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How can analytics improve content management?

Customer data and behavior analytics from tools like Google Analytics can give content managers insight into the kind of content site visitors want.

Content management isn't easy, especially in the context of building a valuable web property.

Content teams may feel daunted by a wide range and high volume of content, especially in an age of increasingly dynamic customer-facing applications. But content management analytics and search engine optimization (SEO) can provide insights to help content teams better understand their audiences and develop a content strategy, which increases the value of the organization's content management investment.

Explore four ways that content management analytics can improve organizations' content strategies.

1. Tracks website traffic

Tools like Google Analytics can help track website traffic. Commonly, a small percentage of a site's pages pull in most of the site's traffic, and Google Analytics can help content teams track website traffic and determine what content is effective. These analytics reveal how much time viewers spend on a page, which helps teams understand whether the content engaged users.

Google Analytics can identify keywords that drive people to a page and determine which webpages they came from. This insight can help teams assess the effectiveness of their social media strategy. Google Analytics also offers more nuanced reports that teams can customize based on their needs.

2. Understands audience behavior

Analytics tools can measure bounce rate -- the percentage of viewers who leave the site after viewing a single page -- which can indicate whether a page engages users or not.

Tools like Google Analytics can measure visitors' geographic footprints, illustrating how well the site performs with intended markets and suggesting potential additional markets based on organic uptake. Geographic, browser and platform metrics can help content managers target new markets and platforms -- like mobile vs. desktop -- to pursue.

A list that lays out the benefits of using Google Analytics
Google Analytics offers content teams insights into how well their pages and websites perform over time.

Some tools offer behavior flow as a metric, which tracks visitors' viewing patterns and suggests their search intent. These sources can indicate what types of advertising and content marketing work best, compared to organic page views.

If content teams evaluate viewing patterns, they can optimize their content marketing plans and build or refresh their content strategy. When teams know why people visit a site, they better understand the best and most engaging content to develop.

3. Understands when to update or reorganize content

Some analytics tools can integrate web analytics and a content management system (CMS) to automatically elevate, or reposition, popular content within a site. News websites frequently employ this strategy so the more hits an article gets, the higher up on the homepage it appears. Content teams should boost this content manually based on analytics data before automating the process.

4. Enables predictive content

Content management analytics can also enable predictive content, which uses customer data to determine how customers may receive or react to new content. This functionality generally requires a customized implementation and high interoperability between the analytics tool and the CMS.

Predictive content tools aggregate all site traffic data over time, then apply machine learning to that data.While content teams must look at specific patterns within site traffic data, they can also examine overall trends in site usage. For example, an analytics tool can demonstrate subtle changes in viewer behavior and reveal trends in customer interests and their causes.

Content managers can use web analytics, SEO and predictive content to find useful insights, and gauge and respond to dynamic viewer interests. These techniques can help create a data-based content strategy to produce appropriate content and ensure maximum viewer interest and engagement.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in April 2019 by Scott Robinson and was updated in September 2022 by Jordan Jones.

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