Two Amazing Bar Charts: % Content Consumption, % Share of Search

Two of a KindWould you believe me when I say that your digital analytics data –, from Google Analytics or WebTrends, et. al. –, might be hindering your ability to make some important strategic decisions?

Would you believe me if I said that leveraging cool features like custom reporting and smart advanced segments might even be insufficient in some cases?

Perhaps you are skeptical.

I understand. We do have A LOT of data in our analytics tools.

But sometimes, going outside our analytics tools can yield non-normal insights that can deliver a competitive advantage.

I want to share two such examples in this post. Neither is an example of just site analytics. Rather, it's all about beyond-the-site analytics. Or maybe, beyond-our-blinders analytics. Or omg-why-am-I-not-rocking-whats-clearly-rock-worthy analytics.

With all that set up, you'll be surprised to learn that both examples are bar charts! Both drop dead simple in their presentation, but incredible in the insights that they can bring to the fore.

In the first case one value will come from the site analytics tool, the other one from your CMS. In the second example, there is no site analytics data, that bar chart will tell you that you might be celebrating success too early when it comes to Search while pinpointing for you how high the upper limit is.

Excited? Let's learn a couple interesting analytical approaches, and have some fun.

Two stories.

#1: Content Creation – Content Consumption Balance Analysis.

This is a very simple analysis of the tussle between what you are providing vs. what the customers actually want. Originally, I'd recommended it for content, or B2B, sites;, over time I've come to rely on it for pretty much any type of company.

Content marketing is all the rage, as you are well aware. Consistently producing good content that is relevant to your users is very important. Your users are happier. But fresh, relevant content is also of value in our search engine optimization efforts, and it keeps a pipeline of socially shareable assets going. Both of these things combine to attract new audiences for our business.

The challenge is in determining what to produce, what content to market? In answering that question we often get trapped in "top ten pages viewed" type reports in our digital analytics tools. Sadly, these show a narrow, siloed viewed of any website.

Try this on your site … total the percentage of unique pageviews in the top ten rows of your most viewed pages report. What's the total? I'm confident it will be a tiny percentage. I'm sure you are going to discover that an astonishing percent of consumption is in rows beyond the top ten or twenty.

So how do we escape the narrow view? How can we look at tens of thousands of rows of data? How do we find a better balance between producing content that we like producing and content that our audiences actually crave?

Think of how difficult those questions are for Texas Instruments (or your website) to answer. There is sooooo much content there. How do we focus, and prioritize?

texas instruments

Here's a very simple way to start.

Step One: Count the amount of content in each area of your site. This data will be in your CMS platform. For the content clusters might be: Products, Applications, Tools & Software, Support, Community, Sample & Buy, etc. For my beloved it might be World, US, Politics, Business, DealBook, Technology, Sports, Science, Health, Arts and Style. A shampoo company might be represented by these clusters: Expert Access, Personal Consultation, Products, Looks & Trends, Science, Samples & Offers.

Step Two: Count the unique pageviews in each of those areas. This data will be in your web analytics tool.

Unique pageviews is a count of the number of visits where a page is viewed, and in this case it is our proxy for interest. [Unique pageviews essentially removes multiple views of the page in each visit.]

Step Three: Plot this amazingly insightful bar chart (in this case for the shampoo/beauty products company)…..

content consumption content creation balance

In blue is the percentage of content in each section, and in red are the unique pageviews.

You'll always find something delightful when you plot this for your own site. But the first thing you'll note are the big mismatches.

In this case the business has a ton of content in Personal Consultation, Products and Looks & Trends areas and yet almost no one who visits your site seems to care about it (as intimated by how many people visit that section). The highest amount of content is in the Science area, yet it only accounts for 10% of consumption.

The other side is not pretty either. There is a ton of interest in Expert Access, Samples & Offers and About your company. Yet you don't have nearly as much content in those areas. Not good either.

