You’ve scoured the web looking for digital and in-person partnerships and networking opportunities. You’ve planted the seed for creating quality content that really showcases how awesome your brand is. Now it’s time to make sure you’re covering all of your bases by expanding your strategy and tapping into the incredible power of content analytics.
Adopting a multi-channel strategy can be a critical way for you create a smooth and dynamic experience for your visitors. Research shows that buying behaviors are incorporating a number of different channels, like scoping out a product in-store, doing lunchtime online research via search engines and social media, and ultimately buying a similar item a week later from their iPhone while lying in bed.
And to make the most of your multi-channel strategy, as well as all of the other strategies we’ve discussed so far, you’ll need to get familiar with your performance data. Content analysis is essential if you want to drive traffic to your store effectively, as it can inform your marketing strategies and tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have some pretty impressive built-in content analysis functionality. Social media analytics tools show you things like demographic data of your followers and which of your posts have gotten the most activity. There are also some great third-party tools that compile more extensive data, or help you crunch the numbers in more meaningful ways.
Then there’s the mother of free content analysis tools: Google Analytics. It allows you to drill down into hyper-specific information – even which browser or OS your desktop and mobile visitors came from.
In this chapter, we’ll discuss the key tenets of a multi-channel strategy, along with how to use content analysis tools, social media analytics and Google Analytics to track and optimize your performance.
Some people might come across your content in a guest post, while others might read your product description on social media. Visually impaired people might have access to your content through your podcast. When you are a huge producer of content and your target audience lies beyond Facebook, you have unique problems that other store owners might not understand.
Incredibly, a multi-channel content strategy is an effective solution to the problem. One master plan can encompass all areas of your store’s online presence, including blog content, guest posts on other websites, social media postings, and more.
Leaving paid channels out, you can develop a smart, integrated content strategy for all other channels. Here’s how to do that:
Before posting content you must have a clear understanding of the types of customers your brand deals with and the behaviors of key segments you aim to target. In the ecommerce universe, personas refer to fictional characters developed to represent the different types of people that might visit your website.
In most cases, they’re synthesized from answers collected from surveys. For instance, a merchant can send out an email survey that questions subscribers on their browsing habits, device usage, attitude, etc. If you have an already established ecommerce store, there are content analysis tools you likely already have in place that can help you gain a better understanding of your potential and current visitors.
Content analysis tools can help you gather insights on your potential customers. Some examples of tools include Google Analytics Audience Reports, if you have Google Analytics set up for your website, as well as Facebook Insights, which as some robust information on psychographics of your target audience.
Your content analysis should include auditing your content to see how it’s performing. This step addresses all the free marketing channels. This is the point where you use all details from your persona to conduct a content audit of your current situation. A content audit could help you determine where you can make the most impact with content marketing.
The idea is to map out what assets need to be created from scratch and what you need to effectively repurpose your story to distribute on other channels. Ask yourself:
Out of this content audit will come some prioritization, and more tactical things needed to execute a multi-channel content strategy.
For better or worse, multi-channel content marketing works successfully when it’s a bespoke affair, carefully planned to deliver tangible business results and custom-built to captivate your audience over the long term. But just because the content process is a little fragmented doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tried-and-tested solutions you can use to keep your content marketing engine running at peak performance.
And for ecommerce companies, there’s no better structural hub than a well-organized content calendar. When your content strategy is laid out on one calendar, it becomes easier to focus on deadlines, keep yourself organized, and be more productive. Planning ahead can also result in higher quality content by providing you with ample time for research and publishing.
Assuming you see the logic of setting up a content calendar, the next step is to determine what information you want to track.
For instance, alongside the publication date you might want to include:
We advise only using categories that are absolutely necessary and removing any extra fields. If the spreadsheet you use for the content calendar is too cluttered or large, it could deter you from using it.
Additionally, there are plenty of free calendar templates out there. We’ve listed a few handy ones below.
CMI or Content Marketing Institute offers a content calendar that consists of four worksheets: a highlight of important dates, description of a specific blog posts, content type and another for listing additional content types. The layout is pretty simple but you can customize it to include any additional field that’s relevant to your content marketing goals.
The second useful content calendar is a social media content calendar from Hootsuite. This should cover all of the social media communication you’ll use to promote your posts, organized by time and date. It will solve some of the biggest problems that ecommerce marketers face – ignoring certain channels, missing important events, and breaks in publishing. While social media engagement can’t be planned in advance, social media publishing can be, which is where this calendar is a blessing in disguise.
