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Four Engagement Metrics Your Content Marketing Program Is Probably Misinterpreting

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Content engagement analytics should tell you what formats, channels, and topics are resonating with your audience. Getting the full picture on engagement can take some digging, but it’s key to keeping visitors moving down the funnel towards conversion and ROI. 
Unfortunately, engagement metrics often come from platforms designed for analyzing web traffic versus content marketing, and these metrics are easily misinterpreted; as a result, many content marketers have blindspots in their analytics insights.
Here are four content engagement blindspots common in marketing program analytics — along with how to fix them.

Engagement Metrics that Matter

What you’re tracking: Bounce rate
Why this may be misleading: The bounce rate measures single page sessions  or more accurately, the percentage of sessions in which visitors went to a single page and left. The trouble with using this binary to measure engagement rests in how the bounce rate is determined.
A visitor is considered “bounced” if they only visit a single page. But in an SEO and social media driven world, many people do specifically visit one page  and that might be a good thing. It can mean that page the visitors landed on answered their question or gave them what they wanted. Still, per Google Analytics, a one-page visit is considered a fail even if visitors are reading the entire article or clicking through the entire interactive embed.
Fortunately, there’s a workaround.
The solution: First, review your bounce rate for individual content pages.
Then ask:

  • Does it seem artificially high?
  • Are we sending people specifically to these pages via other campaigns?

Your bounce rate becomes zero when an event is triggered. Create events such as a time duration on pages that have high bounce rates. When the event gets triggered, it overrides the bounce rate and you get credit for these single page views.
[Need more visuals? Watch our webinar on marketing analytics blindspots.]
What you’re tracking: Session duration and average time on page
Why this may be misleading: Of course you want people to spend as much time with your content as possible, but your duration analytics may not tell the whole story.
Again, how these metrics are measured impacts what they’re revealing. Google Analytics (GA) measures session duration using time stamps of when you arrive at each page (Adobe measures off actual time accrued). This becomes problematic because the time from when a visitor enters the final page of their visit to when they leave the site isn’t included in the session calculation. Measures of average time on page are also affected – because time spent on the last page before an exit is excluded.
The solution: Examine your session duration for specific content pages.
Then ask:

  • Is the session shorter than other, comparable pages?
  • How can I build a report more specifically for that page?

In GA, you can use events here as well to gather more data. Set events that are triggered based on time durations per page to get a more complete picture of how long people spend with the content.
What you’re tracking: Page level depth
Why this may be misleading: Page level depth is a great metric for understanding the quality and effectiveness of your content, but it’s important to categorize content by format so that you can accurately evaluate engagement.
The solution: Use events (again!) to trigger an event as people get through certain percentages of each page. You can then employ a funnel view of where people leave the content.
Start by labelling the content formats in your analytics platform. Different platforms use different features to sort formats. For Adobe Analytics, utilize classifications. In Google Analytics, use content grouping.
Then ask:

  • Where are people leaving the content?
  • Where is it most engaging?
  • Are the Calls to Action placed in the right spot on the page to reach the most people?

Understanding how deep people get into specific content reveals whether the content is the right length, and where to strategically place CTAs to reach the most users. 
Ready to fix more blindspots in your content marketing program? NewsCred’s analytics suite connects content to revenue for the intelligence you need to influence every stage of the customer journey.
Liam Moroney is VP of Marketing Analytics & Insights at NewsCred.

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