Now, be aware that we are not looking for a perfect straight line match. No siree, Bob! All the blue and red bars won't align, and perhaps they should not (after all we have to sell product! :)).

But, you don't want vast mismatches either.

What is the point in producing expensive videos on Looks & Trends when no one seems to care? And perhaps we need to figure out how to invest more in Expert Access because that seems to be the #1 thing people want.

[And can't you just see how this really deep understanding of customer interest, based on their data and not your opinions or, worse, an "expert's" opinion, will be incredible when it comes to fueling your social media strategy? Engagement will rain down from the sky in torrents!]

An amazingly simple, yet deeply insightful, analysis that raises valuable questions. All waiting for you at the intersection of your CMS data (% content) and your Digital Analytics platform (% unique pageviews).

This graph will just be the first important step.

I encourage a quick qualitative analysis of the content as well.

Is the content in Personal Consultation and Looks & Trends complete garbage? If it is then you want to raise the quality before you lay off the staff that is producing that content. And by layoff I mean lovingly reassign to productive areas. :)

Another cross-validation strategy I often use is to deploy the "greatest survey in the world ," and ask people the three golden questions: Why are you here? Were you able to complete your task? If not, why not?

The answers provide incredible context about why people really come to your site and deliver additional insights about where you invest in content production.

But it all starts with the graph.

Go do one for your own site. I promise it will be revealing. More than that, it will bring more customer-centricity to your digital efforts. And what do happier customers deliver? More revenue!

#2:Quantifying the Missed, Search, Opportunity.

Given current trends in how people seek out content online, how they look for answers to their problems, hunt for the next great product to solve their life problems…. it has become a benchmark that around half of your traffic should come via search engines like Bing, Google, Yandex, Baidu and others.

An obsession with SEO and PPC is pretty much warranted in most companies, across platforms (desktop, mobile – it is particularly heartbreaking how poor most companies do on mobile platforms).

That said, it might surprise you that even today most companies don't know how profoundly they are missing the giganto opportunity that Search provides. There are many reasons for this. Management does not get it, they have no online products so why care, they are doing Facebook ads and really what else does anyone else need, yada, yada, yada.

I believe one of the most important reasons for undervaluing the Search opportunity is: Data!

Data as in the source that a company uses to determine if their Search efforts are succeeding or failing. Data as in their web analytics tool of choice. Google Analytics. SiteCatalyst. WebTrends. Others.

What? Data you have is making you blind? Yes. Let me explain.

When you log into Google Analytics and you see this graph for Search traffic (SEO + PPC), would you declare your Search efforts to be a resounding success and order champagne for everyone?

search overview report google analytics

Most likely yes. And I would not fault you for doing that. This company has made impressive progress with acquiring ever more traffic via search engines.

Sadly this graph only reflects optimization of the local maxima.

What's missing from the celebration is the answer to this question: What does the global maxima look like?

In other words, what percentage of all the people you could possibly have captured at the search engine were you actually able to capture? What is the upper limit for what the above graph represents?

An amazing question, right?

If our search traffic was up 150% year-over-year, should it have been up 20,000% year-over-year because there is that much demand out there? And it is not up that much because our Search program is simply not ambitious enough? Or worse, because we stink?

Your web analytics tool can't answer that question because it does not have the data, hence you are unable to make the smartest possible decision about your Search success.

But fear not, this is a solvable problem.

This bar chart attempts to answer that question by showing you the demand that was at the search engine, and the percentage that you, in this case a travel company, captured….

search opportunity analysis

If you were this travel company, the bar graph might take your breath away.

You are all about booking hotel rooms, selling airline tickets, renting cars, and you've invested enormous sums in high margin activity like booking cruises (entire ships!) and up-selling lucrative activities and excursions.

Yet your magnificent search strategy (SEO + PPC) resulted in you capturing such a small percentage of the demand!

