Published on: 11-10-2013

Analytics for online magazines: the basics

If you put time and effort into creating a beautiful magazine, then you will also want to know the outcome and have insight into how your readers consume your content. Was your content interesting enough? How can you find out? Start measuring!

Add your magazine to your Analytics account

Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service offered by Google. You can easily integrate our service by adding your tracking code (UA code). You can then consult your dashboard to see how many people visited your magazine. How much time did they spend reading it? Which pages were most relevant? Where did they exit your magazine? How did they access your magazine (Facebook, e-mail or your website)?

Analytics starts with clear objectives

It might sound a bit simplistic, but measuring only works if you know what you want to measure. If you want to focus on online sales, you’ll have to check how many visitors ordered products through your magazine. If you want to improve brand awareness, you’ll have to focus on the number of new visitors to your magazine and how often it has been shared. If you want to spread news, then the amount of pages per visitor and the average time per page will be important metrics. Do you want leads? Measure the number of inquiries. Define the purpose of your magazine and set clear objectives.

For example:

  • I want 70% new visitors
  • I want the reader to read at least 8 pages
  • I want 80% of the readers to visit the magazine
  • I want 15 business inquiries
  • I want 3% of the visitors to share the magazine on social media

Restructure your content
Try to categorize content in your magazine. Label your pages. For example: a news page, a testimonial about your company, tips and a case study. Stick to this formula for a couple of magazines. This is how you can spot trends. What information are your visitors looking for and what topic do they share the most? And where do your visitors exit your magazine? Based on this information, you will be better able to optimize your publication.

The most important reports

Don’t measure too much. Use a view reports for every magazine. As mentioned previously, this will depend on the exact purpose of your magazine. Generally speaking, the following metrics will serve as a good basis:

  • Traffic: Where did your visitors come from when they entered your magazine? Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, your website or via a QR code? Do you see a difference in the visitors’ behavior? 
  • Most important content: What pages get the most views? What about the click-through on your pages? Which page did you feel was the most important? What were that page’s results, and do you think it should be moved to the front of your magazine? Should you include it in the highlights mentioned on your cover page?
  • Mobile: What’s the ratio between mobile visitors and desktop visitors? If mobile visitors are in the majority, then be sure not to use images that are too heavy and don’t pad out your text too much.
  • Session duration: How many did the average visitor view? How long did they stay? What’s the bounce rate? What pages provided the greatest engagement?
  • Conversions: You can add goals in Google Analytics. For example: leads, engagement, sales etc. Read more about setting goals in Google Analytics.

Extra metrics in Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers more metrics for measuring your readers’ behavior. We automatically activate a lot of ‘events’ when you add your magazine’s tracking code to Google Analytics. These events include:

  • Scroll depth (for long reads)
  • Outbound links
  • Played and paused videos
  • Completed forms
  • Opens over overlays
  • Navigation (swipe or buttons)
  • etc.

Create columns and compare results from different magazines. This will help you to spot trends. Good luck with the first steps! If you find analytics to be too complicated, then feel free to contact us.

Want to start right away? Register for a 14-day free trial and discover the endless possibilities our tool has to offer.

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