

Content is king…. Strategy is queen. With so many types of content and multiple channels, putting together a content strategy or even thinking about what content to post may seem like a daunting task.

Part of a killer content strategy is producing content that helps your clients through the ‘buyers journey’, yes it sounds corny but essentially it’s the sales funnel that you want to direct your potential customers through.

The Internet and social has made it much easier for brands to engage with customers, but whilst they may be putting lots of content out there, it’s not necessarily the right content. In fact, 65% of marketers struggle to understand which types of content are effective and which are not.

However, before we get to the sales funnel, whenever you are producing content it’s important to keep you audience persona in the back of your mind. That mental or literal checklist that makes up the attributes or demographic of your audience. Their likes, dislikes and pain points are all important when you’re trying to produce content that will eventually lead them to making a purchase.

If you haven’t got to the stage or creating an audience persona, or you haven’t visited it in a while, I suggest you do. If you aren’t producing content that’s useful to them, then you risk losing them.

What makes up the buyers journey?

The buyers journey can be split into three categories:

  • Awareness stage – also known as the top of the funnel. At this point customers are looking for answers to their problem, they begin to look for information and opinions around what they are looking for.
  • Consideration stage – the middle of the funnel. At this point the user or customer has found your product and is researching whether it’s a fit for them.
  • Decision stage – The bottom of the funnel, the user is working out what exactly would get them to purchase your product.

Great content leads your users through this sales funnel and help convert them into a customer. And this is where your audience persona comes in, to produce awesome content, you need to understand your customer, and think about how they will progress through the sales funnel.

At this point you need to think about the actions that someone takes before finally deciding to buy. I am very indecisive when it comes to purchasing products, I spend a lot of time in the middle of the funnel researching a product and it’s competitors, and that’s something that has spilled over from my business to my every day life. However saying that, I would spend much longer researching which would be the best car to purchase over a holiday. Understanding the demographic of your audience will help you understand how much research they may do, and what it might take to convert them from potential customer, to paying customer or client.

Once you understand your clients and the way they move through the funnel you can start mapping out content that will help them on their journey. So what exactly is that?

Awareness content

As we said previously, this is the first stage of the funnel where potential customers realise a pain point or a want for something, and have started the research process into finding the right product for solution.

During this stage, research is key, producing content that advises and leads the potential customer to more useful information that will inform their decision is a great way to go. In Sprouts 2018 trends report 59% of consumers said they wanted to see posts on social media that teach them something, closely followed by posts that entertain (56%), and posts that inspire (46%).

Producing high quality video or advice content that leads your potential client to more information around your product is the way to go, and remember at this stage they are looking at multiple options, keep them close and provide them with the information they need.

Content that works at the awareness stage

Blog posts, ebooks, reports, original research and whitepapers. Video is still ranked as the most engaging medium to be using, look at producing short videos for platforms like Facebook and Instagram, reports, research and white papers are well suited to platforms such as LinkedIn.

Consideration stage

At this middle stage your potential client is now researching your product or service as an option to solve their problem. This part of the funnel provides an opportunity for you to build relationships with your clients, guiding them to find the right product or service.

Sprout social’s latest research suggests that consumers want the most content at this stage of the process. When a prospective client is looking to make a purchase, the research found that 30% of consumers wanted to see more links to information and content on social media, and similarly to the awareness stage they also want to see educational posts, however unlike the awareness stage, 72% of consumers would be looking for discounts and offers.

Content that work at the consideration stage

Live video, expert blog posts, webinars and white papers work well at the consideration stage. This sort of content fosters trust between the user and the brand and helps build a relationship that could lead to a sale.

Decision making stage

The final stage in the funnel, you’ve taken them through a wealth of great content and your potential customer has made the decision to make a purchase. The key is not to lose them at the final hurdle, provide them with that final nudge to make the purchase with a great call to action.

Content that work at the decision making stage

Whilst the first two stages have content that could be seen as similar, in the decision making stage you’re looking for content that converts your potential customer in to a customer. Trials, demos, case studies and testimonials are great examples of decision-making content.