Remember these are not random people you target on TV or Radio whose intention/relevance you are utterly clueless about. These were actual people who are raising their hands and essentially saying "sell to me, I want something you have!" To think you just managed to get those little green bars' worth.

But, remember our blue Analytics graph above? According to that we are totally rocking Search!

Yes, that is true and you should be happy about that (local maxima). You should not be satisfied. In fact you should be downright hungry/angry/happy because of the orange bars (the global maxima!).

For every Search (or other media platform) at a strategic level you should ask yourself this question: Are we optimizing for a local maxima or a global maxima?

I would recommend that latter. It is harder, more fun and you get to deliver crazy business success!

Then the question becomes…. where do you get this valuable orange-green graph?

There are two ways to look at the data you see. Impression Share or Click Share.

In both cases you have to do a bunch of work, the good news is that this is strategic analysis and you don't do it every single day (unless you absolutely insist on wasting your time).

Search Impression Share.

Traditional marketers (especially those that grew up with TV, billboards, or digital display advertising) try to solve for impressions. "How many times did people search for xyz, of those how many times did my website show up on the search results page, paid plus organic?" How many impressions did our brand get?

Not a problem. For Google you can use the AdWords Keyword Tool to get the data you are looking for. (For other search engines please reach out to your Account Manager at that company, they'll share this with you in 20 seconds.)

Here's what the screen will look like…

adwords keyword tool keyword ideas

The query you run, like I'm doing for Market Motive, my startup that offers certification courses in Analytics. SEO, PPC, Mobile marketing, will return Ad Group ideas and Keyword ideas.

You'll be able to see a lot of fun data, but we are interested in two columns: Ad Share and Search Share.

Here are the official definitions:

Ad Share
This statistic describes the percentage of time that your ad is triggered. This statistic is specific to Google search performance only for your targeted country or territory.

Search Share
This statistic describes the percentage of time that your website appeared on the first page of organic results. This statistic is specific to Google search performance only for your targeted country or territory

Essentially your Impression Share for Paid and Organic search results for the last 30 days.

It would be really cool to get this data clustered in your business categories (example: Hotels, Airlines, Rental Cars, Travel Leisure Activities, etc). You can't. You'll get individual keywords or clustered by Ad Group ideas. Extra work for you to download the data and aggregate it, but it is very valuable data so put in the extra effort.

The Ad Groups view is pretty helpful from an aggregated perspective. For Market Motive for example it gives: Certification Programs, Training Courses, Training and Certification, Online Classes, etc., etc. From there you can see how using Ad Share and Search Share I can create my own Orange-Green graph for Impression Share.

There are all kinds of filters you can explore in the AdWords Keyword Tool for mobile or desktop or language or countries etc.

The data is aggregated, but remember you are not trying to pinpoint the last click here. You are trying to get a very broad understanding of how much of the share of shelf you are successful in capturing from a strategic perspective.

Note: You'll only see Ad Share and Search Share data if your business' AdWords account is connected to your login. I.E. only proven owners of the data can see it.

Search Click Share.

For me personally this is a lot more fun.

My site could show up in search results a million times (so tons of impression on Google/Bing) and yet I might never get a single click. Even if I'm ranked #1 (Organic or Paid), I might have terrible copy in the SERPs or my Ad. Worse, my PPC ad might always be #8. Or my Organic result has not site links showing up or my Organic strategy is from 1969 and not yet adopted for Universal Search awesomeness.

So I like measuring Click Share, I don't like measuring impressions as a success of anything for my search strategy.

Of all the people who searched on for my specific keyword, or my specific business category, how many did I manage to attract to my website?

Really cool, right?

It will really put that blue graph from my web analytics tool in context. It will really help me understand my global maxima for search. Or something close to it.

You have two sub-choices to get your Search Click Share metric.

You can use a competitive intelligence tool like and run a Keyword Destinations report.

compete search keyword destinations report

My query above is for airline tickets. I get a whole bunch of cool data, including how much I or my competitors are getting (Volume column), along with the distribution of Paid and Natural for the aforementioned volume of clicks.

