The subject of analytics and measurement is one of the most critical areas to your ongoing strategy and tactical development. By acting in a participatory manner toward search, social, and content marketing, your business gains equity in visibility, trust, authoritativeness, direct revenue generation, and awareness, among many other factors.
Measurement of real-time content is not so much about real-time as it is about measuring within a tighter frame of recency. Many marketers believe that acting and measuring in real-time means taking on a harried and almost panicked approach, when this is far from the case. We are not just talking about “right now” when it comes to measuring your real-time performance. The last hour, last day, last week, and last month also provide insight into what is currently happening with your content marketing efforts.
Taking a real-time view of analytics also means that you will need to strike a balance with how you measure more current flows, as opposed to historical analytics. Most marketers are heavily focused on historical data -- in other words, what they have received over longer periods of time, and data that may be 2 months old or older. By focusing just the history of keyword returns, and the history of traffic flow, they may be missing out on the bigger picture of what is buzzing around their content beehive.
Remember that a significant percentage of searches in Google have never been searched before, and the only way to capture some of this action is to monitor within a shorter window of recency. And this type of measurement doesn’t just benefit search, it benefits social interaction as well, and helps you find more current connections to your audience. Remember -- keywords are connections to people, and knowing the current language through analytics (both onsite and offsite) helps you reach them.
With this approach in mind, here are some additional considerations for ramping up to a real-time view of content analytics:
Start viewing “people as people” rather than “people as data.” One of the worst sins of modern Internet marketers is that they typically view people as a data point. This might involve cornering a person into a spreadsheet as a “unique visitor,” a keyword referral, or other traffic stat. Remember that your visitors and audience are people (you can ignore the robots for now), and in many cases they have a search intent, or a problem they are trying to solve. This is often a problem in the way that analytics providers are set up, but the good news is that some providers are trying to tell you more about “who” your audience really is.
Remember that real-time data means nothing without a knowledgeable human to translate it into action. If you are checking out your data within recency parameters, it is important that it is analyzed by the right people. These are the people who write content, those who interact in social spaces, and those who optimize content. These roles should have at least some direct access to data, because gatekeeping the data only prevents them from doing their job in a timely manner.
Use the best real-time analytics tool of all - your brain. For all of the talk about the wonders of analytics and measurement, there is no greater tool than your brain to make sense of all the data. Your brain contains the key link to interpreting data into actionable insights, and is the connective element between your business goals and your data.
Remember Avinash Kaushik’s 10/90 rule. Just as your brain is the most important tool of all, Kaushik recommends spending 10% of your analytics budget on tools, and 90% on the brains that you will need to make sense of it. Even if you believe that your expensive new analytics widget is the best thing that ever happened to your business, you will not be able to use and interpret it properly without the right amount of brainpower.
Distribute your data and insights throughout your organization. Be sure to spread your findings to other parts of your organization. In some cases, forwarding your data to someone with more specific knowledge can help turn it into an actionable insight. Consider forwarding relevant data to product managers, sales associates, customer service representatives, hiring organizations within your company, and your IT and creative teams, among many others.
Use a variety of sources to measure what you are getting. Also remember that a single tool won’t cut it anymore. Use your onsite analytics, but utilize quantitative measurement tools on third-party social sites as well.