The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics for Content Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics for Content Marketing_

If you’re not already using Google Analytics to track and assess your content marketing efforts, then you’re basically throwing time and money down the toilet. It might sound dramatic but what’s the point of spending all your time crafting impressive content, just to post it and hope for the best? 

Content marketing lies at the heart of most marketing strategies with over 73% of B2B marketers and 70% of B2C markets utilising it. Not only does it work to attract potential customers, but it helps you retain them. It covers email newsletters, social media, podcasts, press releases, and more. But if you really want to see success with your content marketing efforts, then you’ll need to understand the analytics to make informed decisions about your strategy. Data is an integral part of marketing. It keeps us on the right track, essentially. In fact, 29% of content marketers track every single post they release.  

But with so many tools out there promising the most reliable data on your posts, it’s easy to get bogged down in the nitty gritty and decision-making. Don’t get left behind. Google Analytics is the way to go. It’s simple, easily integrated, and totally comprehensive. It’s also free! So it doesn’t matter if you’re working at a large-scale digital marketing agency, or just trying to improve your social reach for your small business, you can stay on top of your content marketing efforts.  

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to Google Analytics for content marketing from how to set it up, the key metrics for you to track, and how it can actually be used to improve your content marketing strategy. If you’d like to check out an overview of GA4, then check out our other blog on the subject here! 


GA4 glossary 

Active Users – The number of users who have had your website open for at least a second in the period you’re looking at. This shows how many people have visited your website or been on your app. 

Attribution – Attribution allows you to control how credit is given for a conversion to the marketing channel that led to the action taking place. It analyses all the actions users have taken to end up at your website. 

Average Engagement Time – This is the average time that users have spent on your website minus any time when the website was minimised or hidden. GA4 calculates this by dividing the total active time of your site by the number of users. 

Campaign Tags – Campaign tags help you to track your digital marketing campaigns. Tags include campaign name, ID, source, medium, term, and content.  

Custom Metrics – In GA4 you have the option to create custom metrics to track things like revenue per user on your site depending on what your objectives are.  

Data Stream – This is the continuous flow of data that originates from your site. You can set up multiple data streams to pull data into reports.  

eCommerce Purchases – This is how GA4 measures purchases on your site, recorded whenever an individual user successfully completes the process of buying a product or service through your site. 

Engaged Sessions – A session on your site that lasts longer than 10 seconds, includes 1 or more page views, and/or 1 conversion. This tracks actual involvement or engagement with your site.  

Engagement Rate – The percentage of engaged sessions on your site, calculated by dividing the total number of sessions by the number of engaged sessions.  

Enhanced Event Measurement – A feature that lets you measure a number of actions without modifying your tracking code including scrolls, outbound link clicks, site search, and file downloads.  

Events – Any user engagement with your site is recorded as an ‘event’ by GA4. there are automatically collected events like page_view, or you can set up enhanced measurements which will collect data like file_download. 

First User Medium – This is the first channel that led the user to visit your site for the first time.  

GA4 – Google Analytics 4. This measurement solution replaced Universal Analytics in 2023. 

Life Cycle – A reporting section in GA4 that shows the different stages of user journeys on your site, offering reports on user acquisition, engagement, monetisation, and retention.  

Search Query – The actual term someone used in a search engine before clicking through to your website – either from paid ads or organic Google search results.  

Session – A single visit to your site. One user can have many sessions.  

Traffic Acquisition Report – A report that shows where new and returning users have come from that allows you to understand your traffic.  

User Acquisition Report – A report that shows you where new users have come from that allows you to understand your traffic.  


No ultimate guide to Google Analytics would be complete without integration. If you don’t currently have Google Analytics then you’ll need to integrate it with your site. Create or sign into your Google account and click Access Google Analytics. From there sign up with your details (account name, website name, etc). Check your boxes, get your tracking ID (write this down and don’t forget it!) and then you’re ready to get it set up on your own website. You can add it manually into your CMS code, install a plug-in, or use a Google Tag Manager.  

Then set up your marketing campaign tracking, define the goals and events you want to track, verify the tracking implementation, and customise away to make sure it’s set up to your liking.  

You’re ready to go from here and get cracking analysing your content marketing.  



