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What You Need to Know About Your Stats if You Want to Work With Brands on Your Blog

This is a guest contribution from Louisa Claire of Brand Meets Blog, a blogger outreach agency marrying brands with the bloggers who want to work with them. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by last week’s Partnering with Brands theme week, this might give you just the inspiration you need…

When bloggers start working with brands they tend to be full of excitement about the opportunities that come with it. 

One of the biggest challenges for businesses is how to determine the ROI (return on investment) with bloggers. For every dollar they spend on marketing their business, they are looking for a corresponding return. Sometimes this comes in awareness and they will measure it based on reach only, other times they are tying it to sales. To work out the ROI they look at how many people they reached through blogging and compare that number and the cost involved with how many people they would have reached through traditional advertising or PR activity. We are also increasingly seeing agencies also compare potential blogger reach with how many people they could reach via targeted Facebook advertising. 

The whole way it works is complicated and, to be honest, a bit nonsensical because unlike with traditional media where you can know how many people bought the publication but not how many people actually read the bit about your business, you can measure exactly how many people clicked on a link about your post, how long they spent reading that post and what they did after they read it (comments, clicked away, clicked on a link to the business etc…). And of course, with bloggers brands are not just getting eyeballs on them, but a personal introduction through a trusted voice.

Unfortunately many bloggers have bought into this idea that what matters most is the number of hits your blog gets. The holy grail of blogging is more people looking at your site today, than yesterday and seeing that number going up and up and up.

What I would like to suggest is that bloggers who want to experience success working with brands and earn a solid income from it, need to focus not on having the most people visiting their site, but the most relevant and interested people reading. If you can begin to understand where your readers and visitors come from, what they do when they come to their site and what that means about their interests then you can ensure you work with brands that fit not only with your own interests, but with those of your readers. Of course, having this information isn’t just useful when working with brands, it actually gives you great insight into what is and isn’t resonating with your readership generally – golden!

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The impact of search

The amount of search traffic your blog gets from places like Google and Pinterest has the potential to significantly impact how you understand the nature of your blog readership and the influence your blog has. I think this is a big one given the recent rise of highly searchable industries like health and wellness, and of course, Pinterest. 

If you blog regularly about things such as a meal planning, recipes, birthday party ideas,  fitness, beauty etc… then you are most likely going to generate a solid amount of search traffic. Some bloggers might even find that a large percentage of their traffic is going to one specific post every day. 

Let’s look at some numbers to understand this: Let’s say your blog has 50,000 users per month but 25% of your traffic goes to the amazing recipe you wrote about pumpkin and lentil soup. A further 25% of your traffic is coming to other posts you’ve previously written meaning that though you have 50,000 users a month only 25,000 are truly likely to see the latest post that you have written – that post you wrote for a brand, for example.

Now let’s consider where those users are coming from – are they local to you or global? If you’re trying to appeal to brands and advertisers in your country then the geographic location of those users will be really important. 

Can you see how if you told a brand that you had 50,000 users that you might create a situation where the brand was disappointed by the results that came from working with you? If you had told them that you had 50,000 users overall but 20,000 that were relevant to them as a brand then they would have been able to go into the working relationship with you with appropriate expectations and likely have been delighted by the results.

There are a couple of other things you can take notice of that will give you the edge when working with brands.

Take the time to understand your Uniques vs Pageviews (or Users and Pageviews as they are now called in Google Analytics)

I think that bloggers are sometimes afraid of their stats – that they aren’t “good enough” or need to be presented in the best possible light in order to be appealing. It’s true that stats matter to brands, but it’s equally true that many brands understand that a bloggers true value is in the personal connection they have with their readers and they are open, even eager, to understand how working with bloggers can help them.

The key point to understand when looking at your stats is that if you look at your pageviews in isolation you will get a skewed (but probably attractive) picture of your blog traffic and if you look at the uniques you will get an equally skewed (and what might feel like a less exciting) picture. The truth is that these two numbers hold a lot of information in them when you look at them together.

I’ve previously written a more comprehensive overview on the issue of Unique Visitors vs Total Pageviews which will help anyone struggling to understand the significance of these two numbers being view together.

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Bounce Rates and Pages per Session

Bounces rates relate to how many people leave your site from the same page they landed on (ie they only look at the one post) and Pages per Session shows you the average number of pages that your readers look at when they visit your blog.

My experience tells me that bloggers with strong communities and influence have a high ratio of pageviews to users and sessions. That is people who visit their blog tend to look at a lot of posts while they are there – giving them a lower bounce rate and a higher page per sessions figure. If you’re not getting at least 2-3 pages per session on your blog right now then my suggestion would be to stop focussing on increasing your pageviews and start putting some energy into increasing this number – not just because you want to work with brands but because you want to form deeper relationships with your readers.

If you’ve spent the time getting a good understanding of how your uniques and total views per month work and what your bounce rate is then you’ll be able to give helpful information to brands that demonstrates your influence and value to them and I can tell you this, it will give you a great advantage when you start talking to potential brand partners. 

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Comments

  1. Lilybett says:

    I have a quick question about the effect of sites like bloglovin’ or even people who are notified of new posts via facebook. Wouldn’t that skew the figures of number of pages per session? If you have loyal readers who’ve been around for a while and are linked into your blog by a feeder, wouldn’t they be less likely to read a higher number of pages because they know your content? In those cases they’d keep coming back for the new post but just the new post…

    • Louisa says:

      This is a great question Lilybett – you’re right that this could skew the figures, it would likely depend on how many people you have following you via bloglovin’ etc… I would suggest that whatever platform you use to deliver your posts to people via email you use something that lets you track opens and clicks as that will give you even more data to include when talking to brands about the size and strength of your community.

