Using analytics to find our audience’s tastes

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Scott Tumilty

One of the most used phrases in digital marketing is ‘content is king‘.

While any phrase that’s repeated often enough becomes a cliche, the truth is that cliches come from somewhere, and that’s usually a place of truth.

For us at Elastic, it’s a very simple truth. If you’re not creating content that people want, then why would people visit your website?

On a continuing theme, these also brought all the boys to the yard

What kind of content is your audience looking for?

With this thought in mind we developed our own content strategy, creating regular content based on the world of digital marketing, events in Edinburgh where we’re based, and subjects that members of our team are passionate about.

However, creating content is only half the battle. While I could happily write a 3,000 word essay on why Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Master System is one of the best games of all time, chances are it wouldn’t be relevant for our audience, including you that’s reading right now.

Instead, it’s important that we produce content that our audience, and potential customers will want to read. This is why using analytics to monitor web traffic, and social media engagement is incredibly important. Doing this allows us to find out what content is working, and what content isn’t of interest.

To put it another way, without looking at how our content is doing we would learn nothing, and potentially waste time and effort on content that nobody wants to read.

The maple-glazed sweet potato fries are to die for

How do you find out if your content is working?

In our ongoing quest to create relevant content, we’ve had a look at some of the content posted on our website and social channels over the last two weeks, and we’ve come to the following conclusion.

You guys really like food, don’t you?

Let’s have a look at how we came to that conclusion.

First of all, we used Google Analytics to find out what the most visited pages were over the course of June.

Top of the list were two articles

What’s worth noting is that while both of these articles were promoted on our social media channels over the course of the last two weeks, non food related articles were also promoted and didn’t reach the heights of these two.

These lasted for less than a minute in our office

Where was the web traffic coming from?

Google Analytics also told us that the vast majority of web traffic to these two blogs came from our social media promotion.

The next step therefore was for us to look at our social media promotion, and see how our audience engaged with these blogs.

Facebook in particular showed us that for each week, the food related articles gained more impressions, and generated more web traffic than the other articles promoted.

Twitter told a similar story, with the ‘Five great places to grab lunch in Glasgow‘ blog in particular generating more impressions and link clicks that the other articles combined.

For most people, this would be enough to establish that our two food-based articles were proving popular, but we decided to delve a little further and find out how people were engaging with the articles as well.

By jumping back into Google Analytics, and another service we use called Canddi, we were able to find out two very interesting things.

    • People were staying on the blogs for a good length of time, taking the time to read through the whole thing.
    • People were clicking on the links in the ‘Five great places to grab lunch in Glasgow‘ blog, meaning that it had actually influenced them to check out some of the places we had recommended.

So what did we learn?

While all of this investigation is interesting (and fun if you’re anything like me), the point of the exercise is to learn something.

In this case we learned that our audience (you guys) seem to really like hearing us talk about food.

Finding this out means that we can now tailor our future content so it’s more in line with what you enjoy, which in turn helps us by driving up our web traffic, and social media engagement. It’s a win for everyone.

With that in mind, we hope that you’ll enjoy our upcoming weekly blog series, ‘Five blatant pictures of really tasty looking cakes’.

Scott Tumilty is our web content and social media master chef. While he’s not a professional restaurant reviewer, he’s definitely what you could call a ‘food enthusiast’.

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