Select metrics, set KPIs and analyse and analyse the data to measure success.
Decide on the right metrics
Deciding on the right metrics is the first step to enable you to measure success. Then set your KPIs to show the content is improving.
There are a lot of analytics you can use. It is better to measure less metrics but measure them consistently and analyse them. You will gain valuable insights by monitoring change over time.
The 3 objectives set for the Digital Profession's content strategy are:
- less content
- better content
- more efficient
If you choose to use these as your own objectives, apply these metrics to track content performance.
3 ways to measure the less content objective:
- reduction in the number of channels — count them and compare against a baseline
- reduction in the number of pages per channel. Your content audit will show you which pages are redundant
- reduction in duplication across channels — find them, count them and compare against a baseline
2 ways to measure usability:
- effectiveness — content needs to answer the user need it was designed for. This can be measured by whether users were able to complete their goal. A feedback mechanism on each page would be a great tool for measuring this.
- efficiency — content needs to be easy to find so that users are able to complete their task or meet their need quickly.
3 ways to measure findability:
- time — how long did it take a user to find what they were looking for?
- search — how many times did they have to search to find what they were looking for?
- bounce — the percentage of users who leave after visiting just one page
All users should be able to access the content including those with a disability or language challenges. 3 measures for accessibility:
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds can use the content
- compliance — WCAG 2.0 level AA compliance
- readability — content should have a Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level at or below year 9
3 ways to measure reduced cost:
- reduced failure demand
- estimated cost of content production and maintenance per piece of content or section. You could also calculate this against number of visits to the content to determine ROI
- reduced cost per piece of content
Other metrics you could use
Learn which metrics to use and how to interpret your website’s analytics. The power of data is in cross referencing. For example, using ‘time on site’ might show that visitors are not spending much time on a page. This could be a good result showing that users are finding what they need. Or it could show the content is not meeting user needs and they are bouncing (leaving) the page quickly.
Following are some examples of metrics you can use.
Average session duration
Find out how long users are spending on the website per visit. This is a good indicator for how relevant the website is for user needs.
An effective way to show the value of your content strategy is to calculate the cost of production. Savings can be made by developing good processes and content.
Desktop and mobile
Find out how many visits are from desktop and mobile devices. Also find out which devices are used.
A badly designed website could cause increased demand for other services (referred to as failure demand). The reason is that users might need to phone or visit because their needs weren’t met on the website.
Pages per session
Find out how many pages are visited per session.
Pageviews and unique pageviews
Unique pageviews tells you how many times the page was visited by separate users. You can also see the total number of pageviews and unique pageviews for the whole site. If a user visits a page 3 times it’s counted as 3 pageviews and 1 unique pageview.
Show where traffic is coming to the website from. It can include other websites, intranets and social media channels.
Find out what search terms are used to bring users to your website. You can find out search terms typed into search engines and also used within your site.
Site performance includes metrics such as page load times and instances of users reaching 404 pages (broken or dead link).
Find out the most visited and least visited pages. This gives you a good indication about what content is found and used.
Find out the number of users visiting your content. You can also filter this by new and returning visitors, and also filter out internal visitors.
Find out how to set up an analytics tool.
Did you know?
The cost of online transactions
A recent study by Deloitte shows that the average cost of an online transaction is 40c. This compares to $6.60 for a telephone call, $12.79 for a postal transaction and $16.90 for a face-to face visit. Use these figures to show the importance of getting online transactions right.
(These are Deloitte Access Economics calculations based on three international sources for government channel costs and their consultations with government).
Analyse your metrics
Once you have your data from measuring content you then need to analyse it to make it ready for your report.
Analytics are a powerful way to gain insight into your users and their engagement with your online content. The best analytics come from cross-referencing data and then drawing insights from them.
Set up a tool
There are a variety of free and paid analytics tools you can use to track measurements on your website.
Discuss options with your IT team, business intelligence or analytics teams and legal and privacy teams.
Pick a team member who will be trained on the tool. They can manage access for other team members, prepare reports and stay up to date.
- Cookie tracking — many government agencies have strict cookie policies. This may limit the amount of data you can track
- privacy - government agencies have strict data storage rules software and hardware restrictions - undertake appropriate assessments with IT before you install any software or hardware packages
Content strategy goals and objectives need to be aligned with the agency's and user needs and KPIs to show content success.