You can create our orange-green graph from this data.

Compete is a competitive intelligence (CI) tool and you should spend some time understanding how CI tools collect data: 8 Competitive Intelligence Data Sources & Best Practices. Perhaps there is no greater place to remember GIGO than CI tools.

Another wonderful option for this data is to directly go to the source of the data, the search engine.

If you reach out to your Account Manager at Bing, Google, Yahoo! or other search engines, then they will be able to directly give you the Search Click Share orange-green graph.

The colors might look different and the data might be a visual representation rather than giving you a specific number down to the 45th decimal point (as I said earlier that is actually not that important)….

click share of search

Usually the search engine will give you your Search Click Share, yellow bar above, for each of your business categories (a multi-channel retailer above). The overall size of the opportunity is represented by the light gray bar. Some of the sophisticated search engines will also index your performance against a peer leader (dark gray above).

The collection of these three elements will deliver the type of mind-blowing context that changes the way you think about Search, the size of the opportunity and the success you've achieved thus far.

Now you'll not only have my orange-green, you'll also know that while you and your category peer leader might think they are mortal enemies and fighting a zero sum game, the pie in reality is huge (represented by the light gray). Both of you need to internalize this new scale, identify who these new "enemies" are, and develop a new game plan to win.

This data (remember, it’s strategic analysis) helps you re-imagine your Search strategy, your digital focus areas and how you define, measure and reward success, or recognize the scope of failure, by your digital marketing team / agency.

So if your search account has an assigned Account Manager, ask them to give you this view of Click Share for your business lines. If you don't have an assigned Account Manager, consider using a competitive intelligence source like Compete or looking at the impression share data from the AdWords Keyword tool.

If I had to summarize this entire post: Step outside your web analytics tool. Ask smarter questions. Win big.

As always, it is your turn now.

Does your company, or perhaps you, use either of these two bar charts? If yes, which one do you find more actionable? If no, what changes might they drive in your digital strategy? Do you have other examples of data from outside site analytics tools that you find incredibly insightful?

Please share your recommendations, wisdom, critique and experiences via comments.

Thank you.


  1. 1

    Different tool showing different data and different figures, well i never tried this before but I love to learn this analysis and add into my strategy.

    Thanks for your detailed post Sir!

  2. 2

    Oooooh what a juicy post, Avinash. Thanks for sharing. I've been using variations of these analyses with my team and the results are quite insightful.

    For the content reports, we've been including pageviews, as well as KPI of conversion rates and task completion rates by key section of the site, but I really enjoyed how you included % pageviews and % of content on the site. I smell two new columns!

    Our approach towards share of search is a little more sophisticated that what you presented through Compete (although I'm wondering if we could be saving some time). We look at exact match traffic we can expect for a keyword and then look at the share of paid search impressions/clicks we get from that plus organic search impresssions, CTR and traffic we get for a particular keyword to come up with a total estimated share of search.

    I do think it would be interesting to have my team run the same analysis with Compete to see how close they are. Thanks for sharing another great post!

    • 3

      Josh: For the search bit you are definitely doing a lot more drill down work, and that is ok at a tactical level you often have to do deep. But from a strategic perspective keeping things clean (my preference is at a Click level rather than Impressions) allows for some big themes to emerge pretty quickly.

      Focusing on the business lines (rather than keywords x, y, z or a whole collection of the ones we can think about) leaves us open to collecting surprises in the data. New keywords people might be using, how categories are expanding and contracting from how our own keyword lists might paint a picture.

      Again, the deep drill down work you are doing is absolutely necessary at later stages.


  3. 4

    Hi Avinash,

    First of all, your link to "8 Competitive Intelligence Data Sources & Best Practices" seems broken. You pasted 2 URLs.

    Great insights again. I am really frustrated not to be able to use What else do you use it for? Because if you've been using it for nearly 3 years, it must be a killer tool worth every cent.

