If you don’t measure it, it hasn’t happened.
At least that’s the clarion call for many in the worlds of Big Data, analytics and the growing field of measuring content marketing.
But for the blogging peacebuilder, just the mention of the term “analytics” can generate beads of cold sweat. The same term can bring on a cold sweat in others as well.
But there are three simple types of reports that, when accessed, can make the peacebuilding blogger understand better what is going on with their posts, their curated content and their social distribution efforts.
- Social Distribution Analytics Reports—Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and many other platforms, allow any user to look at how their posts, likes, and updates are tracking across the platform itself. These reports are very insular, and only reveal what happens with an audience member, a customer or a client inside the platform of choice. For instance, in the case of Facebook, if a blogging peacebuilder is posting regularly from their blog to Facebook, they can track the organic reach (free) and the paid reach (paid) of each item that they post. And the data on it’s users is so extensive, that any peacebuilding blogger could spend days staring at the data.
- Blog Platform Analytics Reports—No matter what content creation and distribution platform the peacebuilding blogger uses, from WordPress to Typepad, each platform measures how often each post is opened, read and even what times during the days of the weeks this action happens. In WordPress and Blogger platforms, the data tracking users and readers comes bundled with access to Google Analytics (which we’ll talk about below). Where the platform based analytics reports really come in handy, are when the peacebuilding blogger wants to launch a plug-in that might serve to provide more functionality for her user/audience member.
- Google Analytics—The 800 lb gorilla on the analytics block for many, many bloggers, marketers and others, are analytics provided by Google. The reports, measurement, trends and other tools inside of Google are deeper even than the data offered through Facebook. It’s relatively easy to get either a plug-in for a WordPress site or get access to Google Analytics by setting up a blog in Blogger before had, with a unique tracking code that stays on your website. When reading a Google Analytics report, the amount of data provided by Google to the peacebuilder can be incredibly overwhelming. The two areas initially that we would recommend the peacebuilding blogger to focus on would be the Audience Overview section and the Uses Flow report. Audience Overview in Google Analytics provides the peacebuilding blogger with analysis and tracking around from where audience members are accessing their content (mobile vs. desktop), how long they are staying on the site before they leave (bounce rate) and whether the website visitors are “new” or “returning.” Report generation is relatively easy (just set up the ability to get a report based on specific parameters (new vs. returning/mobile vs. desktop inside of Google Analytics) and Google will email the report to you.
Getting analytics reports is not the main problem in reading an analytics report. The main problem for any blogger, is figuring out how to best convert visitors to your site and your content to actual sales. Analytics reports that measure marketing efforts (video creation, blogging, ads, etc.) provide data that the peacebuilding blogger can use to determine where to best place their time and energy.
If it’s not being measured, it hasn’t happened. The follow-up to that statement is that if it hasn’t been acted on after it’s been measured, then all the measurement in the world is just thrashing and hiding.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org