How to Use Google Analytics With Your Hub for More Data-Driven Marketing

July 16, 2015 Sam Brennand

Uberflip Hub + Google Analytics

According to BuiltWith, 29,641,192 active sites across the web use Google Analytics to track and report on traffic. Since it launched in 2005, Google Analytics has become the undisputed king of analytics tools.

While Uberflip’s Metrics can provide you with an amazing amount of insight into how your content is performing, Google Analytics is a fantastic way to fill in any gaps and run some pretty amazing reports.  

Here are a few key ways to use your Hub and Google Analytics together.

Understand how visitors end up on your Hub

If you’ve ever taken an English class, you’ll be familiar with the 5 Ws + H system - who, what, when, where, why and how. If you’re using a marketing automation integration, Uberflip’s Metrics and your marketing automation reporting will have your Ws covered.

You’ll know who your visitors are, what they’ve consumed, when they consumed it, where they did it (your Hub), and in most cases, why they consumed it.

But what about the ‘H’, or how? How are visitors to your Hub getting there in the first place?

Is it through organic or paid search? Links they see on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook? As a result of emails you send them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?

If you’re struggling to answer this question, Google Analytics’ Acquisition reporting can be your salvation.

By diving into your Channel reports, you’ll immediately understand which distribution mediums, websites, and keywords are helping drive traffic to your Hub.

Traffic Sources

When you understand where your top traffic is originating, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions about your future investments. For example, if your referral traffic report tells you that 80% of your traffic comes from LinkedIn and that traffic tends to have a high average time per visit and significant Goal conversions, continue to invest in LinkedIn.

Likewise, If your referral traffic points to a particular domain as a source of significant traffic (perhaps a content partner or a website like the Huffington Post), continue to make strategic investments there.

When analyzing your top referral sources, remember to always dig deeper. Session information is valuable information, but by taking the time to understand how bounce rates, pages per session, average session duration, and goal conversions differ by referral source, you’ll be in a much better position to make smarter marketing decisions.

You can also leverage the power of UTM parameters.

Analyze Bounce Rates & Exit Pages

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a Bounce Rate, an easy way to think about the metric is as the number of visitors to Items within your Hub who up-and-leave without so much as reading the first sentence of your latest blog post or flipping through a single page of your Flipbook. To pull out the oft-mentioned “content marketing as dating” analogy, Bounce Rates are your one-night stands.

As Google defines it, a bounce rate is “the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”

Bounce Rate

Ultimately, these are people that, for one reason or another, didn’t find what they were looking for on your Hub. Taking the time to understand why is vitally important.  

What keywords or referral sources are driving users to the Items or Streams with higher than normal bounce rates (and better yet, how can you optimize them)? Why does the content within the Item or Stream with a high bounce rate not immediately connect with the visitor? Were you using your Hub’s CTAs optimally? Each of these is a question that should be asked as you examine how to keep bounce rates as close to zero as possible.

The Exit Page metric, while in the same metrics ballpark as the Bounce Rate, is unique in that it can help you identify Items or Streams within your Hub that are leading visitors to jump ship. Again, it’s important to invest some time and thought into why these specific pages are leading to this type of behaviour. Is it the content? The design of the page? Are CTAs being optimally used across the page? Is it the origin of the visitor?

Taking the time to understand which pieces of content in your Hub aren’t enticing your visitors to stick around can help you learn a lot about designing amazing content experiences.

Benchmark, benchmark, benchmark

According to research from conductor, 90% of content marketers aren't sure how to measure the success of their content marketing efforts. Enter the benchmark.

Using Google Analytics’ benchmarking reports, it’s easy to get a sense of how your Hub stacks up versus other websites and content hubs of similar size in your industry.

To create a benchmark, visit the Audience tab and click Benchmarking. From there:

(a) Select your industry;

(b) Select your country/region; and

(c) Select a daily session size (to keep the benchmarks relative to the size of your business).

