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Content metrics: What really matters on modern websites

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Your guide to understanding the philosophy and practicality of content measurement—and how Brightspot can support and enhance your approach.

Editors pour their energy into creating captivating content—or at least they hope it’s captivating. But who’s to know without some way to measure whether the content is reaching and engaging the desired audience?

This would be a snap if the editor’s content management system (CMS) came with built-in analytics capabilities. But many CMS options, such as Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), require licensing additional features or connecting with a third party to access analytics.

With Brightspot, we include some metrics out of the box and easily integrate with metrics providers, setting you up for analytics success—with no IT required.

How analytics serve editors

There are a host of performance metrics that editors can track. But simply collecting numbers does you little good if you aren’t clear on their import. Here are a few of the most common quality metrics that editors monitor to assess the effectiveness of their content. Each one provides a unique brand of insight but has its limitations, too.

  • Unique visitors (UVs): This is the number of visitors who accessed your content in a given time period, including info about where the visitors are, the source from which they clicked through to your site, and which search-engine keywords led them to your content. All this information can help you understand your audience and what they’re looking for, though it can’t reveal your visitors’ particular motivations for engaging with your site.
  • Pageviews (PVs): This metric measures the extent to which your content is engaging your audience, and understanding it allows you to then focus on in-demand subjects in your content-development efforts. Like UVs, however, PVs aren’t a crystal ball: They can’t tell you what exactly about each piece of content your readers like best or found most valuable. They also can’t tell you how extensively each viewer engaged with your content.
  • Bounce/exit rate: The bounce rate indicates how many visitors to your site click away from it after looking at just one page. The exit rate indicates the last page a reader saw before leaving the site. A high bounce rate likely means your content isn’t engaging or relevant enough, although it can also indicate usability, design or technical problems with your site that are driving people away. The bounce rate can’t tell you why each visitor didn’t click more than one page, but a high bounce does indicate a problem.
  • Time on site: This number tells you how long your visitors spend on your site. You can also measure how long they spend on each of your site’s pages. The shorter the time visitors spend on each page and on the site as a whole, the less of your content they’re actually reading, and the less interest they have in seeing more of what you have to offer. Unfortunately, this metric can’t give you a sense of why your visitors are clicking away so fast.

Let’s say you’ve collected all this data—you know how many people come to your site, which pages they view, how long they stay, and how many of them run away as soon as they get there. This seems useful, but how?

At Brightspot, we believe that all metrics can offer insights when seen in aggregate and over time. There’s no such thing as a “bad” metric, except one that’s taken out of context and used to make precipitous decisions. Even a “poor performer” has a story to tell, offering valuable insights for creating your next batch of content.

We think it’s a best practice to consider combinations of metrics over time to examine what actual success looks like for your content. If you look at a mix of metrics and how they shift over months of your work, you’ll get a more robust picture of whether your programming decisions are truly moving you forward and where your next problem areas and opportunities lie.

Why Brightspot is a metrics master

Because we believe in the value of tracking multiple metrics over the long term, we designed Brightspot to make accessing the right metrics easier and more cost-effective than it is with many other content management systems.

We incorporated out-of-the-box, in-CMS analytics so editors won’t need IT or development support to access basic analytics that can guide their content creation and publishing decisions. We also offer custom integrations with other analytics providers, such as Google Analytics and Tag Manager, Adobe Analytics, and Firebase.

Below are some of the analytics features that come with Brightspot:

  • Site-level analytics dashboard: Providing an easy-to-read view of site-wide metrics, the flexible dashboard allows each editor to set filters to view the reports he/she finds most useful.
  • Search metrics: This tracks info on front-end users’ searches, including keywords, the number of returned search results, and the number of clicks to each result. These numbers give editors insights to help identify content gaps to fill and which pages to set up in search spotlight. You can also customize time periods in the search metrics widget to see your site-search trends over time, which indicates the times people are searching most.
  • Asset-level metrics: Located at the bottom of each asset page in the CMS, this offers a quick glance at pageviews over specific time periods for each asset, spikes in traffic, long gaps between views, etc.

Our customers tell us that Brightspot’s in-CMS analytics tools help them work with greater efficiency. Real estate media firm Hanley Wood, for example, has used the real-time analytics and reporting in Brightspot to hone editorial decision-making and reduce publishing times.

Content teams within companies like Hanley Wood can use Brightspot’s robust metrics functionality to validate the success of their efforts and demonstrate ROI to leadership. They can do this without third-party solutions or additional licensing fees, and without needing to log into and learn how to use yet another interface.

In an era of increasing personalization, when technological tools are opening up avenues for companies to create targeted, best-in-class customer experiences, having metrics at your fingertips is essential to understanding and reaching your increasingly sophisticated audience.

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