Using Google Analytics to Create High-Converting Content Marketing Headlines

Mar 31, 2015

Legendary advertising copywriter David Ogilvy once wrote, “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” What was true then is still true today. The more you test headline variations, the more likely you are to see your click-through-rate and conversions soar.

create content using Google Analytics

Successful marketing is basically an exercise in empathy the better you become at getting into the heads and hearts of your target audience, the greater the odds that your marketing campaigns will generate a healthy return on investment. Fortunately, much of the guesswork in creating material that will resonate with your readers can be eliminated by testing variations of your content headline.

Why are Headlines so Important?

  • An average of 80 percent of readers who are exposed to a given article will read the headline.
  • Only 20 percent will read the body text.
  • The more saturated the marketing landscape becomes, the more important it is to create compelling headlines that cut through the clutter and grab the reader’s attention.

What is A/B Testing?
Sometimes referred to as split-testing, A/B testing involves preparing two ads that are identical except for the text or design element being tested. Be sure to include a call-to-action so that response to the ads can be measured. Each ad is randomly displayed to members of your target audience, and the results are tallied to determine which variation generated the greater response.

A/B testing can be used to determine the most effective approach to take with any of your content elements, including headlines, body text, images, and call-to-action offers. Just be sure to test only one element at a time – if you try to test multiple elements at the same time, you’ll never know exactly what was responsible for generating a given response.

How to Set Up an A/B Test with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is Google’s free analytics software suite, which includes the ability to conduct your own A/B testing of different content elements. If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, visit google.com/analytics to get started.

Select an end goal for your test. Remember, you only want to test one “event” at a time. One of the easiest tests to set up is a basic sales page with a single purchase button

Because Google Analytics doesn’t offer a default user clicks measurement, you’ll need to add a short line of Javascript to the purchase button code (the Buy Button) based on the following structure: onClick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘opt_label’);”
Additional details about the code structure can be found at: developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/gajs/eventTrackerGuide

Create two versions of your ad, each on a separate .html file on your server and featuring a different headline. The button code previously created in Step #2 should stay the same.

Log in to your Google Analytics dashboard and select Content > Experiment; experiment is Google’s term for A/B tests. Enter the URL of the original “A” page that you wish to improve, then enter the URL of the alternate “B” version.

Select your testing metric. Google can only register the click “event” created in Step #2 if it’s part of a “goal.” From your dashboard, click “Create New Goal” then “+Goal.” Choose “Event” then “That is Equal to” under “Goal Details.” Finally enter the event value “Buy Button” that you selected in Step #2 and click “Save.”

Select the desired percentage of audience that you want to include in the test and click “Save and Next.”

Add the A/B testing code by selecting “I’ll Add the Experiment Code Myself.” Paste the code to both versions of your page. Google will then validate your setup with a green check mark beside each URL. That’s it! You can expect to start seeing results within 24 to 48 hours.