Putting analytics at the centre of your agency’s online strategy

29 August 2017

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As business owners, we all know the fundamental importance of having an online presence. In 2017, your creative agency is almost certain to have a beautifully designed website and use various social media channels to promote the brand and raise your profile. But how do you know if your target audiences are actually interested in your web content? The answer is to put online analytics at the centre of your online strategy.

By tracking and measuring key metrics using Google Analytics and other reporting tools, you not only get to see which elements of your site are working, but also get valuable information about how to refine, evolve and improve the targeting of your online content and digital marketing.

Steve Ash, content consultant at CommsBreakdown, gives us a short overview of why analytics are the key to creating a more effective website for your business.

Why publishing new content isn’t the end game

There’s a common misconception that once you’ve published a new web page, or posted a new blog, that this is somehow the end of the online process. Your beautifully written and designed content is live on the internet and customers will now magically throng to your site to avidly consume this new piece of wisdom.

But the act of publishing is far from being the end game. You may have made your content available, but there’s zero guarantee that anyone is actually going to read it – and even less guarantee that these readers will click on your ‘call to action’ buttons and give you their all-important contact details and email addresses.

It’s important to understand that, once published, you still have a lot of work to do in order to track the performance of this new content, to see who reads it and to get some key insights about what your core audience liked (or disliked) about it.

Let’s try to explain this by drawing an analogy…

The content restaurant and good customer service

Imagine for a second that you’re running a busy high-street restaurant. You want to keep your regular diners happy, but also want to attract new diners to your establishment. So you spend a lot of time creating new dishes, with all kinds of different ingredients, and run a new menu each week to keep the food fresh and interesting for existing and new customers.

As the head chef, you pour your heart and soul into each dish and then place it lovingly on the pass to be taken to your diners, never once coming face-to-face with your diners.

If that were the end of the process, you’d have a pretty poor idea of how effective your new menu was, right?

The chef will only find out if their new culinary creation is a success by asking the front-of-house staff to pass back feedback from customers. To mark a new dish as a triumph, you need to know:

  • How many diners, including new customers, came to each service (acquiring customers)
  • How many plates were ordered (demand)
  • How happy the diners were with the food (quality)
  • How many customers sent the dish back (disappointment)
  • How many customers would recommend your food to a friend (referral)
  • What specific comments were made by satisfied, or unsatisfied, diners (customer feedback)

 

It’s fairly obvious that putting the plate on the pass is far from being the end of the process – in fact, it’s the start of a process that refines the performance of each and every dish on the menu.

So why should content creation be any different?

You’re bringing together your choice of ingredients to create online content that you HOPE your target audience will find appealing, and will want to consume.

In reality, an awful lot of the content you post simply won’t get the audience you’d hoped it would – to use the culinary analogy, you won’t always always get new diners visiting your content restaurant. So stopping at the point you post your content (putting your content plate at the pass) is not going to help you improve that situation.

What’s needed is a way to record, track and analyse the way each landing page and piece of new content performs over time, and then act to improve that performance.

Tracking your online performance

Google Analytics, online reporting dashboards and site statistics give you a huge pool of data about how and when your online content is being consumed. And if you track and measure the right metrics, this data can reveal all kinds of insights about your website.

Your online analytics can be broken down into three key areas:

  • Acquisition – in other words, how successful you are at getting visitors to come to the site. To make your content work effectively, you need to tempt people to your website in the first instance. This is the critical first step in making content deliver.
  • Behaviour – what are your visitors doing once they land on your site? Are they staying on the landing pages, or are they ‘bouncing’ out of your site as soon as they arrive? What kind of content do they like, and what pages are they avoiding like the plague?
  • Conversion – are your visitors clicking on your call-to-action buttons, or filling out your contact forms in the way you’d hoped they would? Are you managing to convince them to move seamlessly through your user interface with the desired actions?

Getting yourself familiar with these key areas of your online metrics will give you a far better picture of the performance of your website. And, helpfully, Google offers a completely free online training course to get you up to speed with their Google Analytics reporting tools.

Google Analytics Academy runs you through every element of analytics, giving you the overview and skills you need to understand your online numbers.

I’d heartily recommend taking the course and getting yourself up to speed.

Track, analyse and improve!

So if you want your website to thrive and deliver the value you really need it to, it’s vital that you get your head around analytics and reporting on your online performance.

In the same way that FD Works, as accountants, help your agency to track, review and keep score of performance, you’ve got to be equally proactive about analysing your online performance. And when you spot potential issues – dead landing pages, poor page views for a blog theme etc. – it’s vital to do something about it.

We help our business clients to improve their financial performance through careful analysis and planning, and the self-same approach needs to be applied to making your online presence and digital marketing do the best job possible.

Learn Google Analytics

Start your analytics journey with Google’s own Google Analytics Academy online training.

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Content consultant and writer at CommsBreakdown