This is a robust calendar that not only tracks pieces of content week after week, but also provides spaces for downloadable assets and brainstorming. Therefore, it’s intended to be the single source of truth for all your marketing and publishing activities. There’s even a field for establishing your blogging schedule, which could change during certain times of the year, such as during the holiday season.
[highlight]Quick Tip: Be coherent across your content distribution channels; aim for a consistent look, feel and tone of voice. Implement it through when you’re engaging with users on a one-to-one basis. Adapting to the platforms you use to get your messaging across is important, however, so is maintaining a consistent brand identity.[/highlight]
Looking back at the channels listed in your content calendar, certainly not every channel will reach every persona. So for every channel being considered, you need to identify which personas will be served.
Once you’ve listed your target channels on the calendar, look at it holistically. Perform a content analysis and adjust your strategy if needed. You may find that you have listed channels that fail to reach your most critical personas. Or, you may find that you’re attempting to address too many personas through a single channel – and it seems wise to split them. For instance, Target has multiple Twitter accounts used for general news, style updates and discounts.
Tools such as Sendible and Hootsuite allow users to monitor multiple channels and engage with audiences through a single interface. Not only does this result in time-saving, it also helps keep things organized and track conversions. These tools often also have built-in social media analytics tools.
Increasingly, ecommerce brands are also looking to integrate distribution channels into CRM systems and this is particularly important for companies offering customer service. Instead of having to start the conversation again every time a visitor uses a new channel, the process can be much more efficient when the conversation history is available.
After setting up your multi-channel content strategy, it’s time to do some content analysis. Review your data to identify which channels are performing better and which could use more focus. This will help allocate time and resources more efficiently for the next campaign. Although it can be challenging to measure the effectiveness of your campaign will full precision, analytics do a pretty good job at providing deep insight on campaign performance. The next sections explain how a content analysis can help optimize your content strategy.
Social media can be an effective channel for driving free traffic to your ecommerce store, but it requires more than just regular posting. Many inexperienced owners focus all their time on creating large amounts of content and distributing it to their audience, without taking the time to properly analyze how the content is performing.
One of the best things about using social media for marketing is that it’s easy to track a variety of metrics that show how content is being consumed by your audience. Many platforms have a number of content analysis and social media analytics tools. Analyzing these insights allows you to do three important things:
[highlight]Quick Tip: If your content analysis tells you anything notable or useful, put them into a social media spreadsheet or document. This way, you’ll always have it on hand to reference it when you’re making posting decisions.[/highlight]
Each social media platform comes with a built-in content analysis system that lets you monitor metrics for free. Many of the metrics are common to most platforms, such as likes and visits. Metrics can be divided into two categories – post-level metrics (the data from each individual post) and page-level metrics (the overall data from your social media account).
Let’s take a look at how to monitor metrics on three platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
You can use Facebook Insights to find metrics for your Facebook page. To access Insights, click on the Insights tab on your business page.
On the Overview page, you can see basic metrics such as Page Views, Page Likes and Reach. You can also export your data to an Excel or .csv file to make viewing easier. Under the Overview tab in the menu, you can select other pages such as Posts or Events for more detailed information.
Here are some post-level metrics you should focus on:
Here are some page-level metrics you should focus on:
On the Analytics Home Page, you can see a summary of your Twitter activity from the last 28 days. If you click on the Tweets tab, you can see the engagement data for each individual tweet. If you click on the Audience tab, you can see useful information about your audiences such as interests, income and buying habits.
Here are some post-level metrics you should focus on:
Here are some page-level metrics you should focus on:
You can use LinkedIn Analytics to find metrics for your LinkedIn page. To access LinkedIn Analytics, click on the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage. Below Manage, select your company page and click the Analytics tab. On this page, you can see important reach and engagement data. Under the Analytics tab, you can also choose Visitors, Updates or Followers for more detailed information.
Here are some post-level metrics you should focus on:
Here are some page-level metrics you should focus on:
On Instagram, only those who’ve created a business account can access the analytics feature. Hence, store owners who are using their personal profile for selling or promoting their products and services need to bring in at least one or two tools to access everything. For Snapchat, a third-party analytics tool is a necessity as there’s no built-in analytics feature available. With that in mind, here are some useful tools for monitoring Instagram & Snapchat analytics.