    • 5

      Victor: There are many competitive intelligence tools in the market. HitWise, Compete, ComScore, Quantcast etc. etc.

      In my experience Compete has consistently invested in improving their user experience, create reports and visualizations that are easy to understand, and constantly tried to optimize their data sources. So I use them.

      This is unlike many others. HitWise for example has not invest in improving either the user experience, their reports are still ten years old technology, and don't leverage any modern data visualizations. Even though they have a great dataset, often superior to others, it is so hard to use that I just skip to something else.

      As to which tool is right for you, pretty much everyone, except those that have something to hide, allow you to get a free 30 day trial. So kick the tires, try 'em out.


      • 6


        In personal experience with Comscore I've experienced a huge variation between their sampled data and Google Analytics data for sites I work on- even for a site I work on that receives well over a million visits a month. Is it just that in the grand scheme 1M is too small to get correct samples?

        I used Compete for a while but found that it was simply too inconsistent for me to feel comfortable presenting its data to clients.

        Any advice to people who want competitive intelligence but are constrained with working on smaller properties, or niche markets?

        Thanks as always for sharing,

        • 7

          Hudson: If you are working with smaller sites, it is very difficult to get decent data. The primary reason is the way CI tools collect data – their methods simply can't get enough signal from all the noise.

          You can learn a bit more about this in this post: The Definitive Guide To (8) Competitive Intelligence Data Sources!

          But remember even if you are a small company, you can use CI data for bigger competitors and still learn from them what is working (or not working) for them.


  4. 8

    The link to 8 CI Sources must be fixed because it worked for me.

    Avinash, this is a very interesting approach. With one of our clients being a media site, they have loads of content in various categories. I'm anxious to collect data on the first chart, and report back what we find!

  5. 9


    How do you adjust for CMS's like WordPress that use the standard year/month/date permalink?

    I would like to run this for some of my site, but I'm having a difficult time fixing the numbers since the content is not filed by category.

    • 10

      Chip: Sadly there is no clean way to do it if you are not using categories or tags judiciously in WordPress.

      I just fall back on counting it manually – not a big deal with around 280 posts.

      If you want to bulk categorize just go Admin > Posts. Open screen options (top of the page), change the number to 999 next to Posts, click Apply. Now choose the posts, a whole bunch, by clicking on the checkbox next to them, choose Bulk Actions dropdown and choose Edit, click Apply and now you can bulk categorize. :)


      • 11

        @Avinash and @Chip, this is where your choice of plug-ins will help. In case if you are using SEO plugin by Yoast (I can't stop singing paeans about this plug-in), then there is a beautiful custom dashboard which gives you this data –

        The chart at the bottom tells me which category is doing well in terms of getting traffic. You combine that with the posts/category (which you get in WordPress) and you can get a similar report.

      • 12

        We use between 3-5 category tags per post in WordPress, plus lots of tags. Would this fall outside the judicious use of categories?

        Most of our traffic comes from Google and/or Facebook depending if we promoted the post on FB. When we have 5 categories per post I get lost on how to best track that content.

        Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. 13

    Hi Avinash,

    Good post, curious to understand why you would go to a CMS system to get a count of content when you could simply generate a list of content from a pages report?

    Also, as bad as it might be there are sites that use the query string to render a page so again wouldn't a pages report make sense to compile the list of content?


    • 14

      Paul: Very good question!

      Your web analytics tool (weblog based or javascript based) will only count a page if it is viewed at least once. The action of viewing will create an entry for the page in your analytics tool. But what if you have a whole lot of pages that never get viewed, but you spent a lot of money creating the content?

      That is why we need to go to the CMS to get an accurate count of how many pages are there.


  7. 15

    Great post Avinash.

    Syncing CMS and GA data to gain insight will take data analysis to a whole new level.

    I have a question though..A government organization who does not run a paid campaign – How can I analyse what percentage of all the visitors they are missing out on, on all the search engines?


