Web Analytics and Optimization Blog

Why care so much about content?

Well if you’re in the media business you’re already well aware that content is king!

I like to think about it by comparing media or content driven sites to an e-commerce site. On an e-commerce site, your products or services are the most fundamental pieces of content on your site, 9 times out of 10 (warning: completely fictitious statistic) that’s the reason why people even showed up in the first place.

Similarly, on media or content-driven sites, the articles, videos or audio streams provided are the most fundamental and most important pieces of information on a website.  Without interesting, engaging content what incentive do you provide your visitors to even come to your site in the first place in dubai?

Why then do many of us in the media or content-driven industry measure content effectiveness strictly by considering only page views?

The need for better metrics

Don’t get me wrong page views for any given media site are crucial, as a matter of fact due to the revenue models (see my posts on net present value as well asimportant metrics for media sites overall) that come with traditional media sites,  page views is one of the most important metrics.

But when you really dissect exactly what a page view is as a metric, it really isn’t sexy at all.  A page view simply tells us that a page did in fact load, that’s it.  I have no idea if you liked what you saw, read it, told a dozen friends about it, came to it by accident, visited 15 more pages afterwards, found it fascinating enough to discuss it…you can see where I’m going with this.

I like to think of page views at a wonderful proxy metric, if everything goes right then yes we absolutely would expect to see eventual increases in overall page views.  What page views fail to provide us with however is what I’ll refer to as measures of content potential.  Page views give us a bit of a measure for what is working, but fail to let us know what will work or even why something worked in Dubai.

Measures of Content Engagement & Potential

So what are the deeper measures we require to really understand content potential?  To start, how about we look at a current leader in online media, USA Today.

As an example let’s take a look at one specific article.

Why did I pick USA Today? Because of the pretty enhanced number of story tools that they have.  Let’s break it down.

Commenting
USA Today encourages its users to comment on their articles.  Why is commenting important to measuring content effectiveness?  Ever heard the phrase, “there’s no such thing as bad press?”  That pretty well sums up my feelings on commenting.

Discussions surrounding content, whether they’re positive or negative indicates a keen interest of a group of people visiting your website.  Understanding both the number of comments on any specific piece of content (or groups of those pieces) receives as well as the average number of comments per piece of content is critical to understanding overall site performance.

An experiment I’d love to be able to run is one where you toy with a content comment velocity threshold. When a given piece of content receives a number of comments (x) over a certain amount of time (y) a content management system (working in tandem with a web analytics tool) automatically identifies this as “hot” content. What action is taken? Perhaps the system automatically starts to place the piece of content in an “up and coming” content widget that’s placed on pages. Perhaps the story is automatically featured on a homepage and content vertical page.  Perhaps the system integrates some user segmentation to align this story with other users that have commented on similar stories.  The possibilities are endless (well almost)!

Finally, at a more fundamental level, commenting leverages the interactive power of the Internet.  Most other media distribution channels are one-way.  I send you my message and you take it whether you like it or not.  Obviously in the online world we can actually have a conversation with our audience.

Taking the time to actually analyze the content of comments on popular or “hot” articles themselves provides invaluable insights.  Many times editorial staff is able to analyze the content of these comments to gain ideas for future editorial segments on the site.  While this shouldn’t be taken to an extreme and brands should always retain some editorial control (just because people want more Britney Spears doesn’t mean the New York Times should be doing homepage featurettes everyday), there’s nothing wrong with having a tool that essentially becomes an idea generator for future stories.

As a quick example, what if on a news article relating to the upcoming US presidential election, a few comments stated they were curious about an aspect of Barrack Obama’s childhood and remembered reading something on the subject but had since forgotten.  This is a perfect opportunity for the editorial staff to respond in real time to the visitor’s request by generating content or linking to existing content that answers the query as well as posting a response on that article for others to see.

Author: Be unique group digital marketing agency in dubai

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