Welcome to the next part of our guide to measuring the efficiency of your content marketing strategy.
To help you navigate our series of articles, here’s a recap of what we’ve covered so far:
In this part, we’re going to focus on user engagement KPIs that all content marketers should be measuring.
These metrics are important because they show how your content strategy connects with user interests. And customer engagement is closely related to the overall profitability of business since engaged users are more likely to purchase your product or service, become repeat customers, and share their purchase with other people.
Here are all the user engagement metrics you need to be tracking.
Page views and sessions are the most common metrics that indicate traffic on your website. A page view happens when a user visits a page on your website. By measuring page views, you will understand how often people view your site and what they’re interested in. On the other hand, pages views can also show you that people are having trouble finding what they need. Page views are outstanding, but without the context of other metrics they won’t show you their full meaning.
Here’s how to track page views
You can use Google Analytics to do that. To find your page metrics, go to Audience and Overview. Then select a relevant time period you want to measure, and you’re done. You can also see how many people visited your website and check whether your site is performing as expected, especially if you have just delivered some major change like a new layout. When your page views increase, it means that the changes you have implemented are working, at least in terms of driving traffic.
Here’s how to optimize page views
It’s important to know how much time users actually spend on your page consuming your content. In the micro view, it’s all about time spent on a specific page. In the macro view, however, we’re talking about the average session duration and average time spent on your site.
This metric is a clear indication of interest.
The average session duration measures the length of an average session over a specific time period, divided by the total number of sessions over that time frame. A session refers to a group of user interactions on your website. The average session duration is the total time they spent on your website. It’s different from time spent on the page because it tracks all of the activity a visitor has completed on your site vs. tracking time spent on one specific page.
How to track it
You can track that in Google Analytics under the Acquisition tab. Analytics tracks page activities using timestamps that mark every time your page loads or when activity triggers more events.
For example, if the user viewed a page at 9:30 am and the next one was viewed at 9:35 am, the time spent on page for the first page will be five minutes. The problem is that these timestamps don’t track the time users spend on the exit page (the last page of they see before exiting the website). This means that if a visitor spent seven minutes on your website and didn’t visit any other pages, Google Analytics won’t show you that.
That’s why the values of average session duration and time spent on page reported are usually lower than in reality.
How to optimize the time spent on page?
It’s a good idea to compare the current statistics with your past data. You can do that by using Google Analytics advanced filtering options to determine which pages have received more traffic. Go to Behavior > Content drilldown. Choose a page using the advanced filtering options and then use the filter of Unique page views. That’s how you can see the average time spent on the page.
How to optimize the average session duration?
Boost the overall user experience on your site – including the value of your content, ease of navigation and clear Calls-to-Action. By focusing on these three things, you will see the average session duration increase.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who exit after viewing only one page. The bounce rate shows how good your content is. If people are leaving your site without taking any actions, your content isn’t doing its job.
Several reasons stand behind bouncing:
It’s important to measure how engaged your visitors are but also how disengaged they may become with your content. It’s pointless to be happy about high traffic numbers when you see high bounce rates. It means that your content isn’t engaging enough to inspire website visitors to stick around and explore your site.
Here’s how to track the bounce rate
Go to Google Analytics and then Behavior > Site content > All pages. You will see a special column dedicated to the bounce rate.
Here’s how to improve your bounce rate
Have a look at the pages on your website that have high engagement and low bounce rate. What do they all have in common? Once you determine the features that make them popular you’ll be able to apply them to other pages.
Moreover, producing great content and using internal linking are two good strategies for getting people interested in what you have to say. Make sure that your content stands out from the crowd as reliable and memorable. Use clear CTAs and provide an amazing overall user experience.
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These are the last pages users access before leaving your website altogether. Their rate is a metric that measures the percentage of people who leave your website from the exit page. The exit pages are closely related to bounce rate in a sense that they both consider the last time a user spent on your site. However, the bounce rate takes into account the number of visitors who exit your site after visiting a single page.
Calculating the exit rates can be very helpful, especially if you have developed your site in a way that allows customers to follow a path the buyer journey. Knowing when users stop following it will help you make sense of why that happens and what you could be doing better.
Now, some pages are designed to have high exit rates – for example, a contact page or thank you page. However, if you see a high exit rate on a non-exit stage, customers may be leaving because of a missing CTA, poorly organized information, or just too much of it.
Here’s how you can track exit pages
Open Google Analytics and go to Behavior > Site content > Exit pages. You see the number of exits, pages views, and exit rates (% Exit). To calculate the exit rate, divide the number of times users exited the page by the total number of page views.
How to optimize your topic the pages
Plan your user journey in a way that allows identifying with which pages should have high exit rates. Optimize your exit pages by improving your content, the overall site usability, and information organization. Don’t forget to include a clear CTA. All of that will help you to reduce the bounce rate and optimize your exit pages.
Another smart way to measure the interest in your content is pages per session metrics that refers to the number of unique page visits per session. The higher the pages per session rate, the better. That’s because a high count shows that visitors explored your site and visited more than one page, genuinely engaging with your content.
How to track it?
Pages per session is a metric that takes into account the entire path a visitor follows. To track pages per session go to Google Analytics and follow Acquisitions > All traffic > Channels. There you’ll see a column for Pages/Session.
To calculate the number of pages per session, sum up the number of pages each user visited and divide it by the total number of sessions. High-value pages mean that users are interested in your content. That’s why it’s vital that you look at pages per session metrics together with average session duration and bounce rate.
For example, a page with high pages per session but low session duration and high bounce rate mean that users are flipping through your pages due to irrelevant content, difficulty navigating your site, or just lack of interest.
To optimize your page pages per session metric, deliver content that aligns with the fundamental interests and problems of your visitors. Be sure to match your content to the flow of the buyer’s journey on your site too.
This metric measures how your audience consumes your content by tracking where they stop reading on the page. This KPI indicates two different things: the readability of your content and the general interest people have for it.
How to track it?
Google Analytics doesn’t include a built-in option to measure scroll depth. That’s why you need to install the special Scroll Depth Google Analytics plugin to enable tracking. It will track the percentage of the page where visitors stop at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% depth, as well as indicate pixel depth which is the best indication of where audiences stop reading your content.
Wondering how to improve your pages or scroll depth?
Analyze where your users are dropping off from your website. Is there anything about the page that impacts the user experience negatively? Is your content starting to become less attractive as visitors make their way deeper into it? By analyzing all of that, you will gain plenty of valuable insights you can then use to fix that problem.
Measuring user engagement is one of the most critical part of content marketing. All of these metrics directly relate to the attractiveness of your content. By using advanced metrics such as scroll depth, you will be able to tell where your content stops being interesting. Putting all of them together gives a high-level view of how your site is really performing.
Do you have any questions about measuring user engagement KPIs? Share your questions in the comments section; we look forward to hearing your thoughts!