As with all sections of your website, a blog is no different in requiring the right hotel data to understand if your efforts are paying off. Marketing teams know that carefully managed blogs can help drive revenue for their hotels, but don’t fully understand how or why.
Using data and reports from Google Analytics can help bloggers focus less on vanity metrics and more on the hotel metrics that can uncover the type of content that attracts, engages and converts visitors to a hotel’s website.
Average Time on Page
Does exactly what it says on the tin! Average time on page reveals the amount of time, on average that visitors spend reading your blog posts. Generally, the longer they are spending on your post or article the better.
To find average page on time data in Google Analytics, navigate to REPORTS>Behaviour>Site Content > All Pages. Here you will be able to see Avg. Time on Page for every page on your site including your blog. You made need to scroll through a couple of pages using the scroll bar in the bottom right hand corner until you locate your blog page(s).
Comparing average time on page with the estimated reading time goes one step further in understanding if the blog post was engaging and whether people are reading it. For example, on the Hotel Benchmark blog, each of our posts list how much time it takes on average to read the post.
Comparing this to the average time on page is a good benchmark to see if the post was engaging. The average time on page should closely match the estimated time to read. Tools like this one could help to determine the estimated reading time for your blogs: https://niram.org/read/
Setting up scroll tracking as an event in Google Analytics lets you see how far visitors are scrolling down pages which is very useful for identifying content that perhaps isn’t performing well. Using Google Tag Manager, you can add a scroll depth event i.e. a Google Analytics event that reveals how far a visitor has scrolled down a page or across a page. Vertical scroll depths fire based on how far down a user scrolls, and horizontal scroll depths fire based on how far to the right a user moves across the page.
To configure a scroll depth trigger:
1. Click Triggers and then New
2. Click Trigger Configuration and choose the Scroll Depth trigger type
3. Select scroll depth options
4. Select when the trigger should be enabled
Depth values can be set as percentages or as pixels. To see if a user scrolls 90% of the way down a blog page, it is possible to select percentages and enter 10, 50, 90 to set trigger points at 10%, 50%, and 90% of the page height. When this trigger is applied to a tag and a user scrolls 90% of the way towards the bottom of the page, the tag will fire three times: Once at 10%, once at 50%, and once at 90%.
The bounce rate shows the percentage of visitors that leave your site having only viewed one page. A lower bounce rate is better, but equally if a visitor has read the whole post, a high bounce rate is not necessarily bad which can be a little misleading and why it is important to put any of your metrics into context using one or two alongside each other. The ideal scenario is if a user continues to engage with the site after reading a blog post. You can test adding Call-to-Action buttons at the bottom of the page to see if this affects your bounce rate.
Google Analytics records an entrance for each page that a user begins a new session on. The number of entrances given for a specific page like a blog post shows how many users began their session with that specific page and a sign that a blog post was either shared on a website or social platform or is ranking organically in search engines. Remember, ranking organically is a desirable way to drive traffic to your site. If you are wondering how you can apply this to future blog posts, it to identify searches a blog post can actually rank for. It’s always a good idea to scout the competition of a blog theme you are considering and assess if it might be possible to outrank or at least rank on the first page with a more in-depth blog post. Niche blog posts with long tail keywords might not have the highest search volume but will increase your chances to rank on the first page.
While the reports and metrics we have talked about may be something new to look at, always make sure that you put your data into context and benchmark the data, weekly or monthly to see if your metrics are improving and you are moving in the right direction. Data and metrics aside, a content calendar for your blog is a great place to begin and a very useful tool to help you keep track of what you need and when you need it. By laying out a content plan over a period of time (three months is a good start), it can help keep you organised and you can brief other team members within the hotel or marketing team where contribution is required in advance. Lay out the days you plan to post on your blog and/or social media, the type of content you intend to share and other information which may help you stay on track.
When creating your content calendar, make sure you do your research on keywords first and then consider your audience. What would your visitors be interested in? The hotel and travel industry presents lots of opportunities for interesting content around your destination, experiences, food and drink. Travel may be on pause now, but it is important that you stay connected with your audience. As restrictions begin to ease and visitors begin thinking about holidays and travelling again, think about the type of content that will inspire them to consider your destination and hotel, targeting different audiences and markets with different messages through your blog.
If you would like to talk to one of the team about your blog, just drop us an email.