    • 16

      Itwik: You don't have to run any paid search campaigns to create my Search Click Share or Search Impression Share bar chart. It can be 100% for organic performance. And as you see in the AdWords Keyword Tool screenshot, Google gives you your Organic Impression Share.

      The only requirement is that as a government agency you are clear on the keywords and information categories you believe your .gov site is the right answer for. Then create the graph for those categories, measure your organic impression share and start earning traffic back from those who are stealing it from you right now! :)


      • 17

        Great article Avinash!

        Just a question… I've not exactly understood where is it possible to obtain the Search Click Share chart from Google Tools (AdWords? Analytics?).

        I'm able to find the Impression Share but not the Click one!

        Have a good day,

        Thank you so much!

        • 18

          Seba: If you have a dedicated account representative for your account with Google, you can request them to create this report for your account. I'm sure they'll be delighted to.


  8. 19

    Awesome post as always.

    Your first example is a must have for all bloggers – and it is a pretty easy thing to do. Simplicity is the key here as you mentioned in one of previous comments – and I'm really trying to apply it whenever i can and drilldown / segment on issue / opportunity.

    Both charts are very much actionable and can definitely give you a push in the right direction.

    A very interesting statement – "Step outside your web analytics tool" – there is a world of additional info you can use to help a site / company perform better. Especially now with measurement protocol and Universal Analytics you could import all those external metrics/dimensions and make GA something really powerful.

    For example I have been dealing with importing company revenue, product categories (services), education dates (lead generation) and education type into GA and if I would apply similar method as in your example == simple, fast, actionable insight on the fly!


  9. 20

    Does your company, or perhaps you, use either of these two bar charts?


    If yes, which one do you find more actionable? If no, what changes might they drive in your digital strategy?

    Unfortunately, it probably would not.

    Do you have other examples of data from outside site analytics tools that you find incredibly insightful?

    I like to read through open ended responses on our web forms for "how did you hear about us" and for email opt-outs.

  10. 21

    Really good insights once again Avinash :-)

    Points regarding the "missed opportunities" are a very valid one and all businesses should look into this in detail. No matter if digital campaigns PPC, SEO are always growing YOY/MOM.

    In current digital world if done rightly these are only meant to be growing , however…there will be lot of market(i.e opportunity) to capture further as highlighted by the 2nd bar graph in this article

  11. 22

    Good post – great ideas.

    Unfortunately the Ad Share and Search Share seem to have been " retired" in the Keyword Planner.

    • 23

      Steve: Very true.

      We believe that Ad Share will be back, perhaps in a different shape or form or definition. Let's keep an eye on the new stuff.

      But remember if you have an account manager assigned to your company, you'll be able to get the data directly from the search engine which should allow you to create the graph that is shown in the post.


  12. 24

    As always, absolutely delightful post Avinash!

    I particularly like the first graph. It illustrates in such a simple way the all to often lack of correlation between *effort* and *result*. Great way to get that point across!

    BTW: What if there was a third element, like '% revenue'? And what if that third element also followed its own pattern? Then we would have three elements, content produced (effort), unique page views (traffic), and revenue (result) … each one being good for some sections but not for others.

    We could hope that revenue at least followed either '% content' or '% views', but all to often it doesn't. Now we would have to do some serious multi-funnel analytics to figure out which pattern leads to the best result (probably via a mix of sections).

    But I love the point you make about comparing effort with results. We need more people to think of content marketing this way!

    • 25

      Thomas: Your graph is wonderful. We have to get people to think about revenue.

      The challenge sometimes, like with the CPG site I used in my example, is to figure out how to attribute value to each bit of content. The Page Value can come to the rescue here to give us your green bars. So having micro conversions identified and a economic value assigned is critical.

      The result as you show is quite magical.


      • 26
        Li Wang says

        Very interesting points!