  2. Ren says:

    It’s very informative, thanks for sharing that.
    I guess i’m looking forward to something about the useful linking sites from you! :)

  3. Ren says:

    It’s very informative, thanks for sharing that.:)

    • Rob Fleming says:

      Awesome post thx! when i was starting out i used to burn out every 4 or 5 days because i would work non-stop and then crash…so what i do now is set daily goals and stick to them!!!

  4. Anurag says:

    I always tend to see how much traffic I am getting from search engines but never bothered about other resources as they don’t give me much traffic.
    Will see into it once I get decent traffic.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Pauleen says:

    Hi, Louisa!

    This is indeed an epic post, I must say.

    I believe that working with brands bring more hopeful, profitable opportunities for bloggers, and the biggest challenge for businesses here is to identify the return on investment (or the ROI) with bloggers.

    As what you’ve said, businesses look at the number of people they reached through blogging and compare it and the cost involved with the number of people they will reach through the traditional advertising methods.

    Well, as for me, bloggers must do the right and wise approach to become successful in working with brands, as well as to earn money from it. Like what you’ve suggested, they should focus on the most relevant and interested readers, instead of focusing on the number of their visitors.

    The illustrations given above helped to illustrate the concept well.

    Thanks for the post!

    -Pauleen

  6. Great blog, there is certainly no need to go any further to look for any additional information. Thanks for posting such a nice blog.

  7. metz says:

    Spot on! Yes, traffic and visitors would be useless even if they’re high. Focusing on creating a relevant post for interested people is more important, rather than having most of people visiting your site.

    To summarize what I’ve comprehended in this guest post from Louisa Claire of Brand Meets Blog, that the overall amount of traffic you’ve gained through your social media accounts can help your blog leverage its readership and influence. Searchable brands or blogs are powerful.

    Well, we need to take note all the important tips and estimations, we need to follow, if we want to work with big brands.

    As we know, Brands have deep pockets and large customer bases that make them attractive partners or customers for startups looking to gain market traction.

    I have shared this comment in the content syndication and social bookmarking and networking website for Internet marketers – kingged.com where this post was found.

  8. Carol Amato says:

    Hello Louisa,

    I really enjoyed your article and while I did find it ‘meaty’ – I was pleased that I was able to follow through.

    In the last 5 months I started using Google URL Builder in order to see where my traffic was coming from.

    I use it for Facebook, AWeber emails, Google Plus, etc.

    Now, when I go into Google Analytics, I see exactly how much traffic is coming via those specialized links.

    My pages/sessions stat is 3.34 so, I guess this could be better. My bounce rate is 10.29% which has drastically improved a lot over the last 4 months.

    I will bookmark this post and I also signed up to your list on your own site.

    Thanks a lot,
    Carol Amato

    • Louisa says:

      Hi Carol
      Thanks for your comment! I think that 3.34 is a pretty good start for pages/session and 10.29% is a fantastic bounce rate. When you get a bounce rate that is that low it can be worth checking you haven’t accidentally installed Google Analytics twice on your site. I’m so glad you found this post helpful (even if a bit ‘meaty’ – though that’s the way I like my posts ;)!)
      Cheers,
      Louisa

  9. These are all valuable tips. I like the idea of creating an entire package for the brand and not just selling sidebar Ads. I’m just starting out and would love to know how to find brands to work with in the first place! Thank you for this amazing giveaway!

  10. Mi Muba says:

    Hi Louisa
    You pointed well that there are two main yardsticks to assess the rate of return on investment which business do to promote their products with internet marketing.
    The either see how much brand awareness has been enhanced with the given investment or they calculate the positive difference in sales volume to see the impact.
    For the former case it is necessary to have thorough understanding of blog stats to examine how it is creating brand awareness. The level of engagement of readers, their stay on blog and their surfing of various posts do show how you are successful to boost a business with a blog.
    All your points are really I awesome and help a lot to those who do blogging for business. Thanks for sharing.
    I found this post at kingged.com and also kingged it there.

    • Louisa says:

      Hi Mi, thanks for the feedback. You’re absolutely right – for brands to understand their return they need to get smart about understanding the stats that bloggers share with them. I appreciate you taking the time to comment here!

  11. Hey Louisa,

    Awesomely written. In an article I read on ProBlogger last week Darren said about how stats matter for branding. So this article’s a bless for me. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Castor says:

    Good Suggestions! I love the idea of using pinterest to increase blog traffic, but I could never get enough followers and I don’t have that much time to post pins.
    But I agree with the premise of the article. Focus on quality content and the rest will follow.

    • Louisa says:

      Hi Castor, I don’t spend a lot of time on Pinterest myself but I still find that by creating pinnable images that tell a bit of the story they get shared by fellow pinners and that builds traffic toward those posts. I don’t think you have to spend a lot of time on every social network in order to use them to reach new readers for your blog – I hope you have the same experience! Cheers, Louisa

  13. Hitasoft says:

    Awesomely written.It’s very informative, thanks for sharing that.

  14. tobi says:

    Thanks for this great post, I hope to get my blog to the point where i will be able to work with brands someday, but for now I’ll just stick to reading problogger more so i can achieve my goals

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