Any content marketer is going to be more than familiar with keywords. They’re basically our bread and butter. Google Analytics can help you work out what your customers are actually engaging with by looking at search queries to see what people are searching for to find your site. A site search can also help you determine what keywords are searched when users are actually on your site to see what you should be targeting and whether your copy reflects actual user experience. You can even link GA4 with the Google Search Console 

Using Google Analytics to better understand your keywords can aid in identifying keywords for content creation, help refine and improve your copy, and create internal links that help drive users from high-traffic pages to pages that aren’t performing as well. 


Investigate Traffic

When it comes to creating your content marketing strategy it can be difficult to know what channels to focus your efforts on. With Google Analytics you’re able to see where your traffic is coming from with Acquisition tools. Picking the right channel for your content is integral to a successful content marketing strategy. Does short-form video on social channels have a better conversion rate than email newsletters for your audience? That’s where GA4 comes in with a simple and easy solution.  


Track events  

Simply put, events on GA4 are interactions. Downloads, clicks, and searches are all events. GA4 will automatically collect certain events but you’re able to turn on enhanced measurement events or even custom events so you can track exactly what you need to to gather data that will improve your content.  

Tracking events means you can track how your audience actually responds to the content you create. It tells you if a post was particularly effective in driving sign-ups or purchases or even leading traffic to a certain page. It tells you if copy is compelling and leads to conversions. It even tells you what content keeps people the most engaged. Learning what works and what doesn’t then gives you the information to improve your content marketing or your brand.  


Track engagement

While bounce rate used to be all the rage, Google Analytics has switched the conversation over to engagement rate. GA4 creates reports on engagement rate, average engagement time, and engaged sessions.  

Stick with us here; while these metrics might not seem important for content marketing, they help to track what content is performing well and actually grabbing readers and compelling them to take action (which is traced through events). This data can also help you set goals to improve your strategy. If you’re focused on getting people to stay on your site for longer than improving average engagement time through more compelling web copy or better content marketing to drive traffic there is a great idea.  


Explore performance and ranking

Looking to spot where your website’s content could be improved or which pages you should be driving traffic to? Or just want to see what posts and campaigns have achieved their goals? Luckily for you, Google Analytics can help you rank your pages according to time on their page with Average Time on Page. You can also use behaviour reports to track user journeys and evaluate content performance with conversion rates and engagement metrics.  


e-Commerce tracking

If your site is set up with the primary function of driving sales of products or services, tracking purchases is incredibly important to evaluate your content marketing strategy’s success. GA4 allows you to set up metrics including e-Commerce purchases, product views, and clicks within the platform.  

This means you can see the customer journey and when consumers drop off along the way, as well as when sales rise. With stats like these, analysis of user behaviour becomes a breeze, meaning you can tailor your content to successfully continue to improve sales.  


Audience segmentation  

How do you write content without an audience? It’s super important to understand your audience, and short of just asking them who they are, utilising website data is one of the best ways to discover and segment your audience. If certain demographics are behaving in similar ways you can tailor content for them. The advanced filtering on GA4 means you can break down user behaviour, helping to upgrade your content marketing.  

Top tips: Remember you can use the search bar to find exactly what you’re looking for – i.e. search ‘engagement rate March 2020’ rather than having to navigate using the filters.  

Don’t forget about the anomaly detection for your data. Google is set up to automatically detect anomalies and let you know so you’re not left with errors or confusion at the end of the quarter.  

Make sure you set up alerts for your team! You can even create custom insight alerts that fit with your KPIs so you know when you’re hitting them!  


Without clear objectives and metrics, however, the data Google Analytics provides can seem confusing or irrelevant. That’s why before you start trying to create a data-driven marketing strategy you should consider what your actual objectives are. Then set goals to ensure you achieve these objectives. The data can be used to help you decide on the right course, pick what works for your brand, and track your progression. Google provides you with the information, you just have to know how to use it right. That’s the key to utilising Google Analytics effectively for your content marketing.   

Let’s face it – not everyone working in marketing is a data whiz. Sometimes it can get confusing when you’re faced with lots of numbers and just want to get on with content creation and engaging with your audience. Without the insight data provides though, you’re never going to get to where you want to be – the top, right? If you’re looking at incorporating Google Analytics into your content marketing strategy,  don’t struggle alone.  


Get in touch with our team at Punch Creative through our email or handy contact form. We’ve got you covered.