Union Metrics does a free Instagram account checkup to evaluate your performance. Though the report isn’t as comprehensive as others, it provides handy nuggets of data for Instagram account owners. It lets you determine which hashtags to place in your posts, what type of content to post less or more of, and the best time to post. In addition, it gives you high level summary of your top followers and reminds you to interact with them.
Snaplytics is the market leader for Snapchat analytics. It allows users to track key metrics including views, open rates, completion rate, and the average number of screenshots per Snapchat story. Other tidbits offered by the app include competitive benchmarking and the source through which followers stumbled upon a company’s Snapchat account.
[highlight]Quick Tip: Get in the habit of pulling your reports monthly and making comparisons to previous months, even if you’re not convinced that there’s much to see. Consistent social media monitoring can help you catch any spikes or interesting findings while they’re happening as opposed to in hindsight.[/highlight]
The first thing you should do is bring all your content analysis data together. You can do this by importing all the important metrics into an Excel spreadsheet.
Alternately, you can use a third party app which will compile data from all your social media platforms. Buffer, Cyfe, and Quintly all have free plans that let you see major engagement stats for all your updates.
Once you’ve compiled your data, you need to set a performance baseline for each metric on each channel. To do this, you’ll need to take data from an extended period of time (three months is usually enough) and find the average performance of each metric.
As you add more content, you can perform a qualitative content analysis to see how it performs compared to your baseline. If your content consistently performs under your baseline, you know you need to change what you’re doing. If your content performs above the baseline, it’s a sign that your content is working effectively.
We’ve spent this entire ebook talking about driving traffic to your store, but it’s critical that you’re also tracking your efforts to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Google Analytics is a life-saver when it comes to qualitative content analysis research. It offers some comprehensive reporting options so that you can really drill down into your data and turn a bunch of numbers into meaningful, actionable conclusions.
In this section, we’ll discuss how you can use Analytics to perform a content analysis and tweak your strategies, as well as how to install Google Analytics onto your ecommerce store.
How Analytics Helps Drive Traffic
The main way you can use your content analysis data to drive traffic is to look at the results from specific strategies you’ve implemented or channels you’re using. If the strategy is resulting in sales and you’re getting a strong ROI for your efforts, you know to double-down. If it isn’t bringing you enough results to justify the amount of effort or money you’re investing, you know to adjust or ditch it.
Your analytics data can help answer questions like:
How to Install
Go to www.google.com/analytics and click ‘Sign In’ → ‘Analytics’ from the top right dropdown menu. If you already have a Google Account and you’d like to connect it to your Analytics account, use it to sign in. If you don’t already have an account, now’s the time. Click ‘More options’ → ‘Create account’.
Choose an email address, fill out the form, and create your account. Then, return to the Analytics login page and log in.
On the next page, click ‘Sign up,’ then fill out the form on the next page:
Now you’ll be taken to your Analytics dashboard. On this screen, you’ll see the Global Site Tag that you’ll need to paste into your website or ecommerce platform’s backend.
[highlight]Quick Tip: Note the blue callout that says: “If you are using a 3rd party web hosting provider like WordPress, GoDaddy, or Wix, you will need to follow their instructions to set up Google Analytics on your website.” This also applies to specialized ecommerce platforms, as they typically have a simple setup process for Google Analytics.[/highlight]
To enable ecommerce tracking functionality in your Analytics account, go to ‘Admin’ (the gear icon at the bottom of the navigation panel). In the third column titled ‘View’, select ‘Ecommerce Settings’. Toggle the ‘1: Enable Ecommerce” button to ‘ON’. Then click ‘Next step’.
On the next screen, enable ‘2: Enhanced Ecommerce Settings’ by toggling that on too, and click ‘Submit’.
Now that your Analytics account is set to read incoming data, it’s time to tell your website to send that data to Analytics. This part takes place on the backend of your site or platform.
If you’re on Shopify, it’s easy to integrate Google Analytics into your site. Log in to your Shopify Admin account. In your navigation panel under ‘Sales Channels’, click ‘Online Store’ → ‘Preferences’.
Paste your Global Site Tag into the Google Analytics code box and click ‘Save’.
If You Don’t Have a Shopify Store
If you aren’t on a specialized ecommerce platform and there isn’t an extension or plugin for linking Analytics, consult your developer (or hire one for the job). This is because each transaction has a separate ID, which should update dynamically in the tracking code. The manual coding process can become a complex and confusing rabbit hole without the help of a professional, so it’s well worth the investment.
