Growing a digital magazine involves lots of hard work, starting with the editorial process, writing articles, and building relationships with the readers. When you reach a certain point in your success, you’ll want to scale more, re-establish your magazine, gaining more followers, readers, interactions, and conversations on your site.
This is where Google Analytics steps in to help you understand whether you’ve managed to your audience and your revenue goals!
If you use WordPress for your digital publishing, measuring only pageviews and session duration won’t bring you the maximum ROI from your analytics efforts. On that account, we hope to show you how to get more out of your data and improve your KPIs.
1. Benchmark Your Audience
With Google Analytics, you’ll get valuable data that can help you form your business strategies and discover the channels that can bring you the most web traffic and revenue.
Different audiences can react differently to your content. For example, older readers might not find your ‘teen celebs’ category as amusing as high school students might.
If you want to reach a specific demographic, you need to analyze the performance of your content so that you can identify the audience that would be most interested in it.
Once you benchmark the audience that you want to reach, as a publisher, you can hone in on the best-performing topics and categories that do well with your readers.
Open your Google Analytics account and navigate to Audience > Demographics > Overview
You can use the Demographics Overview report to get a view of the gender of your audience (male vs. female), and their age.
Examine each of the age and gender brackets to see the top interests and how they differ between age and gender.
You can use the Age, Gender, and Interests reports to form an image of your most valuable readers.
If you’re a publisher who sells ad space, you’ll want to let advertisers know who the users that read your pages the most are, and the extent to which they read them. With Google Analytics, you can evaluate the readership according to metrics such as Sessions, Bounce Rate, Pages per Session, and Average Session Duration.
With Google Analytics, you can create a session-based Segment to isolate traffic for those pages alone. You can also see the age and gender of the users who conducted those sessions.
Bringing targeted audiences back to your website is not only about engagement. It’s also about proving to advertisers that your pages can provide value and reach the viewers that the ads are intended for.
Through analyzing your content, as a publisher, you can analyze the interests of your target audience, benchmark them, and then work on creating the content that suits their interests for greater page views and engagement levels.
2. Have Conversions as Priority
Page views, average session duration, and audience demographics are extremely important for digital publishing. However, you must measure the conversions on your site and associate them with the success of your content.
How effective are the advertising campaigns on your pages? You need to evaluate the success of campaigns and match the engaged minutes with page views and engagement time with the number of pages and articles.
A conversion occurs when the visitors take the action that you want them to take on your site. That could be reading an article, seeing or clicking an ad, or just interacting more with your pages.
You can use the new URL for your campaign in place of your standard URL. Google Analytics will assume that any user who clicked this link is from the campaign, and it will assign any actions they take to the campaign.
The next conversion factor is your goals. If you haven’t set them yet, you’ll need to define goals in Google Analytics and track the conversions accordingly.
In Google Analytics, there are several definable main goals:
- Destination Goals: Tracking the visitor’s activity on an individual or a set of pages.
- Engagement Goals: Tracking the time spent on your website, the number of pages visited, and their activities.
- Event Goals: Tracking users’ actions, such as clicks, downloads, video plays, etc.
Setting up Destination Goals
Here are the steps that you’ll need in order to set up destination goals for your digital magazine:
At the bottom of your left navigation area, select ‘Admin’
In the next column, select ‘Goals’:
Select ‘New Goal’
Select ‘Custom’ and go to ‘Continue’
Name your goal and select the Destination
In the destination field, you can include the URL of the page that you want to track. Check each of the settings, then save the goal. You can later access it through your Goals page.
Setting up Engagement Goals
If you want to set up ‘Session duration’ or ‘Pages/Screens per session’.
Use the Admin panel to access ‘Goals’. Under select ‘Goals Setup’, then, access ‘Custom’. Name your goal, for example, “10 pages in a visit”
Click on ‘Save’ after you’re done.
Setting up Event Goals
Event goals can measure and track ad clicks, video views, and other visitor interaction on your website.
To track event goals, follow the steps above to create a Custom goal, and in the ‘Goal Description’ field, name your event and select ‘Event’.