        Adding another metric "number of sold products" into this graph maybe make more sense than revenue, since another factor "Price of the products" play a significant role in the value of revenue.

        @Thomas, maybe you can have a try with "Number of sold products" for every catagory.

        Looking forward your reply.


        • 27

          Li: You can definitely add/remove/play with various metrics in the bar graph to add context.

          But if you are purely caring about the content then you should do the simple graph first, then drill down into each content area and see what are the popular clusters in each area, then drill down to use something like Page Value to determine which piece of content is delivering how much "economic value" (and not just revenue) to your business.

          The challenge with adding products, or other such metrics, at an aggregate level is that it might not totally reflect the complexity of how pages/content add value.


  13. 28
    Puneet says

    We tried this approach earlier to get some insight out of the keyword tool but couldn't trust the data completely as the Monthly Searches (Local/Global) is average of searches over 12 months which is conflict with the business of some of the clients (e.g. travelling sector) which vary a lot across the year as per the seasonality trends.

    That being said I really don't see a point in being present for every possible query so the tentative number may be misleading as it may push you to scale the reach which was never required.

    But will definitely like to check the content and pageview correlation for some accounts.

    Looks like CMS is going to have a tough time :)

    • 29

      Puneet: The goal is not to get exactly the right number, rather to get a sense for how much overall opportunity we are missing. That general sense will help you create a better search strategy.

      If the Keyword Tool is proving to be insufficient, please reach out to your account manager at the relevant search engine. You'll be able to get more seasonally proper data with a higher degree of precision (though on this see my comment above).

      Good luck!


  14. 30

    I forgot to mention this.

    I like to read through comments on the company page on Facebook and search #companyname on Twitter. I am able to understand how our customers are interacting with the brand, what they like, what they do not like, other trends, etc.

    I also do this for our competitors.

    • 31

      Avinash, thank you for sharing.

      What do you think of navigation analysis?

      What are the navigation visits for any page? And what is the percentage of navigation visits for any page? Then you will see also the content consumption on your site without looking in your CMS!

      • 32

        Gerard: On paper this sounds reasonable. There are pages that serve a navigational purpose (perhaps the home page or a product listing page) and others that serve a destination/transaction/use your favourite word purpose.

        In reality some pages will get lots of visits as they send people to other places, but when you aggregate your content as suggested in the graph you will find that these pages suddenly don't seem that big, nor do they take center stage.

        The graph helps identify segmented clusters of content you are producing that people consume the most. When you drill down into each cluster, perhaps you'll find there are some navigational pages in there. Ignore them (just for the purpose of our goal here). Focus on what the content pages say about what users want, and try to deliver happiness to them. :)

        I hope this sounds reasonable.


  15. 33

    Thank you for the great post.

    What is meant by "the amount of content"? Is it the quantity of pages per cluster or the word count?

    • 34

      Olga: I've only used "pages" as the proxy for "amount of content."

      By pages I also mean number of videos, comparison charts, car configurators, decision maps, and other "independent content elements" even though many of these elements might be on one page.

      I've not used word counts, likely because I've not bumped into a use case where the insights at that level might have value. But there might be use cases where that's relevant.

      Initially though start with pages and independent content element counts, then see my three drill down steps in the reply to Li, then complexify more. :)


  16. 35
    Chris Grant says

    Oh no! Percent of content is one of my favorite secret reports!

    It useful not only for engagement estimates, but for figuring out whether the content needs to be subdivided.

  17. 36

    To me, your response to the hypothetical Graph #2 is appropriate only for companies with very simplistic goals: Maximize all traffic, or maximize all sales, etc. Basically, only if they have a mission of racing to the top or the bottom in terms of quantity.

    For companies that are aiming for qualitative measures, it's very reasonable to be less concerned about the global maxima. If you are aiming to provide quality, you often want to limit your customer growth to what you have the capability to handle.

