Contact us

Simple But Effective – Content Grouping On Google Analytics7 min read

7 min read

[vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][text_output]One feature, left in the farthest, darkest corner of a Universal Analytics user’s or blogger’s mind is Content Grouping. It sits there, all covered in dust, representing possibilities never uncovered. The main reason why it is such an issue is in the fact that all the most mentioned UA features serve the same purpose – to collect more data. But who or what will ever analyse and make use of it? One of the problems of Big Data, in fact any data, is that one needs to analyse it and draw actionable insights from it to make it valuable. In this context, setting up more data sources leads to even more data.

In this regard, Content Grouping is different, because it serves the purpose of making sense of the existing data, rather than creating more of it. This is why Content Grouping is so different from other UA updates and should be given another chance to shine.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]What is Content Grouping?[/custom_headline][text_output]From a technical standpoint, UA’s Content Grouping is a process that assigns tags to pages that a visitor sees.

Acknowledging the fact that many digital terms intimidate people, with a huge gap between how they read and what they actually mean (to illustrate: “breadcrumbs”, “graceful degradation”, “bounce”, “conversion” etc.), let us define what a tag is.

A Content Grouping tag serves the same purpose as that sticky piece of paper on a box marked “toys” when someone moves house. If the house is big, or there are several children in the household, chances are that there would be several boxes marked with the tag “toys”. A Content Grouping tag is just a regular tag, assigned and stored electronically. Its purpose – to mark similar pages on the website. The rules of marking depend entirely on the person in charge of the GA account, and the process of marking can be automated fully, to a certain extent, or carried out manually (ouch! Not recommended).[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Why is Content Grouping important?[/custom_headline][text_output]For one, Content Grouping does not create yet another data set to be analysed. Instead, it groups the existing data on page views into categories that make sense to the business. It takes the GA user beyond having to compare brown leather men’s shoes to blue women’s pumps to white satin dresses to men’s cycling gloves into the domain of shoes, clothing, or accessory-related products.

So, categories! People apply tags in life subconsciously (“he’s dumb”, “she’s crazy”; “they’re all clueless”) because grouping helps us to cope with the overload of information that we face daily, reducing the number of entities we need to keep in mind simultaneously. Using tags in GA is just a natural extension of that, it helps make sense of the data.

For another, Content Grouping can serve as a bridge between two greatly different data sets, providing a completely new arena for analytics. Picture a GA product performance report for a week. Now picture a content or landing page report for a week.

Now try to compare the two data sets and draw any actionable, or at least remotely sensible, conclusions for the business. It is difficult, because there are so many entries in the reports.

With content tags it is possible to do, just devise a tagging framework and apply it to both products (UA also has a product tagging functionality) and website pages. Voilà! You can now compare how your product categories measure up against content categories and answer specific questions, such as, which landing page categories drive what product categories? For example, people landing on, say, “shoes” related pages do not necessarily convert for shoes, they may buy something completely different.

The example below demonstrates how high organic visibility of a product page does not necessarily lead to high volumes of sales of that product. I.e. product 1 has high SEO visibility, however, it is the second lowest earner.

dfh[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Practical value of Content Grouping[/custom_headline][text_output]Here are some interesting content group combinations:

SEO landing pages groups and content groups. This comparison pair will show you any discrepancies between what you are visible for on organic search and what people are interested in on the website. These results will show you where you need to focus your efforts either on SEO or improving landing page content and internal linking.

Ideally you want to be visible for the content that people are interested in the most, so any differences in the group order across these categories will show that either there is a need to focus your SEO efforts, or to reinforce certain pages with more engaging content and better internal cross-linking.

Paid search information: landing pages/campaigns, keywords and content groups. Similarly to the above, comparing content groups to paid search data dimensions is a good way to check if your paid search marketing has the right focus. If there is a big discrepancy, you could review your choice of paid search landing pages to reduce the journey to content your paid search visitors undertake when they land on the website.

Product category and landing page groups. Comparing product categories to landing pages for any specific channel can answer the question of which landing pages SHOULD be focused on by SEO or promoted to make a difference. Please keep in mind here that all the relevant sales and visitor stats are recalculated for every grouping framework, so when you use one, you also get all the data specifically for that group. Thus you can approach the analysis from different angles, you can use sold product unit numbers, revenue, conversion rate, average order value – you name it! And every time the conclusions would be made, 1, on the data, and 2, that is relevant to your business.

Product category and content groups.content quality Comparing these categories is a way to evaluate if there are any discrepancies between what content visitors consume on the website and what they buy. It is a fairly good indication of content that works well for sales. Again, product category performance can be evaluated in many different respects, giving it more flexibility.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]For The Analytically Minded – Multi-level tags[/custom_headline][text_output]Having worked with content grouping for some time, one piece of advice that I can give is to use, what I call, “multi-level” content tags. As GA supports Regex in reports, it is almost unacceptable to not capitalise on Regex’s capabilities to conduct very granular search. To illustrate, instead of using “shoes” as a standalone tag, try incorporating several different tags into one, like this: “mens – shoes – classic – leather”. This way, later on, when you are looking for insights in the data set, you can combine several tags in Regex for more granularity, for example: “men’s shoes”, “men’s classic” (shoes), “men’s classic shoes”.

Of course, to conduct this type of granular search you would have to be familiar with Regex, but in digital analytics learning it is worth every minute spent.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Summary[/custom_headline][text_output]All in all, when it comes to Content Grouping under the guise of a simple productivity tool that everyone likes to ignore, there is a big strategic potential for it to be used for digital channels, audience, content, and even business management.

When approached with the right attitude, Content Grouping in GA easily becomes a gold mine for actionable data so easy to use that its a crime not to use it.[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][visibility type=”hidden-desktop”][gap size=”20px”][/visibility][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-2″][/vc_column][/vc_row]