Publishers, Gauge How Users Interact with Your Content

Google Analytics Event Flow Report
Google Analytics Event Flow Report

All analytics platforms track how many visitors reach each page on your website. But content interaction is about so much more than page views. It’s about what users do once they get to a page.

Content interaction should inform important decisions publishers make about how to invest in content and improve the user experience. More important, it makes a compelling case for advertisers who want to align their messages with the right content to target their ideal customers.

Some publishers, however, don’t capture engagement data in a granular way. They retain the longstanding bias in publishing that page views is the most relevant metric, most likely because it’s easy to track and easy to understand through a standard report. They don’t understand how relatively simple customization in tools like Google Analytics can provide a much more holistic view of content engagement.

Yes, it’s important to know that a particular page was viewed a certain number of times. But that doesn’t tell you whether the visitor read some or all of the content, or what else they did on the page.

Dig deeper using various analytics features to better understand how users are engaging with your content. This will enable you to make data-driven decisions.

5 Engagement Metrics to Keep Your Eyes On

  1. Scroll Tracking: This tells you the share of users who are making it to the end of your content. Scroll tracking paints a picture for your content managers and creators that shows how your audience engages with different article topics and formats. Scroll tracking shows whether users click through two or 20 slides in a slide show, whether they make it to the end of a long listicle, whether they move forward through multiple pages. One of our clients, a business publisher, uses scroll tracking to determine the best ad positioning to catch users’ eyes.
  2. Video Tracking: Similar to scroll tracking, this function shows the share of users that are watching your entire video. Do people who play or stop a video go on to take other actions during the same session? Understanding how much of the content gets consumed — for example, if viewers are making it 30 or 45 seconds into a 60-second video — helps you improve video production and editing. A medical publisher we work with has developed a paid sponsorship model that’s priced based on engagement — not just views — with video content.
  3. Interstitial/Pop-up Tracking: What happens when users can’t access your content because of an ad blocker, paid wall interstitial, or cookie opt-in interstitial? Are they bouncing because of these? As more publishers are putting up interstitials or paywalls to fence in some of their content, information about who’s viewing what, where the interstitial was served, and whether a visitor engaged with it to subscribe is essential. With knowledge around this metric, you can create more effective messaging that prompts users to pay for content.
  4. Basic Event Tracking: This helps you see how users interact with other elements on the page, such as rail ads, cross-sell or “you may also like” content, social sharing, or clicking outbound links. How are they navigating these elements on mobile devices?
  5. Virtual Pageviews: If you feature long-form or slide show content that doesn’t trigger a change in the page URL, out-of-the-box analytics programs can’t track that content. Custom tracking creates a virtual pageview that offers insight into this type of content consumption.

Going beyond basic page view analysis requires customization, but it is well worth the effort. We can help design the right dimensions and cut through the clutter. When Page Titles and URLs don’t suffice, we implement Custom Dimension, Virtual Page Path, Dimension Widening, and/or Content Grouping features to provide the needed granularity and summary for content analysis.

If you are just looking at page view, then you are missing other metrics that could help push the needle forward. Understanding how users interact with your site helps your editors and writers produce more content that drives the right kind of user action. And everything that helps your content team helps your advertising team — because you’re selling engaged readers.

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When you reach out to Empirical Path, you get in touch directly with our fully qualified and experienced consultants.   Whether you need an analytics audit, training, support, or a custom quote on Google Analytics 360 licensing, let’s talk today.