    I would guess that your response might be that companies with quality-based missions need to refine the global maxima they use to compare, and that could work…but then we'd need to get into a discussion of how specific your global maxima should be. I guess I'm saying I wish that this post had hinted at the possible necessary complexities.

    • 37

      Dave: (I might misunderstand your comment, if so I do apologize. I wanted to send you an email to ask for some clarification, but sadly you used a fake email id. If I misunderstood anything, I invite you to, anonymously, reply to my comment.)

      Let's take a school district as an example. No profit motive for the most part. Just make student's lives better. Very, very good qualitative goal.

      Graph #2 is an analysis of "who is out there looking for what we have, how much of it we are able to successfully get and delight."

      So you'll create a graph for your core categories: Admissions, Educational Materials, School District News, Lunch Menu, Summer Camps Signups, and, say, enable long distance learning.

      A school district can only accommodate x students. So for the Admissions category (students/parents searching on Bing, Google for local school information) you might be happy with 1% share because that is all you can accommodate. And that is just fine.

      But how about the other categories? If there are 15,000 people in your local geographic areas for summer camps, which you have to offer, would you be happy to attract 12? Or, if there are 500 students looking for educational materials and you get zero, would that be sub optimal? Or, there are 1,400 students in Argentina looking for long distance learning and you have that material, would you want to get in front of them?

      That is how I think about the graph. What is the demand out there? What % of it do we get? Is that optimal? If yes, rejoice (whatever the maxima is that've set). If no, let's go figure out how to the maxima we can accommodate.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you,


  18. 38

    I was wondering your opinion on this Avinash. I noticed the content to unique views you have above – but I was wondering how you would approach a messaging change. What if a company went from a tried and true messaging strategy that everyone understood and moved towards a messaging strategy that is considered new for the industry.

    Example: Hootsuite did this when they introduced the term "inbound marketing". If no one is searching for your new term before this, is there a way to accurately measure new messaging?

    I thought maybe looking at data around tried and true search keywords against micro and macro conversions. (Did they download a whitepaper on hootsuite, did they ask for a demo) over time. Would this work? It doesn't seem to be the right KPI because I'm not sure if the answer would tell me anything.

    Taking your market motive course right now, and just trying to unravel some of the details ;) thanks for your help!

    • 39

      Tiffany: In case of a new phrase / new product / new anything, you need to create demand, lots of demand. That will typically be via social channels, online pr, display advertising, targeted PPC ads on broad industry terms/products, and, if you can afford it, TV, radio, magazines etc.

      So how do you measure success? You pick the optimally aligned metrics. Please see this post for a specific framework:

      See-Think-Do: A Content, Marketing, Measurement Business Framework

      Please see the measurement framework, you are looking for the See and Think metrics.


  19. 40


    As always great post! Curious from a WP perspective, it gives the number of content pages but it doesn't break it down to different section of your site. What suggestion you might have to break the total number of content into various sections?

    The numbers itself with just using Google Analytics is pretty impressive but I would like to dig deeper with your method of having all content from the site.


    • 41

      Beth: It would depend on how your organized your website.

      For example some folks use tags to organize the posts, in this case you can pass the fact that someone viewed a page with x tag into GA (using Event Tracking) and then use advanced segmentation or the event tracking reports to dive deeper.

      There are other methods you can use as well, the key part being your ability to send the metadata about the page back into GA. Event tracking is a very good way to do this once you have the meta data (tagging a post is a good example, but there might be other options as well).


  20. 42

    Anyone care to share how they are doing event tracking on their WordPress blogs? I tried the Yoast plugin but our GA code has so many modifications I couldn't make it work. I would also love to track YouTube videos on our blog but have run into dead ends too getting that to work.

  21. 44

    The title of this article should be changed to Web analytics for dummies. Great work Avinash. Keep up the good work.

  22. 45

    This is awesome Avinash.

    One thing you may need to update is Google have retired Search Share in the new keyword planner, which is a real pain. This is a really great report to make a case for better content and extra SEO spend.


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