Taking the time to really work out what your ideal client looks like and what their needs and pain points are will allow you to produce a strong content strategy that helps you turn potential clients into customers.

SEO isn’t just for big and online businesses, if you’re a small business that wants to reach out to more customers locally then there are plenty of things that you could be doing to make your website more search engine friendly.

Really good SEO is about building high quality, useful websites for your users and potential customers, and there are three key areas that you should consider when working on, and maintaining your website:

  • Technical optimisation
  • Content optimisation
  • Domain authority

In this article we are going to focus on technical optimisation, but never fear we’ll be picking up on content and domain optimisation in later articles.

Technical optimisation is basically how easy you make it for a search engine to crawl and index your website. Whilst there are lots of things that you can do to optimise your website for a technical point of view, we’re going to focus on some simple pointers, that in most cases you can do yourself.

Site structure

It might seem like common sense, but making sure your site it set up so that it is easy for the bots to search or crawl is essential and that takes work and maintenance. It’s also really important to remember that you are building your site to be useful to users, not just so that bots can crawl it. However, when it comes to technical optimisation and site structure it’s basically the same thing! Your site should be easy to use for users, they should be able to move around the site quickly and get to where they want to go in a simple and minimal series of clicks.

When building your site and adding content, keep in mine the hierarchy of your site and the links involved. The below image shows an example of how a pyramid structure would look for your site. Your home page will sit at the top of your structure, containing the key information on your business or website, from there users are able to navigate through the menu to different pages or categories, but as you will see from below, all content should flow.

Each time you add content think about where it sits in the hierarchy of the site, and if you haven’t created different categories for your content or products then get that fixed as soon as possible.

Linking pages

Make sure you have a sensible system for your links including links to relevant content within your site not only helps users navigate but also allows search bots to understand the structure of the site and the link system.

Below is a super useful video from Google that explains a little more about how crawls actually work and how Google works out how relevant your site is.

URLs

When putting your URLs together think about the keywords that are relevant to your business and make sure they are included in the URL for that page. If you’re using WordPress it’s super easy to do this, just go to settings –> permalinks and then pick the sample post option, you can see in the example below how this works for Rock Content and our SEO analysis page.

Stay on top of maintenance

As mentioned before, technical optimisation takes time. For sites that are creating a large amount of content, or uploading products there is the risk that a link will get broken here or there, rest assured it’s not the end of the world. By running a weekly audit of your site you’ll be able to flag up and fix any issues as they arise. It’s a small task that will take you a few minutes each week rather than having to fix hundreds or even thousands later down the line and damaging your sites SEO. To speed things up even more, sign up to someone like Moz, that way you’ll get a weekly crawl sent straight to your inbox.

Speed

Speed is really important for your website, as we mentioned earlier Google wants to see that your website is useful for the user, and if your website takes an age to load, that’s not great for potential customers. In fact, it’s so important that Google will penalise slow loading websites.

One of the biggest factors that slow down websites are images. This doesn’t mean that you should hold back on the images (see unicorn); instead use a compressed format a.k.a a JPEG for the majority of your images. If you want to make sure that all your images are optimised there are a number of plugins available such as Smush,  that will compress and optimise your files.

Alt tags

Google doesn’t see images in the same way that we do, in fact it doesn’t understand images at all. So, to make it easier for Google and to give images a value in Google’s eyes with have to tag the images with the relevant keywords that we want Google to register for that image. For example, in this article I’m looking at technical optimisation for your website, therefore the images I use have the same keyword as their alt tag, this way I’m providing the search engine with as much information as possible.

Summary

As mentioned at the start, there are many things that you can do to improve the technical optimisation of your site, and in future articles we’ll look at more options, however if you’re a small business getting a handle on these simple steps could make a real difference to not only how search friendly your website it, but how user friendly it is.

For more info on SEO or to request your free SEO analysis, get in touch via the contact page.