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How to measure content marketing conversions using Google Analytics

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 by showard

Content marketing is well-known for generating a multitude of benefits, including increased traffic, enhanced brand awareness and better search engine rankings. It’s also a great way to boost your company’s reputation, positioning you as a thought-leader within your industry.

These are some great benefits and can be achieved without massive cost and time outgoings – particularly if you’re using a combination of in-house and external resources – but in this day and age Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) want to see bang for their buck. Sure, increases in traffic and more social shares are good metrics, but what about your bottom line? How is content marketing generating money for your business?

A great way of measuring how your content efforts are contributing to conversions is to use Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics. These reports allow you to see how many conversions can be directly attributed to your content, as well as how many conversions your content is assisting.

The Top Conversion Paths section is one of the best ways to find out which pieces of content are providing or contributing to conversions and, if relevant, the money generated from this.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up top conversion paths on your Google Analytics profile:

Step 1

Select ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ on your Google analytics options bar and click on ‘Top Conversion Paths’.

Step 2

You’ll need to set up a content marketing channel grouping to tell Google Analytics what you wish to measure:

Content Marketing Channel Groupings

Select ‘Create a Custom Channel Grouping’ and you will be greeted with the following screen:

Creating Custom Channel Grouping Screen

Name the channel grouping ‘Content marketing’ or similar, then click on ‘Add new Rule’ to add in the landing pages you wish to measure:

Adding

Name – Content marketing

Label rules – Include which content type you’d like to measure – I’m going to measure news

Include – Landing Page URL

Containing – This should include the sub-folder you want to measure – in this instance, I’ve used news

Display Colour – Choose a colour for your label (you’ll see why this is useful later on)

Save rule

Save and Apply

Setting up your content Rules

If you want to measure additional content such as blogs, guides or whitepapers, then select ‘Add New Rule’ and follow the same process as before. If not, select ‘Save and Apply’.

If you have a lot of different content to measure, you might end up with a number of label rules such as:

Labelled Content Rules

Using your new reports to understand your content

Now it’s time to see the results! You’ll have been taken back to the Top Conversion Paths screen, where you should hopefully be seeing some conversion paths. To specifically see how many conversions your content has contributed to, add your chosen label rule to the advanced filter and click search – I’m going to look at the blog specifically:

I’d also recommend changing the path length at the top of the graph to ‘All’ so you can see how many conversions content has directly provided:

In this case, we can see that the blog has directly converted traffic and in the last 30 days, has assisted a number of other conversions.

If you want to see which content has provided the conversion, click on the secondary dimension tab and select ‘Landing Page Url Path’.

You’ll be pleased to hear that your content marketing channel will be saved under your Google Analytics profile, so you won’t have to go through this whole process every time you want to see content conversions!

Plan and refine your content strategy

Having this kind of visibility is essential for content marketers and proves just how powerful content marketing really is. Top Conversion Paths can help you to plan your editorial calendar, by showing you which content converts your audience. Likewise, you’ll be able to see if certain topics or content types aren’t converting.

If you couple this report with data on traffic into your site through content, rankings, social referrals and the like, you’ll get a true picture of the reach of your content. This can only help you to refine your content marketing strategy for the future.

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About the author

showard

showard

Sarah began her career in Marketing Campaigns at the University of Portsmouth, developing her skills in branding, copywriting and event planning. She then moved to Vertical Leap to head-up the content marketing team in January 2010, where she enjoys editing the latest news articles and managing a portfolio of content customers. Follow me on Google+