If you know the event that you want to track, you can insert the category, the action, label, and value too, for example:
- Category: CTA
- Action: CTA Click
- Label: Landing Page CTA
- Value: N/A
The Google Analytics Event goals option is quite flexible, and you can use it to track pretty much everything on your website.
3. Compare the Performance of Your Entire Network
As the digital publishing industry evolves, you must learn how to integrate the latest CMS. It’s a common practice for big publishers to have not just one, but hundreds of local subsites under one WordPress Multisite network.
You can also use Google Analytics for your Multisite network to analyze how your articles, writers, and ad spaces perform throughout the entire network of websites. You can also analyze metrics between websites, which is extremely beneficial because you can gauge the performance of every subsite in your network.
Under one Google Analytics account you can keep track of:
- Subdomains: Tracking all visitors that come to both yourweb.example.com and www.yourweb.com.
- Subdirectories: Tracking only visitors to the www.yourwebexample.com/something.
- Top-level domains: Track all users that land on any two different domains, such as www.example-yourweb.com and www.example-your-web.com, with the data for both of them shown in a singular report.
- IFramed Content: Track visitor and pageview data for your content in an iFrame of another domain.
You can learn more about the different GA multisite tracking scenarios here.
4. Segment, Then Grow
Through Google Analytics, you can figure out how different groups of your audience engage with your the content of your digital magazine.
There’s a significant difference between the carefully-segmented target audience and the entire audience that visits your digital publication. As a digital publisher, you should be aware that scaling a digital news publication is much more than drawing in as many visitors as possible.
As a publisher, you’ll be able to increase your revenue if you build and maintain a targeted audience. If you want to keep attracting your most dedicated readers with content that’s of their interest, you’ll need the right content analytics strategy.
By segmenting your audience, you’ll be able to deliver an action-specific experience to the readers according to their preferences and interests, such as personalized content, improved user-interface, and of course, ads.
Advertisers are prepared to bid more if you have a correctly segmented audience. The reason for this is that a relevant ad can deliver better leads and conversions. Around 62% of marketing professionals consider that audience segmentation is necessary and one of the top priorities for digital publishing growth.
This means that most of your audience segmentation process will depend on the advertisers’ needs. Here are some factors you need to follow:
- Demographic: Filter your audience based on their age group, gender, language, affinity category, behavior, traffic source, location and more. Advertisers request demographic data to ensure that the ads will be placed in front of their ideal audience.
- Behavior: Segmenting users based on their behavior can help you understand their interactions on your website. You can evaluate user behavior based on sessions, session duration, clicks, and bounce rate.
- Technology: If you need to target users on their mobile devices, you can also add segments by mobile device, mobile brand, and model, using filters such as OS, browser, screen resolution, device category, etc.
- Traffic Source: The traffic source segment will help you discover the source of your web visits. This can be direct, organic, paid campaigns, social media, referral, and more.
Today, with policies such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in place, audience segmentation is getting more complex than ever. If you’re still not familiar with the regulative, Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a data privacy law that came into force in 2018. It is one of the biggest changes in the regulation of data privacy in the last 20 years.
The purpose of GDPR is to protect the data of EU citizens, but it doesn’t affect only the businesses based in the EU. It also applied to all businesses that provide services or products to EU citizens, and businesses that process the personal data of EU citizens and people located within the EU.
Bottom line, you may work tirelessly with your editorial team to produce a staggering amount of quality and engaging content. But, if you’re not able to make data-driven decisions, you can’t provide the personalized experience that users crave.
We hope that with this article, we’ve encouraged you to look into your Google Analytics data, realize who your visitors are, and come up with new content and ad monetization strategies to increase your readership and your revenue. Studying users and their browsing habits means you’ll gain insight on how to enhance your media publishing experience and improve UX!
If you need help with analytics and scaling your publishing company to over 100M visits per month, don’t hesitate to contact our team! DevriX has helped scale some of the best publishers in the industry from thousands to hundreds of millions of monthly page views, increasing their income and saving them recurring costs at the same time.
Our WordPress and AdOps expertise in collaboration with our Managed Hosting partners Pagely, and our Inbound Marketing partners HubSpot is available to you for greater traffic generation, enhanced UX, and a bigger return on your investment.