One of the questions bloggers and influencers ask us most often is how to interpret their analytics. We’ve been there, staring at Google Analytics wondering what’s relevant and wondering whether our follower counts measure up.
Firstly, I can almost guarantee you’re reporting your numbers wrong. Reporting unique views and follower numbers don’t tell the whole story, they barely scratch the surface.
Once upon a time, the blog reigned supreme and people would visit you daily to read the latest post. Enter the age of social media and bloggers saw a decline in blog traffic. Now if you focused solely on the blog traffic and engagement it would be a pretty bleak outlook but at the same time blog traffic began to dip, views and engagement across social platforms grew exponentially.
The reason I tell this story is to remind you that your blog is at the centre of your social platforms. It is where the content lives but not always where it is consumed. The numbers across your whole network are the true picture of your influence.
The blogging and influencer industry is growing as a marketing sector we need to give (and request) figures which show the full picture of your audience interaction and reach. There are a few areas of your analytics which can bring to life your potential and in this post we’ll explore them.
I’m starting with the big guns – who is reading your content and where are they? Truly understanding the audience you have on each platform enables you to pitch to a client based on who is actually reading, not who you both hope is reading.
In Google Analytics you’ll need to turn on this feature, it takes a couple of moments.
Once you have it you can drill down on your audience demographics and, importantly, their interests. Building a picture of the age, gender, location and interests of the people who land on your site enables you to not only cater to your audience but also demonstrate to potential clients who their collaboration or ad will reach.
Location stats allow you to drill down further than country but to city level – great if you are targeting particular regions in a promotion. Interests give you key insights into what your visitors are passionate about.
If I look at my own blog, I can see that my audience is roughly 65% female, majority aged 25 – 44, whose top three interests are travel, food/cooking, home/decor and women’s apparel. This helps me target work I do around these four content pillars. The next big segment is 35% male aged 35 – 54 which is not insignificant to my travel, food or decor posts. I can also see that, while not the top interests of my audience, people who read my blog are interested in finance and cars so there is potential to grow that group by writing posts which appeal to these interests.
Use this information to pull together stats which help you and your client, if you’re pitching to a brand who target women’s fashion give them stats which reflect the female section of your audience.
You will doubtless have posts which are popular year in, year out. That precious evergreen content which Pinterest and search engines love that pulls in new readers every day.
Knowing what is popular both with regular visitors and first timers alike gives you leverage when planning paid work.
For example, my recipes do extremely well for my blog. There are certain days of the year I just know that traffic will spike thanks to these stalwarts. If I were working on a campaign featuring ingredients or a supermarket I can use this information not only to demonstrate the relevant longevity of the content but to plan recipes which will deliver the aims of the client beyond my existing audience.
Highlight this in your media pack alongside the interests of your audience.
Social Media Stats
Dig into the analytics each platform gives you. Yes, on Pinterest and Instagram that means switching to business accounts to access them.
Here you’ll find stats on reach and engagement to differing degrees on each platform. Use this to build a picture of what your posts can do, demonstrate how many eyeballs are on your posts and what the % of engagement is. If on average 1,000 people see your images and 350 take action to like or comment that’s 35% engagement on actual reach (rather than dividing it into your total follower numbers). Equally, you can factor in how Insta-stories or a twitter chat impact a campaign depending on what you’re pitching.
Here’s an example. I have around 199k followers on Pinterest. Not bad, right? But the follow numbers don’t tell the story of how my content performs, here are my analytics screenshots for December.
You can see that my reach and activity aren’t represented in my follower numbers, I’m consistently reaching beyond my own audience. My blog on it’s better days can average around 1,500 views but I can see from my analytics that on a bad month my blog content is engaging with upwards of 6k people a day.
Use the data in your analytics to demonstrate where you are strong and how you reach people.
Affiliate links are a great way to not only make money but to gather proof of your influence. By linking to products you’re recommending with affiliate links you’re able to track people’s buying behaviour after they’ve clicked through.
Depending on the company you can even track the effectiveness of different links so see how they perform on Instagram versus your blog for example. Basic stats include clicks to the link and the total number of items sold. You might need to factor in returns on fashion items so you have an accurate view of total sales.
Armed with the knowledge of what your audience like to buy and what kind of numbers you can deliver you’re able to demonstrate proof of potential return on individual products.
Providing live case studies with content, feedback and stats from both you and the brand is a really powerful way to demonstrate the power of your influence.
You could create an unlisted page on your blog where prospective clients can click through and see examples of campaigns across a range of KPIs. Collecting these case studies together allows you to showcase a body of commercial work and how you have met the brief to deliver key targets.
One of the reasons influencer marketing is so powerful is that we like to know how other people feel about products and services before we buy. Your services are no different.
Collect screenshots of comments, tweets, posts and instagrams where people are letting you know they took action because of your suggestion. From buying towels to booking a five star trip this kind of feedback is invaluable as it not only shows proof of audience action but also that people will help spread the word after seeing something you post. It’s those ripples on the pond which don’t necessarily show up in your stats but are still linked to your work.
We’ve taken a look at what kind of figures you could be sharing but how do you make sure they’re relevant?
You might want to create a media pack for different scenarios, brand awareness versus product sales for example, so your analysis is tailored to the kind of work you’re being asked to do.
Keep the numbers from your analytics up to date within six months or so. You can grow a lot in a year so taking a couple of hours every few months to freshen up your numbers is time well spent.
Ultimately, the question to ask here is: does this demonstrate my full impact? If it’s a no, come back to the analytics and fill in the gaps.
We would love to know how you use this post to work on how you report your blog stats. Tweet us @blogtacular to let us know and you can also pin this post for later.