Why You Should Attribute Good Content to Website Sales and Conversions

By Unknown, blog post 26/08/2014

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It’s widely accepted that having high quality, evergreen content (pages that are regularly updated and timeless) on your website, aimed at your target audience, is a sensible thing to do.

If users find it useful, interesting and entertaining then they might share it, which is good for brand awareness. If the content is shared widely and talked about, it will attract links. Links improve ranking, meaning more traffic and sales.

That’s the super simple version. You can read about the value of creating Evergreen Content in far more detail in a post I recently wrote for Moz.

Understanding how good content directly influences sales and ROI is more complex.

Understanding How Content Creates Sales

The objection I often encounter from clients regarding creative content is that the pages look pretty and attract visitors, but the visitors don’t buy anything. Therefore, clients assume the content does not impact sales revenue.

This is not the case, but can be complicated to explain. You have to understand how users browse the internet, their intention when they are doing so and the buying cycle.

Here’s a simple example:

A user is browsing the internet. Their intention is not to buy anything. They are looking for information. Let’s say they are researching Malaria, as they are thinking of holidaying in Africa in six months’ time. They find a really useful piece of content about Malaria, explaining what it is, how it’s transmitted and which countries might expose you to a risk of infection if you travel there.

The user finds this piece of content very useful. They bookmark the website. They remember the brand that provided the content.

Six months later, when they have decided where they are going on holiday, they return using their bookmark and buy some Malaria tablets from the website that supplied the information.

The user has found the site organically on Google, via a piece of interesting content that ranked naturally. In Analytics, they’re reported as arriving on the site via Organic Traffic, but do not buy anything.

Six months later, they return via the bookmark they saved. In Analytics, they are reported as arriving via Direct Traffic. They make their purchase.

The business owner does not realise the path the user has taken to make that purchase and assumes organic traffic had nothing to do with the sale.

This is a super simplistic version. Often user paths are more complex, involving organic, direct, referral, social, email and PPC touches before a purchase is made. But the principal remains the same. Each stage in this process should be attributed a value for the part it played in the end sale.

There are ways of seeing this pattern in Google Analytics.

Attribution in Analytics

Basically, attribution is assigning a value to a step in the user’s journey to a conversion or sale. A user might originally arrive organically via a search engine, visit again via social media, then again via PPC and then eventually buy via direct. But that does not mean direct traffic resulted in the sale. Each touch in that journey can be attributed a £ value for the part it played in the end conversion.

You can investigate this in more depth in Google Analytics in Conversion / Multi-Channel funnels. It’s complicated, but worth taking the time to understand. Here’s a Multi-Channel funnels video from Google to get you started:

A successful business needs to comprehend the value all its marketing efforts provide. Resource can then be focused on the most successful areas and decreased from those areas that do not work so well.

Conclusion

Creative content isn’t just about having something pretty on your website for people to look at. It’s about engagement, brand awareness and, ultimately, sales and conversions.

Be useful.

Be interesting.

Engage with your audience.

Creative content is worth investing in and does give value for money, when created and promoted in a sensible way.

If you’re interested in creative content and would like to talk in more detail about how it can be used to help your business grow, take a look at our Content Marketing service page to find out more or just get in touch.