Why and How to Utilize Google Analytics Content Grouping

When you invest in something, you obviously hope to see a return on that investment, right? Content marketing is certainly no different. Developing content on a consistent and frequent basic can be costly and you naturally want to squeeze every cent of value from this investment.

The struggle comes when the very thing you’d like to track (the performance of your content) can be tricky to quantify. Now I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole of attribution models in this post, but I would like to key in on one data analysis method that is underutilized amongst marketers. One of the best ways to measure and understand your content’s performance is with a feature of Google Analytics called content grouping.

Here’s a quick intro before we dig in so you can get a feel for this powerful analysis tool.

Content Grouping Based on Categories

Chances are, your blog posts, social media posts, and videos fall within a few broad categories or topical themes. In our case, since we offer a comprehensive content marketing platform, the following content categories make up the lion’s share of what we cover in our content marketing channels:

  • Content Strategy
  • Content Planning
  • Content Automation
  • Content Management
  • Content Analytics

All our platform’s features fall broadly under one of these categories, so we target all our posts to focus on various aspects of these themes. For instance, this post is about how to use Google Analytics’ content grouping feature to increase your ROI. Another post might be about how to use the content analytics tool within our platform to dig down into your target customers’ demographics, likes, pain points, and other metrics that help you find and define your “tribe.” Both would fall within the content group of Content Analytics.

Your categories are no doubt different — but you can probably group them in a similar fashion. If you provide guitar lessons, for instance, your categories might be classical, rock, flamenco, jazz, and Latin. If you’re a tax software company, yours might be business, non-profit, personal, estate, and trust.

Google Analytics allows you to track the performance of each of these content groups, comparing them with each other to see which content topics rank most highly for your key metrics.

Now, before you start digging into this feature, sit down with your team to see which general categories are covered by your company’s content. That way, you’ll have everything organized before you set up your category groupings in Google Analytics itself.

Google Analytics allows you to create five of these broad groupings to compare. Within each of these groups, though, you can create an unlimited number of subgroups.

For instance, a guitar studio may find it useful to create two groupings, like this:

  1. Genres – includes subgroups like “metal”, “classical”, “folk rock”, etc.
  2. Skill Level – includes subgroups like “beginner”, “intermediate”, and “advanced”

The tax software company could, for example, group its content like this:

  1. Personal – includes subgroups like “estate planning”, “tax filing”, and “investments”
  2. Industry Verticals – includes subgroups like “healthcare,” “manufacturing,” and “construction”
  3. Company Size – includes subgroups like “SMBs”, “Startups”, and “Enterprise”

With these subgroups in place, you can compare the performance of your blog posts and videos that provide how-to instructions for tricky tax issues for startups to that of your intricate, legalese-filled posts that point out little-known loopholes for enterprise-level businesses.

Not only can this type of analysis yield which posts perform better, but it can also help you see which audiences are responding better to your content. The data might tell you, for instance, that the audience that converts best for your business tax blog posts is the small business and startup segment. That way, you can pour more of your content planning efforts into this more lucrative customer segment.

Content Grouping by Authors

If you have a team of five or fewer content creators, you might want to compare how each of your team members’ content performs in your key metrics. That way, you can identify areas of strength and needed improvement in the work of each of your team members.

Using authorship to trach analytics can also give you insights into which areas of expertise each of your team members performs better. That way, as you fill in assignments in your content calendar, you can assign posts to your team members according to their areas of strength.

google analytics content grouping - top authors

Additionally, you can identify subject matter areas that underperform across your entire team. If, for instance, none of the writers and video producers on your team produce high-performing content in a highly technical subgroup, you can pair each of your content producers with a subject matter expert (SME) who can provide the technical expertise readers look for in content of that type.

Content Grouping by Types

Another way to use Google Analytics’ content grouping feature is to compare various types of content, such as infographics, images, white papers, e-books, videos, blog posts, videos, or whatever content you regularly publish. Grouping by type allows you to see which types of content produce the most engagement, conversions, and ROI.

This type of content grouping gives you a way to see how you can blend some of your higher-performing content types with ones that underperform. For instance, if images generally perform better than time-consuming written posts, try adding images to those blog posts to see if they convert better.

Similarly, if videos have a higher rate of conversion, you can pour more money and effort into producing video content. Make sure to post them on your website as well as on third-party platforms, since owned content puts you in the driver’s seat. You don’t want to be at the mercy of some content platform, which may decide that you have violated its terms of service for whatever reason. Even more importantly, you don’t want to have poured all your marketing efforts into a social media channel, only to discover that it’s gone bankrupt.

You can use subgroups to identify which types of content performs the best within each category. For example, let’s say that your video content outperforms all the rest of your content. But without using the subgroup feature, you won’t know that your how-to videos are killing it, while your corny ad videos—not so much. With analysis of subgroups, you’ll know for sure.

That’s the “why.” Now, let’s look at the “how.”

How to Use Google’s Content Grouping in a Few Easy Steps

After you identify which groups and subgroups you want to analyze, you can get up and running in only a few steps. First, open Google Analytics.

Next, click “Admin,” then “Content Grouping,” and then “Create New Content.” Select the names for your groups. Next, click “Select your method to create your Groups.”

Here’s where it gets a little tricky. You can choose one method – or use all of them – to group your data.

However, Google Analytics groups your data according to the first match it recognizes. If you use two – or even all the approaches – be aware of this fact. Here are the methods, in order of Google Analytics’ priorities.

  • Grouping by tracking codes: This method uses numbers embedded inside a line of code to signal to Google Analytics which group each piece of content belongs to. Since the platform allows only five groups, you’ll need to choose the numbers one through five. Simply go to “Group by Tracking Code,” choose “Enable Tracking Code,” and then choose what number you want for the group. Click “Done,” and you’ll be up and running.
  • Grouping by extraction: Use Google Analytics’ “Regular Expressions” feature to automatically name your groups by three criteria – page URL, page title, and screen name. Page URL allows you to create a content grouping for each of the subdirectories under /Your Chosen Category/. Page Title allows you to put all pages that has the title you choose in a particular group. Screen name allows you to classify all content with screen names that include your chosen word (for instance, in our case, “analytics” under the “Analytics” group. Just select “Add Extraction,” and choose which page URL, screen name, or page title you want to put into the group.
  • Grouping by rules: This method is probably the easiest in that you can name the group manually. Simply enter the name you want for the group, and then choose either “Page URL,” “Page Title,” or “Screen Name.” Just follow the steps on the prompt and add whatever conditions you want to put into the rule.

Now that you have a way to measure how various aspects of your content strategy perform, you’ll need an easy way to plan, create, publish, automate, and measure how much progress you’ve made. That’s where we come in. Find out just how easy it is to manage your content marketing program with DivvyHQ. Request your free 14-day trial today.