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Google Analytics 101: Auditing Your Content

Nadine Long

November 2016

Google Analytics is usually seen as a purely quantitative tool. While you can certainly focus on stats, the data in GA can also tell you a lot about the effectiveness of your content and brand voice. If you’ve spent some time creating content with a defined, strong brand voice, there are a few top-level areas of GA that are worth a look to understand your content performance.

Better Understand Your Current Audience

While your website isn’t the only channel your audience will use, it’s a good baseline for seeing who you’re reaching the most.

Demographics & Location
Why it matters: This is an opportunity to see if your current audience aligns with your goals. Are these the people you’re hoping to reach?

How to get there: Audience > Demographics > Overview
You can get a quick glance at your audience age and gender split here.

Next, check out your audience’s location.
How to get there: Audience > Geo > Location
Does your visitor demographic profile match your audience profile? If not, your content might need adjusting – or you may need to further refine your personas based on what you’re seeing in Analytics.

Devices
Why it matters: How your audience consumes content should influence the kind of content you create, especially when it comes to length and format.

How to get there: Audience > Mobile > Overview
Check out the breakdown of devices your audience is using to view your existing content. Are most reading on desktop, or do you have a fair share of mobile users? What can you infer about your audience based on this? If more users are coming to you via desktop, you might be skewing slightly B2B. With more mobile users, you could be looking at an audience that’s more on-the-go and has a need for shorter, to-the-point content.

Dig deeper
Check out the bounce rate for desktop, mobile and tablet individually. If you see a much higher bounce rate for one, it might be time to evaluate whether your content is being served up in an ideal way on that type of device (for example, a high mobile bounce rate could mean that your content is too long or your site’s design could use some refining from a mobile perspective).

Identify Top-Performing Content

Why it matters: Exploring which pages and pieces of content are resonating most with your current users gives you insight into the types of content you should keep creating – or kill off.

How to get there: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
See which of your site pages are most popular with your current visitors. Try different time periods – the last month, the last year – and identify trends in seasonality. For example, if you published a blog post related to a trend at the right time, did it engage your users?

Dig deeper
Sort your top content list by average time on page instead of total pageviews to see which content is keeping people engaged with you for longer.

See Which Channels Drive Traffic

Why it matters: Looking at sources helps you see if you’re getting traffic from the places you expect. If certain channels that you don’t expect are sending you traffic, they might be worth spending more time on in your marketing efforts.

How to get there: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
Take a quick look at where your visitors are coming from the most: search, referrals, social? If you haven’t considered how consumption channels might affect your brand voice, now’s a good time. If your target audience primarily uses social media as a source of information, your brand tone might skew a little more casual, or you might consider creating content that’s more topical and shareable.

Again, consider whether the patterns you’re seeing match your idea of your target customer. If not, what content can you create to align with the channels that your ideal audience is on?

Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool, and one that content marketers shouldn’t be afraid to explore. Spend time looking at different ways to view your GA data. If it still feels like unfamiliar territory, consider spending some time with Google’s free certification tools.