[highlight]Quick Tip: If your platform isn’t listed here, do a quick Google search for ‘set up google analytics ecommerce for [your platform]’ or contact the platform’s support team.[/highlight]
Let’s break down the main tabs you’ll see in the navigation panel, the features of each, and how you can use apply this content analysis data to your business strategy development and analysis.
The templates for customized dashboards, reports, and alerts that you’ve created or added.
These can be an incredible time-saver, and there are some fantastic pre-built options out there that you just add to your account very easily. The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery has tons to choose from. Once you find one you like, importing it into your Analytics account takes just a few clicks.
Select the account and property you’d like to add it to and click ‘Create’.
This is how the All-in-One Ecommerce dashboard will appear when you click it from the Dashboards section:
Some other helpful ecommerce dashboards and reports include:
[highlight]Quick Tip: The Solutions Gallery offers more than just dashboard and reports. It also offers goals, segments, audience definitions, channel grouping, and attribution models. Browse the gallery to see what you might benefit from adding to your repertoire.[/highlight]
A look at the activity on your website that’s happening right now.
You can use it to see how effective a current promotion, sale, or newly-released piece of content is performing, or see how your site performs at certain times of the day. A pretty cool feature, though it has a tendency to feed that little neurotic voice inside every entrepreneur. You know, the one that prefers to ditch your responsibilities and just spend the whole day watching the numbers fluctuate.
Who’s visiting your site, including demographics, interests, lifetime value, and even the browser and operating system they visited from.
When it comes to content analysis research, it’s important to look at who’s visiting your website and how they’re interacting with your content. You can see your new or returning visitors, bounce rates (number of visitors who left without visiting a second page), how often a visitor came to your site, how many pages they visited during each visit (called a ‘session’), and how much time they spent on each page.
How your visitors found your site, examining traffic sources like organic and paid traffic, referral traffic, social media, AdWords, and special campaigns.
This tab is important because it tells you how people found your website – meaning it can inform your content analysis research and marketing strategies. If you landed guest posts and podcast visits, or joined social media groups a forums, you can look at the ‘All Traffic’ → ‘Referrals’ section to see which of these sources generated traffic. You’ll also likely find some unexpected traffic sources that you may be able to capitalize on moving forward.
Information about your site and how visitors interact with it, like which pages they’re visiting and how they’re performing.
This data shows you similar information as Audience, except through the lens of page performance instead of what visitors are doing. For example, you can see which pages have the highest bounce rate, which can signal that it needs some work. It also shows the speed and load time of each page so you can improve pages that are suffering from these factors.
When it comes to content analysis, you don’t just want to see who’s on your site: you want to see whether their visits are turning into sales. This tab contains an ‘Ecommerce’ section, which is what you enabled during the setup process. The tab also shows results for special goals (like filling out a form) and funnels (a user process that involves multiple steps) that you’ve set up, as well as ecommerce data.
In the Ecommerce section, you can examine each of your products to see which ones are being bought, in what quantities, and how much revenue they’re bringing in. Under the ‘Transactions’ section, you’ll find transactional data like revenue, shipping, tax, and quantity information. This data can provide insights into strategies like quantity discounts and free shipping for minimum order values. In the ‘Time to purchase’ section, you can see how many days and sessions it takes to purchase items, starting from your most recent campaign through to the purchase.
If you’ve poked around in Analytics, you can see that there’s a virtually infinite amount of configurations and opportunities to get really, really deep into your qualitative content analysis research. So keep doing your research to expand your knowledge on how you can become an Analytics wizard and magically transform data into sales.
Brainstorm and outline a plan for site promotion through one additional channel that you haven’t tapped into yet. Even if you’re still in the ‘theory’ stage of implementing the strategies we’ve discussed, you should have a good idea of which channel might benefit you based on the research you’ve done and what you can infer from your audience’s preferences and behaviors.
Eventually, you’ll want to master the multi-channel experience by delivering an intuitive and immersive experience for your shoppers – one that perfectly complements the way they want to purchase online.
Once you’ve stepped into the ‘action’ stage of creating this experience, prioritize content analysis. You can look at your social media analytics to confirm or disprove the theories you’ve put into place. Did your guest post from Chapter 3 bring in hundreds of new visits? See if you can write another one on that site, or one on a similar site. If it fizzed out after much ado, don’t sink any more time into that site and move onto a different strategy that worked.
If you haven’t already, I recommend that you drop everything and install Google Analytics on your site right now! Every passing minute is precious performance data that could go toward bringing more eyes and more dollars into your store.