Understanding your audience is one of the most critical components of content marketing. By knowing who is reading what, and how they’re reacting to the content that’s being shared, you can really start to understand how your content is performing, and how it can be improved to better match your audience.
Google Analytics can be used to help you identify several audience behaviors. These include:
- Which age and gender groups are consuming your content
- Where your content is being consumed geographically
- How they are consuming it (mobile vs. desktop)
Let’s take a look at some scenarios in which Google Analytics provides some great insights that can help to improve posts that already exist, but can also give you insights for upcoming content marketing efforts.
Identifying Age and Gender for Individual Blog Posts:
When marketers do audience personification before writing posts, age, and gender are likely very important in identifying who they’re trying to reach. That said, you can learn quite a bit by diving in.
In order to get to the post you’re looking to evaluate, simply follow this path in Google Analytics: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages > Search the URL you’re looking for.
Once you’ve found that URL, click it. Lastly, you’ll use the secondary dimension feature to find age and gender, which both fall under “users.”
As an example of how this can be beneficial, we’ve taken a post that discusses pricing of a service. For this industry, women are consistently doing the majority of the searching. But as you’ll see below, when it comes to researching price, it’s actually the opposite:
- Age: 25-34 and 35-44 result in over 55 percent of the visitors for this post. 18-24 is the next closest age group.
- Gender: Males make up roughly 54 percent of the visitors to this post.
So based on just that alone, you’d get the impression that your idea is just slightly male-heavy for a piece about pricing for this particular service, but not enough to focus only on males, and that the audience also tends to be a younger, more price conscious group with the two oldest demographic ranges creating the least amount of visitors.
BUT you can certainly go beyond that, and you definitely should. Visitors themselves only tell you who has visited the post. You’ll want to know how they received the post.
By simply looking at the average session duration, we quickly find that males only stay on this post for 33 seconds, while females stay for an average of 2:24. This changes everything. We can now see that females are far more interested in the post once they make it there, even if they’re searching for it and coming to our post less often than males.
So what are some takeaways?
- We might want to optimize this post for a younger, female audience.
- For future posts about the pricing of this service, we should start by gearing it towards this audience.
There are also several instances in which knowing the location of your visitor can give you valuable insights you need to more effectively provide the content and solution that the audience needs.
Let’s use a post about the best neighborhoods in NYC for young professionals as an example. This post had the most visits from these five cities:
- New York City
- Los Angeles
I would have only expected two of these to make the list—New York City itself as people look to move around the city, and Washington because it’s relatively close to New York City, and I would anticipate people make that move fairly often. What I didn’t expect was London to be the highest outside of local searches, and for Los Angeles to be next. Those are long moves.
So what can we take away?
- You might not get what you expect. I would have anticipated Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and other cities located much closer to NYC to be in the top group.
- We can now take a look at our post and see if we can make it better for these audiences and also if we can find a way to show that the service ultimately being marketed can be beneficial for people who are moving great distances.
Mobile & Tablet vs. Desktop
Lastly, it’s also crucial to pay attention to how your audience is consuming your content. In order to find this information, follow this path: Audience > Mobile > Overview.
For the sake of this post, the example website is used as follows:
- 55 percent mobile
- 30 percent desktop
- 15 percent tablet
The majority of websites are likely seeing something similar. Mobile usage keeps rising, so the biggest takeaway is that you should probably make sure that your website works and works well for mobile users. One easy way to at least get an initial idea is how mobile users are responding to your content in comparison to others. If bounce rate, page/session, or average visit duration are worse on mobile than desktop or tablet, there is room for improvement.
Knowing your audience is important. Doing things like audience personification ahead of creating a post is definitely worth it, but it’s also highly beneficial to use the data at your disposal to help drive that process, and also to review how well you initially identified your audience, and then make changes if needed.