Have you ever thought of a website as a shark? Some species of sharks — like the salmon shark and the great white shark — need to keep swimming in order to breathe. And while a website may be made up of lines of code and content, it also needs to keep moving forward to survive. To build and maintain sustainability, publishers need to generate revenue and adapt to changes and trends in the marketplace. You can generate revenue by monetizing your site, but then how do you maintain momentum? How do you not only maintain, but increase, your operations?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our line of work, it’s that it all comes back to data.
It goes without saying, but it probably bears repeating: your ad revenue is tied to the content you produce and publish. But what do you need to do to keep your revenue growing? You can optimize your layout to find the sweet spot that maximizes your ad space but doesn’t alienate your audience. You can boost your exposure through social presence and SEO strategy and domain authority to acquire new traffic.
These strategies can help you with awareness and can drive more traffic to your site, but it doesn’t end there. This is not a quick overnight kind of solution either. Once you get more traffic to your site, how do you keep them there? How do you get your audience to engage with your content? How do you know what’s resonating? How do you keep them coming back?
There’s a fairly easy way to get a grasp of the effectiveness of your content by looking at the number of pageviews and social shares. These kinds of numbers can show that a piece of content is effective — and from there, you can make certain assumptions about how it affects the revenue you generate. These metrics can help you figure out whether or not the content resonates with your audience. And the more content you produce, the more potential you have for ad revenue, right? Well, true, but measuring it is still a challenge.
But you probably knew that.
Measuring how much revenue a piece of content has generated isn’t as easy as it probably could and should be. If you’re not into the shark analogy, maybe another would work: when a magazine is sold, there isn’t a way to attribute revenue generation to one feature or article — publishers just have to hope for the best. And the same methodology is true for digital publishers too, although at least there are signposts along the way, through metrics like pageviews and social shares. But even then you can’t see how much revenue is being generated by each piece of content.
There are ways you can get an idea of how much revenue a piece of content is generating, but it likely means gathering numbers from disparate and different sources, plugging them into your own spreadsheet, normalizing them so they all read the same — and then you might have something. The challenge here is that it would likely take a few people to gather that data and do the math.
Even if you had a team to help, they would probably only scratch the surface. Finding the return on your content is elusive, but using a tool like Sortable Analytics can make things clearer. With our dashboard, you can run reports to provide insight into how your content decisions are contributing to revenue.
You can group your content by just about any metric you want: segment by author, topic, or any other dimension that’s important to you. For example, you can segment shorter articles versus longer articles and then contrast them to see how the revenue compares. You can dig into this data deeper to see the value of each session and measure engagement.
Not all pageviews are created equal. You can get into granular behaviour data from your audience. For example, an article on burritos may get more pageviews than an article on tacos, but the audience that engages with the article on tacos monetizes better.
Evolve your content strategy
To keep your business evolving and moving forward, you need stay ahead of the competition, and one way to do that is understanding how your content performs. Getting accurate data like this enables you to accurately track how content relates to revenue, to inform your content strategy and help it evolve. Running reports to see which topics drive your revenue gives you a clearer idea what topics resonate more with your audience.
Being able to prove the value of what you’re producing is essential to growing your business. And with these insights, you can have confidence and an indicator where you could invest your resources. Most importantly, you’ll see results that can validate that you’re producing the right content for your audience, while contributing to the success of your organization.
When you’re able to directly link content to revenue generation, you can also establish a framework to plan and refine your content strategy for the future. You’ll be able to set definable — and measurable — goals.
Want to find out more about how Sortable Analytics can help your publishing operations by surfacing data on content, marketing, and revenue? Contact our team and we’ll be in touch.