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Hello, I'm reading GH for a long time on daily basis and there was a ton of content I loved. But it seems to me, nearly every piece of content in this space (not only GH) is tailored towards SaaS, Apps or products that have a pricing plan.

But what about different sites like online communities (e.g. Reddit or GH itself), price comparisons, deal sites, Ad-driven news sites etc.? (Let's call them "content sites" in this discussion.) I think there is a huge difference in defining and measuring activation and retention. Question: When is a user activated on a content site?

If I define it in terms of "1 topic created", "1 answer written" or "3 deals visited", "1 price alert added" that's not entirely true. A user could have understood the value of a content site way before. I visit GH every day, but never posted before. Does this mean I wasn't activated before this post? I honestly don't think so, since I understood what this is about and loved it.

So maybe the metric should be something like "the user visited 5 pages in his session". If someone clicks that much on GH or a deals site, it seems he found good stuff and probably realized the value. But what if there's a timespan with really bad deals or way less fluctuation on trending topics. So people just clicked less. The brand new feature I deployed at the same time looks now like a really bad thing in my cohort analysis. But in reality, it had nothing with the feature. How can you know that a new feature/presentation/layout-change was good or bad, _if the content is the value and the value is always fluctuating by external triggers_ and you can't necessarely change that?

For example a niche news site - if there aren't great stories you can't just make them up, can you? Do you have some examples or thoughts, what metrics you would take for activation? And since users don't have to be logged in, and you don't even know if that's their first visit, how much does this change? It's way harder or even impossible to measure retention on a content site compared to SaaS, an app or a product with user authentification, isn't it? And why is there no content about this topics?

Haven't I found it, are content site not interested in data driven decisions or is AARRR, Lean Startup & Co just not applicable for content sites in an actionable way? Is it just that the theory is great and you take as much as you can? Like you had an amazing cooking course and now you try to use your knowledge to make better icecream? ;-)

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and maybe it even inspires some bloggers to seamingly unique content ideas.

  • EF

    Ed Fry

    over 2 years ago #

    Yes - at inbound.org, we modelled out reader activation by visitors => active readers => active contributors. Here's some of our old numbers modelled out: edfryed.com/blog/quantified-content-strategy-building-a-predictive-growth-model-for-inboundorg

    Content = Product. It needs the "aha!" moment too: https://get.hull.io/complete-guide-pqls/chapter5/

  • GC

    Gary-Yau Chan

    over 2 years ago #

    > How can you know that a new feature/presentation/layout-change was good or bad, _if the content is the value and the value is always fluctuating by external triggers_ and you can't necessarely change that? For example a niche news site - if there aren't great stories you can't just make them up, can you?

    Isolate design to evergreen flat content. Dig your Google Analytics, identify consistently flat traffic pages, and change the design on those pages, to see if you have any lift and drip.

    Then move forward to test on new content but split A/B test, 50% 50%.

    > Do you have some examples or thoughts, what metrics you would take for activation? And since users don't have to be logged in, and you don't even know if that's their first visit, how much does this change?

    At Unsplash, the stock photography website, users do not need to sign up to use. We Acquire them and they land on site. We look at if they engage (search, click, download) as a form of Activation. Then further identify if any one of those marks a behavior to more likely to return.

    Assuming you have a Content site, see if new-visitors acquired to read the story, time on page, click share, click on related articles, subscribe, and etc.. Run which one cohort returns to the site. This steps into retention, getting to readers to give you their email.

    The ultimate form of activation for a content site is Commenting. If you read above @edfryed post on Inbound .org (http://edfryed.com/blog/quantified-content-strategy-building-a-predictive-growth-model-for-inboundorg) or the analysis about GrowthHacker community (you might have to search this one), the best users are one that's comment, not the ones who submit links. Promote questions and people to share.

    > It's way harder or even impossible to measure retention on a content site compared to SaaS, an app or a product with user authentification, isn't it? And why is there no content about this topics? Haven't I found it, are content site not interested in data driven decisions or is AARRR, Lean Startup & Co just not applicable for content sites in an actionable way?

    I learn this the hard way. It's not about buttons and features. But the new content your users crave. Make sure the content aligns with what your readers want. Continue to test unique ways to deliver this.

    > Is it just that the theory is great and you take as much as you can?

    I tested some content XPs you can read more about some of them here: https://medium.com/garyyauchan, "interactive content", "encouraging commenting", "convert content to video", "survey forms"

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