Predict Content Success More Often with These Google Analytics Metrics
It seems like content success strikes when we least expect it – you may have been trying to generate a viral post for ages, only to have one of your less likely candidates suddenly surge into the stratosphere. Achieving a victory in this regard takes a combination of perfect timing, ideal content and a receptive audience. Above all else, though, you need good content. When you have met that criteria, you may be curious to know when the next big hit will occur on Facebook or Twitter. While you can never predict for sure what will happen with any post, we have put together a list of things to watch out for via Google Analytics that may be imminent indicators of a post or status update going viral.
If you believe that a post may be ready to go viral, then the first thing we recommend you do is check the overall size of the post. In many cases, posts that go viral fall within certain parameters of length. A 200-word post is very unlikely to go viral, much as a 2,000-word post is unlikely to do the same. If your post falls in between three hundred to eight hundred words in length, however, then keep an eye on it: this is the “sweet spot” for many viral posts in terms of length. Even if you find nothing of value in this metric for existing posts, you may be better informed on what length a post should strive to be if you want it to go viral in the future.
New Sources of Traffic
If you suddenly notice that dozens, hundreds or even thousands of new visitors are arriving on your site from other parts of the world or through different websites, then you can almost be certain that something has caused that. We recommend watching Google Analytics’ traffic sources for more information about a given post’s potential. When pinging search engines with content, it is possible for bots or the stray user to come across it unintentionally. If you suddenly notice a lot of people coming across your content from different sources, however, then that means someone or a group of people are sharing it with their friends, co-workers and family.
If you can pick up on any increase in conversions (purchases, in-app downloaded, subscriptions and mailing list additions, etc.), then you most likely are experiencing some form of viral surge. Google Analytics can track conversions through its Goals function – you simply need to specify what it should watch for and you can quickly determine if your performance is wildly better than its historical norm. Most actions that users take will wind up pinging search engines with signals, so don’t be afraid to use external search tools to find out whether or not there are lots of pingbacks, inbound links or other references to your blog or site if a post appears to be gaining momentum.
By monitoring any new sources of traffic, increases in conversions and verifying that the post in question appears to be within certain ideal parameters, you may be able to predict content success when it first begins. Unfortunately, many people miss this and cannot capitalise on the trend until it has already peaked. Google Analytics can be your friend and help you find these indicators before a post goes viral.