Google Analytics has always been big on categories and comparisons. Their Content Groupings feature has been available since December 2013 and aims to help you compare performance of different content and products, but many companies are still missing out. It’s tough to say why some businesses aren’t using Content Groupings, but they’re an easy way to take your Analytics and your content strategy to the next level. If you’re looking to get more advanced, this can be your next step.
A Recap: Google Analytics content groups vs. content groupings
This feature centers around creating groups and then comparing metrics for those groups. According to MarketingLand, “if you’ve been using Advanced Segments to aggregate product or types of content, Content Grouping will be an easier and more helpful way to look at aggregated data.” Once implemented, Groupings become a part of your content reports where you can see your data based on each group.
Because you’re going to be measuring different types or piece of content, you may want to narrow in on URL, page title, filters, etc. when you create your groups. This will allow you to compare individual webpages or even help you keep things organized. For example, you may want to compare individual web pages such as Flowers/Wedding/Roses/index.html vs. Flowers/Décor/Sunflowers/index.html. More on how you can use Content Groupings later.
Before you get started creating Content Groupings and learning how they can work for you, it’s important to understand two different terms. They have slightly different definitions and purposes, but both are important to using this feature:
- Content Groupings. In Google Analytics you are allowed to create up to 5 content groupings. For example, you may want to create a content grouping for Birthdays, Baby Showers, and Mother’s Day if you own a flower business.
- Content Groups. Within each of your content groupings you can create an unlimited number of content groups. To continue using the flower example, you may want to create content groups Roses, Sunflowers, and Lilies for each of the groupings.
Once you have your groupings and then your groups (I like to think of it as categories and then sub-categories) you can start your comparisons. You can check out the official video on Content Groupings from Google here.
Keep in mind that once you create a grouping you can edit that grouping, but you can’t delete it and start fresh altogether. It’s therefore important to really put some time into thinking about how it all works and what you want to compare first before getting started.
How to get started with content groups
The easiest way to get started is to lie out a plan of what you want your content groupings to be and then what you may want to add under each group as your groups. Once you have the groundwork set to go, you essentially have two steps to complete, but each with their sub-steps, or own instructions:
Step #1: Creating content groupings
You can get started creating one of your five Content Groupings in just five steps from your Google Analytics account:
Click Admin > Content Grouping > Create New Content Grouping > Enter in a name for your grouping > Select your method to create your Groups.
So the last step, “select your method to create your Groups,” isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. The Content Grouping feature allows you to create your Groups in three different ways. It’s up to you if you want to use one, two, or all three approaches.
Step #2: Adding content groups to your content groupings with up to three different methods.
If you decide to use more than one approach, Google Analytics will group your data that goes along with the first match it sees. This makes more sense once you learn what the three options are. Below lists those three options in order of what Analytics will evaluate first if you do choose to create your Groups with two or three of the options:
- Group by Tracking Code.
This will tell Google Analytics which context you want to use and which Grouping you want to add the context under. In other words, each Grouping will be associated with a number, and you need to use that number in a single line of code to tell Google Analytics which Grouping you want your new Group to belong to. Since you can only have 5 Groupings, they will be labeled with numbers 1-5. Visit this article from Google Analytics to learn the technical aspects if you’re not familiar with tracking codes or don’t have an IT department.
Selecting this method: Under Group By Tracking Code, click Enable Tracking Code. Select an index number (1-5) to identify your Group and click Done.
- Group by Extraction.
This option uses a feature of Google Analytics called Regular Expressions. If you’ve never used Regular Expressions before, visit here first. This will automatically name Groupings for you, and you will have three choices for extraction:
- Page URL. If you create a Content Grouping for each subdirectory of /Wedding/ for example, it means that pages found under this URL will be extracted out and then placed into the correct Group.
- Page Title. Any page that has the title that you specify will then correspondingly be put into the right Group.
- Screen Name. This works the same way as Page Title except with screen names that include the words you indicated.
Selecting this method: Click Add Extraction, and then select the Page URL, Page Title, or Screen Name of the Groupings you’re working with.
- Group by Rules you Create.
This option allows you to manually name the Group you want to include in a grouping as opposed to having Analytics pull the Group for you (which is how it works in the Extraction option). If a piece of content matches you rule then it will be added to the correct Group and Grouping.
Selecting this method: Click Create a Rule Set. Enter the name you want to use for your Group, select one of the three options mentioned in option two above. You can then add conditions to your Rule (you’ll be taken through the steps if you select this method).
How content groups can be beneficial for your small business
For any business looking to improve their content strategy this is an excellent feature to be able to compare what’s working and what isn’t in terms of content. If one Grouping is doing much better than another, you’ll know what you need to analyze and when.
Of course, Content Groupings and Groups are not going to be overly helpful if you aren’t creating the right types of Groups. According to a HigherVisibility article, there several different ways you can organize your content to make the most of this feature, a few examples including:
- Product Categories. This is great for e-commerce companies.
- Navigation. Groups for your top-level navigation can help you with organization.
- Content Types. Infographics, interviews, videos, e-books, podcasts, etc.
- Sales Flow. This helps give you another view of your conversion funnel. Groupings like conversion page and checkout page work well here.
- Blog Post Categories. Pretty self-explanatory; just make sure you have no overlap.
- Authors. This helps you see how certain authors compare to others in terms of success.
As far as knowing which method to use (tracking code, extraction, or rule), it’s tough to say. It depends completely on your company and what you’re looking to compare. The tracking method is great if you have an e-commerce company because you already have categories ready to go, whereas the other two methods are more flexible. All three should give you the same results; it’s just a matter of personal preference!
This article was written by John Rampton from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Originally published on Aug 20, 2015 9:59 AM, updated Sep 16, 2016