I’ve been contributing to Web Analytics World as a guest blogger for several years now. The team at WAW is kind enough to send us fortnightly reports on how much activity our content has seen in the last two weeks. But as an analyst, I ached to understand how my contributions fit into the larger picture for their content marketing strategy. What makes a good content marketing strategy? Are there topics that always do very well? Formats? Authors? What can I learn about the content I’ve published in the past that will help me grow audience and stay awesome to my loyal readers?
The top 50 blog posts (in terms of page views) for 2014 were used for this analysis. Each blog post was read (I mean re-read, cough cough), coded by subject and format, as well as use of the sharing buttons at the top and bottom of each post. I looked at bounce rate, page views, and “sharability” – which is roughly how often the post itself was shared using the buttons.
1) Infographics are the delicious potato chips of content
While there’s no denying that the “list” format is a sure formula for success at getting page views, nothing beats the infographic for getting attention and getting them more engaged with other content on your website. Infographics had the lowest bounce rate (73% vs. an average of 87%) of all content formats, and highest probability to be shared on Twitter, StumbleUpon, and (duh) Pinterest. From a content marketing perspective, they’re like junk food. Everyone loves it, even though it’s not all that substantial (or good for you).
However, while infographics are highly likely to be shared, the experience is over far too soon. Because the human mind processes visual information more quickly, we’re unlikely to “hang out” for long. If we want to think and mull and spend lots of time with Web Analytics World (because, really, who doesn’t?) then the format of choice is a case study or a “how-to” article. Those topics had much higher time on page and lower bounce rates – meatier content takes longer to digest.
2) Oh, Google Analytics, How we Love You
When broken out by topic, Google Analytics posts had the highest overall page views, followed by public relations (PR) topics. (It should be noted that the PR article was written in 2008 and is the most popular blog post for 6 years running. It also has the highest bounce rate, presumably because it’s so old.) Strategically, Google Analytics being the top most viewed content topic makes sense for several reasons:
- Google Analytics is confusing as heck
- It changes a lot, so even experts like me consistently feel stupid
- It’s free, so everyone uses it
- It’s content on a site all about web analytics – and Google Analytics eclipses market share for any other tool
When it comes to sharing that content on Twitter, nothing beats general web analytics explainer and how-to content. Of the users who read the web analytics articles, 24% shared the piece on Twitter. Design best practices are also very popular, tweetable content, with about 20% of readers tweeting it out into the Twittervese.
When it comes to sharing that content on Twitter, nothing beats general web analytics explainer and how-to content. Of the users who read the web analytics articles, 24% shared the piece on Twitter. Design best practices are also very popular, tweetable content, with about 20% of readers tweeting it out into the Twitterverse.
3) Age Ain’t Nothin’ but a Number, Baby
Surprisingly, the Web Analytics World content is aging like fine wine, particularly content that has high “StumbleUpon” sharing. Of all of the content viewed in 2014 to date, only 16% of it was actually generated in 2014. The rest of it is older and looking good with every passing year, just like Sean Connery.
What’s really interesting about the persistent shelf life of really good content is:
- WAW isn’t dusting it off and re-promoting popular pieces. This is all organic search referral traffic.
- Either we guest bloggers are getting better at writing, or our stuff is getting more riveting. Time spent on site is increasing (trend-wise) year over year.
4) Ralf Haberich is a Twitter God
There wasn’t a big relationship between author and some of the key metrics; topic was the biggest predictor of page views. However, whatever Ralf is doing to get more people tweeting his articles is something everyone should be doing. That’s what his next Web Analytics World article should be: How To Be A Twitter God Like Me.
Going back to what we’ve learned from this exercise:
- If you suck at graphic design, stick with a list or “how-to” format; otherwise for maximum sharability, go for an infographic.
- Your subject matter should be a match made in heaven for your business. In this case, Google Analytics content is the most viewed content on Web Analytics World for 2014.
- If you have persistent content that draws in lots of traffic, ask the author for a modern reboot or republish with a disclaimer.
- Of all the social media sharing buttons, StumbleUpon had the highest influence on perpetual traffic.
- If you want to do well on any social network for getting shares, you need to actively participate in that network (see example in the past section… all the successful Twitter shares happen with authors who are active on Twitter).