How to measure success of new posts when your site already has a ton of content

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Measuring if our content (articles and blog posts, for example) is resonating with our audience is important in content marketing projects. That’s true for new posts and old posts.

What is the best way to see if new posts are actually taking off?

Should it be compared against all articles that are already published on a site? That could be a problem when a site is relatively mature and has a lot of articles that are drawing a lot of search engine traffic. I’m noticing this already on my blog here which is nearing 1 million views. Some traffic comes through some highly performing SEO articles that are hard to catch up to by new articles. Maybe impossible even!

So if I would look at all traffic over time-which is actually an important thing to do as well-it doesn’t give me a good picture of the performance of recently published articles.

My new article didn’t beat all these other articles that have been collecting views for some time. Of course, not. So no reason to overreact here.

Looking at articles in a vacuum doesn’t do the trick either. Sometimes I’ve had teams look at articles for the last few days and they would say “oh it have this many views” and sometimes that didn’t feel very good even though in the big picture of things it wasn’t bad at all.

So here’s what I do when it comes to checking how recent articles are performing.

I go into Google Analytics:

  • Set the date range from the date the article I’m interested in was published to yesterday’s date.
  • In the Behavior section go to all pages to see where it falls in the big picture of things

Here’s an example from this blog. I published this article on Facebook campaigns on March 16, with today being March 20.

Facebook campaign

So then I run the site metrics from March 16 through March 19 and see which articles had the most traffic and that looks like this:

As you can see it it’s No. 6 of all articles with 3.55% of all site traffic. Not bad in context.

As the next step I always like to see where traffic is coming from. To do that:

  • Click on the article with in Google Analytics
  • Click on “secondary dimensions”
  • Set that to “acquisition”
  • Then “source”

From there, you can see the top traffic sources for the article. So in the case of this Facebook one I could tell that several sites were sharing and linking to it.

LEARN MORE: This article shows you how do measure performance by channel

I’ve previously blogged about the ease of running metrics in the Google Analytics app, which lets you ask questions verbally. So it’s fantastic to see that you can run the first part of what I described in this article in the app as well as on the desktop version:

Content creation with a strategy is an important piece to making content work for an organization. We also want to make sure that the way we measure what’s working and what’s not working happens in a way that’s most meaningful. I found this measurement strategy to be effective.