Benchmark Report

You can benchmark across a number of Acquisition or Behavioral dimensions, such as sessions, % of new sessions, average sessions duration, bounce rate, pages per session, and more.

The ultimate goal? Understand where you’re falling short of your competition so you can build a plan of action to make up up the difference.

Events & Goal Conversions

In the analytics world, eyeballs just aren’t enough anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, eyeballs are great. I love a good visitor/pageview report as much as the next marketer. But if those visitors aren’t taking some type of next step once they get to your Hub and only consume a few pieces of content, what’s the point?

That’s why your Hub has a number of built-in tools (like Content Score and Conversion reports) that help to make it easy to understand exactly which pieces of content are driving those valuable next steps. But if you’re partial to tracking your success inside Google Analytics, you can also use Event tracking in concert with Conversion Goals to measure exactly how well your Hub content is helping you achieve your marketing goals, such as engagement or lead generation.

For example, if you wanted to know inside Google Analytics every time a visitor to your Hub submitted a Form CTA or clicked a Link CTA, the first step would be to set up the specific Events you would like to track. To make things easy, you can automatically fire Events for Form CTA submissions by checking one simple box when setting them up.

Event Tracking Hub

If you’d prefer a more customized Event, you can also use Custom Code to design and fire your own Events with your own defined Category, Action, and Label.

Once you’ve correctly configured your Events, you can then set up Conversion Goals to understand the impact of these Events. You can attach a monetary value to your Goal to help paint a picture of your Hub’s ROI, and if you really want to kick things up a notch, you can even view Goal Flow reports to help visualize the path your visitors took towards a Conversion Goal.

If you’re interested in setting up some Events and Goals inside your Google Analytics account, this post from our Knowledge Base is a great place to start.

Create Filters

Tired of sifting through mountains of data to find what you’re looking for? For easy access to specific types or sources of information, you can use Google Analytics Filters.  

Using Filters, you can:

  • Pare down traffic from different acquisition sources to run some comparative analyses
  • Exclude specific IP addresses or domains from your reporting (e.g. your company’s)
  • Limit traffic to specific countries, regions, or cities
  • Restrict traffic to specific Hubs or Flipbooks you wish to analyze in isolation
  • Introduce context back into the analytics equation

If you’re interested in creating custom Filters for your Hub or Flipbook content, start with this article from our Knowledge Base.

Connect Google Analytics with Webmaster Tools

Most marketers are familiar with the basics of Google Analytics. But to far too many, Webmaster Tools remains a bit of a mystery. To a lot of marketers, it’s still the ugly, technical step-cousin to Google Analytics.

But that perception needs to change — and quick.

Google Analytics does an incredible job of helping you understand how users are interacting with your Hub. Webmaster Tools, on the other hand, allows you to see your Hub from Google’s perspective. If you’re trying to “hack Google”, Webmaster Tools has to be in your marketing tool belt.

With Webmaster Tools, you can:

  • Understand where you can make improvements to your Hub Items’ titles and meta descriptions tags
  • Understand how specific keywords are driving traffic to Items or Streams in your Hub
  • Submit a Sitemap to help Google find and index everything inside your Hub
  • Request that Google remove URLs from search results you’d rather weren’t there

By connecting Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, you’ll get access to — and the ability to act on — much of this new and necessary information inside of Google Analytics.

If you’re unfamiliar with Webmaster Tools and are interested in learning more, this blog post from KISSmetrics is an excellent primer. For more information on how you can connect your Webmaster Tools account to your Hub, click here.

Becoming a more data-driven marketer

Chances are you’re already using Google Analytics to make more data-driven decisions with your website.

Using Google Analytics together with your Uberflip Metrics can is the best way to become a more data-driven marketer and ensure your Hub is optimized for both search engines and the humans who visit. 

Learn more about using Google Analytics with your Hub for more data-driven marketing. Check out our free workshop.

About the Author

Sam Brennand

As Uberflip's VP of Strategic Partnerships, Sam is focused on helping customers amplify their content marketing to tell better stories and generate more leads.

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