7 Features the Best Marketing Analytics Tools Will Have

Whether you’re crafting your overall content strategy or an argument about why publishing story-driven content is just as important as writing yet another sales sheet, one thing can make your life easier: Data. Having hard facts and figures on how your content is performing can help you determine your editorial calendar, shape your approach to SEO, and see what’s resonating with your audience.

To get those insights, you need to make use of the best marketing analytics tool for your goals. The features that tool needs will vary depending on what those goals are. It’s less about finding one tool with all the features listed in this article and more about seeing which of these components fit your needs.

1. A User Interface You Can Actually Use

Here’s probably the most important quality a content analytics tool should have: You can actually use it.

Some tools like GA4, the newest version of Google Analytics, offer a ton of powerful features. You can get nearly real-time insights into big-picture topics like what a typical user journey looks like or dive into granular information like how many viewers scrolled through at least 90 percent of the content on a sign-up form page.

Unfortunately for everyone who’s not an analytics expert, understanding GA4’s user interface can feel like trying to read a dead language. Luckily there are marketing analytics tools out there built with ease of use in mind — there’s been a lot of good things said about Plausible, for instance. That and similar tools make great options if you’re looking for something to tell you how your content is performing at a glance.

2. Audience Analytics Beyond the Basics

Successful content marketing is all about crafting pieces specific to your audience’s needs, preferences, and motivations. Good luck doing that if you don’t know who your audience is, though.

That means you need a tool with a solid audience analytics component. Most website analytics tools can give you a basic overview about things like the age and gender of web visitors. If you’re using a customer relationship management platform, though, you can get extremely deep insights through tools like Salesforce’s Audience Studio. The better you design your buyer persona, the better content you can produce.

3. Info on User Behavior and Experience

A lot of content marketing analytics tools can show you user journeys and content funnels, letting you determine what pages your readers entered and exited. That’s important information, but trying to understand a user’s experience that way is like trying to visit a city by looking at it on a map.

You can get a user-eye view of how people engage with the content on your site by using tools with heat maps and user session recordings. Heat maps are just what they sound like – they show where users are scrolling, clicking, and engaging the most with your content. User session recordings can show you actual recordings of users navigating a certain page. That means you can see from their perspective exactly what’s working or not working with your content.

If you’re looking for website analytics tools specializing in these areas, check out Contently’s Docalytics tool. You can use it to not only optimize your case studies, white papers, or blog posts, but improve the conversion rates of your landing pages for gated content as well.

4. Competitive Keyword Analysis

You can’t stand out from your competitors if you don’t know what they’re doing. Some analytics tools have features letting you track how your competitors’ content is doing compared to yours based on different variables. That means you can see how they’re ranking for different keywords you’re targeting, as well as where they’re earning backlinks.

Based on this information, you can determine where the whitespace is for upcoming content, helping ensure your editorial calendar stays unique. You can also determine what battles are worth fighting when it comes to certain keywords or phrases you’re trying to rank for – some may just not be worth the effort.

5. An SEO Strategy Assist

The key to successful SEO content is, first and foremost, quality content. That doesn’t mean the technical side of things doesn’t matter. You’re going to need a tool that lets you see how your site is ranking for various keywords, gives you word count recommendations to make sure you’re not publishing thin content, and whether broken links are torpedoing your traffic.

The good news is you’ve got a lot of great options here. Contently offers a ton of tools for planning out your SEO keywords using cost-per-click insights, info on search volumes, and more. Most of the other big players in this space like Moz or SEMRush will let you get some basic info like keyword suggestions for free.

6. Breezy Reporting Capabilities

Like most of you, I’m sure, I find the most rewarding part of content marketing is making decks showing how different assets are performing. I love it so much and don’t find struggling with Powerpoint soul-crushing in the slightest.

For real, though, a lot of different content marketing tools can generate automatic reports or dashboards that are easy to understand and visually interesting. That lets you spend less time wrangling decks and more time on the valuable parts of your job.

7. Channel Performance Data

Audiences are scattered across so many different channels these days. LinkedIn. TikTok. X (yeah, still, I know). However, not every content marketing tool is suited for tracking how different pieces are performing on social media.

The built-in analytics available on individual social media platforms offer some info, but that can make it hard to get a consolidated view of how your content is doing across each channel. Platforms like Sprout Social or Hootsuite can help bring together multiple channels into a single view.

Wrapping it Up

Finding the right content analytics tool is a process, and knowing what to look for will help you align your needs with a product’s offerings. Contently’s content optimization tools could be what you’re looking for. If so, contact us to set up a product demo.

Ask The Content Strategist: FAQs

What role do content marketing analytics play when building out individual pieces of content?

Analytics tools can do more than just give you the lowdown on what keywords to include in your copy. You can use them to develop a better understanding of your audience, which is the foundation good content is built upon. Done right, the best marketing analytics tools help you write content that people and search engines will love.

What are some actual examples of how I could use heatmaps to improve content?

Let’s say you’re looking at a heatmap and notice a bunch of people clicking on an image. This may indicate that these users are expecting that picture to be linked to a different page – and that they’re getting frustrated when their clicks do nothing. That’s exactly what we saw when using heatmaps to review content. Fixing this led to a better user experience.

Other than analytics, what are some of the best ways I can get to know my audience better?

Marketing analytics tools aren’t the be-all-end-all for developing a better understanding of your audience. Make sure you’re regularly reading reviews, conducting surveys, and monitoring social media to see who your readers are and what they’re talking about.

Are you ready to build a data-driven content strategy? Contently Analytics has you covered.

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