September 13, 2018

Google Analytics in Journalist Work: A Brief Advisor

How to check if your material falls into the right audience? How to investigate whether you are optimally using the potential of the Internet to promote content on your site and how do you draw conclusions from this knowledge that will allow you to get better results? The most popular analytics tool in the world, Google Analytics, comes to the aid.

They should use it, because in journalistic work he helps to obtain invaluable information. Information that helps to adapt content to user expectations and optimally utilize the potential of the website on which it is published.

How to do it? Let’s show it on the example of statistics for the largest blog for journalism students. Let’s look at some of the most important indicators that you can use in your daily work.

Audience. What we know about it and how to use it

Number of users and pageviews. According to these data, apparently, each author follows. Everything is clear here: the more, the better. However, let’s also look at the other options – they also have a lot of useful information, both for the entire site and for individual pages, that is, articles.

  1. Sessions per user

This indicator tells us how many times a statistic has appeared on a page during the selected period. The higher the result, the better. If it is close to 1, this means that visitors are not returning to your site. How to change it? Publish interesting topics systematically, promote materials where your readers are – for example, in social networks.

  1. Pages / Session

How many pages a statistic user visits per visit is another parameter that shows how a site engages an audience. The more pages the better. The closer to 1, the worse. This result means that the Internet user enters your site, reads the article and goes out (or goes out without reading).

How to draw it? If the problem is that the reader leaves the page after reading the article, show that you have more material on the subject of interest. Use the Call To Action mechanism – encourage you to do some action: give links to develop the context (“may be of interest”), display articles on similar topics, top-notch materials, add (to the extent possible) image galleries and multimedia. Take care of clear and interesting navigation.

  1. Bounce rate

Worse, if a visitor escapes from your site without reading content. The bounce rate shows how many people leave the site without any action, even those that do not require an update. A decent result will be 40-50%. If the result exceeds 70%, you should start worrying. There may be several reasons for this. Perhaps it’s a misleading description on Google or in social networks. The site may be unreadable, content is unattractive or lacking in encouragement for further action. How to fix it? Of course, you can use all the solutions from the previous paragraph. And take additional care of the forum or comment system. Enliven the discussion, take part in it, give readers the opportunity to contact the author or at least have the opportunity to express such an idea. Do not use invasive advertisements.

  1. Average session duration

The metric shows how much time an average user visits per site on your site. If your result is measured in seconds – it is an exciting cause. If the rest of the engagement options are also low, this means that the content does not reach those users or the page does not work properly. If your result – about a minute or more – it means that there is potential. How to hold a user forever? All solutions offered earlier will help. Add to them also the development of topics, interesting multimedia – such as video materials, slide shows, etc.

How in this background is a blog that we took as an example? He still has a lot of work ahead. Not only in search of new readers, but also in better engaging other users to the rest of the texts. Nevertheless, the blog is already working well with those who read a specific post. The low failure rate is the result of a good comment system: users are willing to participate in discussions.

Well submit your site on smartphones

More than half of Internet traffic is generated by mobile devices. Do not forget about smartphone and tablet users today. Google Analytics lets you check how mobile users interact with your website and content.

Now you can compare quantitative and qualitative results for certain types of devices. Mobile users are by definition more impatient and less loyal, but the difference does not have to be great. If mobile interaction is very different from “stationary,” it’s a signal that the mobile version looks bad. It’s possible the site is unreadable on small screens or the entire site is not working properly. Check it out and fix it.

The blog we take for an example needs to improve its mobile version. Smartphone and tablet users obviously leave the page without any activity.

And although the result of mobile bounce itself is decent, against the background of computer failure it should serve as a signal lamp.

And what about separation on separate channels? Let’s have a guide to the structure of traffic all over the internet. Earlier, the research company Gemius reported that in Poland the structure looks like this:

  • computers: 47.4%;
  • smartphones: 45.8%,
  • tablets: 3.2%;

The rest of the traffic is generated by other devices – smart TVs, console, etc.

If you create content for a wide range of readers, your results should be comparable. The younger your users are, the bigger part of mobile devices. The author of our blog should check why journalists are reluctant to read it on their mobile.

However, demographic data for your audience will be useful not only for understanding device distribution. If you are working on the portal for students, and do the topics of retirement, cosmetics or women’s fashion – you need to make sure you reach the expected target audience.

The blog that we took for example, it succeeds. If the situation is the opposite, choose more accurate headlines and descriptions for Google, speak the language of your audience, and promote content in those places where your audience appears most often.

Where does the audience come from?

How to check out where your readers come from? How to evaluate the effectiveness of each of them? How do I understand individual traffic sources? Google Analytics will help you get answers to these questions.

It looks like this:

  • Organic Search – The audience comes from search engines.
  • Direct – Users who enter the address manually or those that have saved the site to the favorites.
  • Social (Social) – Users come from social media.
  • Referral (referrals) – The audience comes through links on other sites.
  • Paid Search – The audience comes from paid advertising.

The structure of your audience depends on how the “moving” materials are. If you work intensely on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn then you have to see the effect of that. Qualitative parameters (bounce rate, page / session, average session duration) allow you to evaluate whether your target audience is reading on separate channels.

Pay special attention to the results of the “Direct” metric – the higher it is, the more loyal your audience is. She comes to you consciously, specifically to read your material.

Interesting conclusions can also be made on the basis of keywords and phrases that allow readers to find your content when they search on Google (to see this, you need to integrate an Analytics account with one more application – Google Search Console).

The first position is people who prohibit the browser to monitor their behavior on the Internet. Individuals who are busy with privacy are becoming more and more – and that’s good. However, the rest of the data is enough to get results.

You can check what queries are written by users who find your site. Compare the number of clicks with the number of links in the search results. It measures the Click Through Rate parameter. 100% means that everyone who saw him clicked on the link. The closer the result is, the better. The “average position” shows where the queries have a link to your page.

An analysis of these data will give you answers to several questions and suggest some ideas:

What information is being sought by people who come to your site. Create more stuff on similar topics.

Are your headlines and headlines to the texts interesting? If you have a lot of impressions and few clicks, it’s a signal that the headline and page description do not encourage users to read the text. Work on it.

Is your audience the one you want to attract? If you do not see a response to the most important topics for you – work on their positioning.

Of course, the Google Analytics tool provides a much more in-depth analysis of data. The proposed set is just the beginning. But on the basis of these indicators, you can see if your content effectively covers the audience. After all, today the journalist should not only create good materials, but also be able to get to his readers.

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