How To Use Google Analytics Interests Reports To Fuel Content Creation & Attract The Right Audience
How To Use Google Analytics Interests Reports To Fuel Content Creation & Attract The Right Audience

How To Use Google Analytics Interests Reports To Fuel Content Creation & Attract The Right Audience

Understanding WHO you are creating content for and WHY you are creating content for them are two key factors that contribute to the success of your digital campaigns.

What I’m about to show you, is how to use the data in the interests report in Google Analytics to create the right kind of content for the right audience.

The example I’m using is a site that sells products relating to the home.

Just in case this is new to you, I’ll quickly explain what the different reports in this section are:

screenshot of interest report in GA

  • Affinity categories are like interest topics. If someone regularly engages with content about interior design and regularly visits websites and webpages around this topic then they will be in the interior design affinity category. Affinity categories take a much more ‘top level’ view to grouping visitors. For more granular insights, be sure to look at the ‘other categories’ report.
  • In-market segments are visitors who, based on their behaviour, are ‘in-market’ and close to or likely to make a purchase in the specified category.
  • Other Categories are basically interests again but much more granular than affinity categories.

Got it?

OK, so what?

First you need to know WHO you want to attract to your website

Head on over to Google Analytics and go to the demographic reports as shown above. This time go to demographics.

What you are looking for is your most valuable customers. Upon finding them, you are going to drill down and try to find out a bit more about them so you can better attract and engage them with your content.

So let’s look first at gender:

screenshot of gender report in GA

Female visitors outnumber male visitors around 2:1 but male visitors convert much higher and account for around 44% of the revenue. It could be worth thinking about how can you can attract more male visitors either through content or paid campaigns.

Note: This is for a different blog post but worth noting that the buying motive and behaviour for males will likely be different. I’d carry out further quantitative research looking at what they buy, order values, quantities and which pages they visit and how they arrive at the site as well as qualitative research (surveys) to learn more about why they are buying.

For themselves? For their wife? The answer to that question alone will totally change your approach to content and ads to attract these visitors.

So moving on and looking at age:

screenshot of age report in GA

Be sure to look at the age report for each gender but in this example, the age split is similar across both genders with the 25-44 and 55-64 age ranges accounting for most of the visits, with the older age range converting higher and generating the most revenue. The 45-54 range is also significant.

So let’s drill down and find out more about them:

table showing male and female interests by age

The table above shows the interests of your most valuable visitors. The interests highlighted in yellow are the ones that are generating the most revenue. So for example, women age 55-64 visiting the site are generating the most revenue and this audience segment is interested in cooking and recipes, real estate listings, weather, classifieds etc.

Looking at the table of the interests broken down by gender and age, you now know a lot more about your visitors. More importantly, the visitors that are generating the most revenue for your business.

Let’s have one more dig before looking at how to use this data. This time starting with the Affinity Categories report.

affinity categories screenshot

NOTE: For this data to be meaningful, you need to have enough conversions from which to base decisions. Ideally over 100 per segment but you could get away with half that bearing in mind your data won’t be as accurate. Expanding the date range of the report should be fine as long as nothing drastically changed about your products and services.

So what you want to dig further into are the ones that are generating the most revenue and/or that have high conversion rates. In this example let’s look at Home Decor Enthusiasts:

affinity category home decor ages screenshot

The 55-64 age range generates the most revenue which is consistent with our earlier findings. Other ages are also consistent. But the 65+ age range converts highly for this affinity category. It might be worth thinking about how you could better attract and serve these visitors.

For the purposes of this example let’s stick to the 55-64 age range.

affinity category home decor ages gender screenshot

We can see that in this high converting affinity category of visitors who are age 55-64, women outspend men by just less than 60%.

An alternative way of viewing this data could be to create segments for each gender and age and view the affinity report for each.

I recommend importing this demographic segment report from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.

Do this for the rest of the highest revenue generating affinity categories and compile your results in a table like we did earlier for the interests.

You Have Identified Your High Value Visitors, Their Ages & Their Interests. Now You Need To Use This Data To Better Attract & Engage Them With Your Content

So now you know the age ranges of your most valuable visitors along with the gender split and what topics each age range is interested in for both genders. So what? How do you use this data.

The main two ways we can use this data are:

Let’s look at content first:

The topic ‘real estate listings’ features strongly and generates a lot of revenue, as does the affinity category ‘home decor enthusiasts’. Given that the site sells home related items, there could be a number of possibilities why these categories feature highly:

  • A lot of these people may be in the process of moving home or thinking about moving home
  • The older demographic may have children looking to move out and get their first or second place
  • They might not be looking to move and using the real estate sites for inspiration and ideas to decorate or renovate their own home

So applying this data to content creation, what you need to do is simply join the conversation in these topic areas but talk about it in the voice of your brand and in a way that relates to your products and services.

If you sell dark, gothic home products then you don’t want to be creating content around nice bright home designs for example. These people might click your ad or the search result and engage with your content but they will never buy your products. Worthless.

You want to pull out the prospects who are interested in what you sell so you need to talk about home design ideas from the dark, gothic angle if that relates to your product range. If your product range is eco friendly then you need to take that approach.

See where this is going? Same topic, different angle where the angle relates to what you sell. This way the right people will engage with the content and therefore are more likely to become part of your audience, buy from you and respond to retargeting ads etc.

You can do this with almost ANY topic.

E.g. Weather… How To Keep The Kids Entertained Indoors When It’s Raining… you could then make that relevant to your brand, products and services by showing images that relate to them or inserting a product in the post, maybe mention about wear and tear of fabrics or how a sheet could double up as a cape in a game. If you are talking to the older demographic, maybe you take the angle of grandchildren?

This is the part you need to work at. Making the topics relevant to your brand, products and services. Do that and you will attract the right audience segments who are most likely to buy from you and respond to your ad messaging.

Important: It is usually better not to try and talk to everybody with one piece of content. Choose a segment you want to talk to and create a piece of content just for them. You should see a lot more engagement from the right people.

Measuring What Content These Audience Segments Are Engaging With

In Google Analytics, simply choose the segment you want to measure like below and look at their behaviour on the site. What pages do they visit, what content do they engage with the most? Do more of what works.


screenshot of segment report in GA

Using The Data To Fuel Paid Advertising, Content Promotion & Offsite Activity

The data tells you what topics the audience is interested in… so what sites they are browsing around the web basically.

You know where they hang out now when they are not on your site so any guesses where you should look at paid advertising to promote your content or your Display ads?

Look at the interests of the target audience segment and look to promote your content on high quality sites that talk about these topics.

Looking for a guest blog opportunity, a forum to participate in or a person to interview? Look at your interests report and find sites relating to these topics. Just remember to keep things relevant to your products and services and in the voice of your brand.

Google themselves actually talk about and encourage you to carry out the activity detailed in this post. You can read more about it here:

To find conversations and websites talking about your target interests and topics:

  • Buzzsumo – most share content, influencers etc
  • Spike – (identifies trends)
  • Google Trends
  • Similar Sites
  • Twitter (or Twitter search tools like Topsy) – just search for your topic and look at the accounts that are talking about it. Follow the links to their websites.
  • Facebook – same thing but look at the pages with an engaged audience talking about the topic. Follow the links to their sites.
  • Google Search:
    • search for things like inurl:topic or intitle:topic or combinations such as… inurl:blog intitle:topic

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