Do you want to make more money out of your content?
Put your pen down, close that Google docs file (only for a short while), and let’s take a look at what you can learn from the content that you have already published.
In this blog post, I will show you how to utilize Google Analytics data to make some ROI-driven decisions about your next move on the content marketing chessboard.
Please keep in mind that the process I go through should be applied only to bottom-of-the-funnel content. You know, the kind of content that is targeted towards the readers who would consider buying your product.
If you are selling logo design, you can consider “how to make a logo”, “which logo company should I choose”, or, “how much does a logo design cost”, your bottom-of-the-funnel content.
This process has enabled me to find thousands of dollars of monthly profit buried inside Google Analytics data of large blogs. Therefore, there is a high chance that your business may benefit from it as well.
The classic way to measure the ROI of bottom-of-the-funnel content
The classic method relies on utilizing the reporting function in Google Analytics. It’s a fairly known and traditional form of checking your content’s ROI.
How does it work?
In Google Analytics, go to the “Reporting” panel. You’ll see a toolbar on the left.
Click on “Behavior” -> “Site Content” -> “Landing Pages”.
Things to look out for: date range
Before you start dealing with results and analyzing data, take a closer look at the “date range” option.
You’ll find it in the upper-right corner. It might be a good idea to set a longer period here, for example a year (that is, of course, if your page is running for that long). This way you’ll be able to get a greater number of statistically relevant results.
How to analyze your results
All right, so what am I really looking at?
The main window contains a list of all the pages through which users have accessed your website. Filter out a couple of pages like “homepage”, “product page”, and “about us page”, and what you are left with is your content.
On the right-hand side of the table, you’ll find the number of conversions for specific content pages. This number helps you get a better picture of how well your page is fairing.
Warning: These values are not 100% precise. For example, if someone enters your website through a blog post A, then reads through your blog and is persuaded to buy through a blog post B — blog post A gets all the credit for this conversion.
How to supercharge this data to make more profit
While the Google Analytics report created above will give you some insight into your content marketing strategy, it is worth giving this data another dimension (literally).
There are a number of ways in which you can process this data in order to discover the best moves you can pull out to bring you more profit. I am going to show you one of them, which has given me the highest returns so far.
Step 1 – Create a table in Excel
You’ll need to create a simple table in Excel and populate it with the content pages that you have seen in the Google Analytics report. Create two additional columns entitled “Position” and “Number of conversions”. It should look something like this:
Step 2 – Get information about your content position out of Google Search Console
Open Google Search Console and look for the “Search Analytics” option, just under “Search Traffic” on the left.
Check the boxes shown in the screenshot above and click on the double arrow button next to the first content page entry on the list.
After you click on a specific page, change the settings in the menu to the options below:
When this is completed, calculate a weighted average of your position in Google for queries with the highest number of impressions, and put this number into your Excel table. This number will differ from the “average position” value displayed by Google.
Repeat this process for every content page in your Excel table.
Step 3 – Narrow data in the Google Analytics report down to organic traffic only
Return to the Google Analytics report we have looked at before. Click on the “Add segment” button in the upper part of the main window. Search for “System” and click on “Organic traffic” then “Apply”.
Now insert the “Number of conversions” column with conversions from your organic segment data.
In the end, your table should look something like this:
Step 4 – Create the chart
All right, you have your data. Now it’s time to put it all together.
Highlight the “position” and “number of conversions” columns. Click on the “Insert” button on the Excel toolbar. Find the chart section and click on the “Scatter” option. You will get a popup with a nifty looking chart. The x-axis represents the position and the y-axis shows the number of conversions.
To organize the chart a bit better and help you understand what pages you are looking at, right-click on one of the dots on the chart, click “Add data labels”. Then right-click again on one of the numbers next to the dots and click on “format data labels”. From the newly appeared menu click on “value from cells” and highlight the column with your landing pages’ names.
Congratulations, you’ve done it! The end result should look similar to the screenshot below (I did not click on “value from cells” for the purpose of making the chart look clearer).
Analyzing the chart – what am I looking at?
What you have is a chart that shows the number of organic traffic conversions in accordance to the position of a specific content piece in Google.
The main rule – The closer a page is to the upper-right-hand side, the more valuable its potential. And the other way around, the closer something is to the lower-left-hand side, the less valuable its potential.
Ok, but why?
It’s pretty simple, actually.
The pages closer to the upper-right-hand side generate lots of conversions with lower position values. It means that if this content is being actively promoted with various SEO techniques, its position will rise. As a result, it will automatically generate even more traffic and conversions.
With promotion, a piece of content can move to the upper-left-hand corner.
I have found that with this chart you can always find quite a few extremely profitable moves to pull out in terms of content promotion for your business.
It points out what kind of bottom-of-the-funnel content should be avoided (usually everything that is close to the lower-left-hand corner). You can easily map out your priorities in terms of promotion and publication of content and fill your editorial calendar for months to come.
Pro tip – it’s a good idea to set name labels for each page (as we have mentioned before). It will save you trouble and help you to keep your head in the visual cluster.
Speeding things up – how to get almost immediate feedback on the ROI of newly published content
While the technique described above is quite… well… awesome, it relies on measuring conversions levels. This is obviously a good thing, but it also has a drawback.
The fairly slow data gathering speed and long periods of time required to amass all the data makes this technique unreliable for newly published bottom-funnel content. Depending on your audience size, you usually need a few months to see if a particular piece of content will prove to be effective.
Target micro-conversions to speed things up.
You will lose some accuracy, but for those of you out there with smaller audiences, it will be the best thing to do.
Instead of using sales as your “number of conversions” value, focus on micro-conversion events, which are a sign of readers’ potential interest in whatever you are selling.
For example, you can set up a goal in Google Analytics, which counts visits on your landing page as conversion.
This will 10X the speed of your measurement, while displaying a relatively high level of data accuracy.
Other ways of getting ROI insights out of your data
Making the most out of your content is no easy feat to achieve. If you want to squeeze your blog posts until the last drop, you will need all the information about ROI you can get.
I have a few other highly profitable strategies that I use and I would be happy to share them with you in the future.
How about you guys? Have you come across some other data hacks that allowed you to maximize your profits?
Guest Author: Christopher Gilowski is a content marketer and CEO of Blogging for Growth – a blog writing service that focuses on creating profitable blogs for clients.