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Internet Marketing and Web Development in Higher Education and other tidbits…

Live Blogging: What the Heck Do All These Numbers Mean? Web Analytics for Higher Ed

07 Nov 2008

written by Rachel Reuben

Live Blogging: What the Heck Do All These Numbers Mean? Web Analytics for Higher Ed

Presentation @ #stamats08

How are you making Web decisions: Did the prez tell you to do this? Build a picture with meaningful data.

What is the purpose of your college’s Web site. What do you want to get out of it?

Alfred Sloan: Chairman for GM – manages by fact rather than by intuition or emotion.

Conversions are your bread and butter. Measure that. Segment out your users. Traffic is meaningless without context. Content is king.

What is important?

Analytic terms

  • visits
  • pages/visit
  • absolute unique visits
  • % new visits
  • traffic sources
  • landing pages

Average time on site: we have no way of measuring how long they stayed on the last page. Only when a page is initially requested a time stamp is requested. If someone’s on a page for more than 30 min, it boots that too.

A bounce is always an exit, but an exit isn’t always a bounce.

Tools:

  • edurank.nucloud.com
  • Website Grader (includes good SEO info)
  • Google Analytics

Types of Clickstream Data – more specific way to describe Web analytics

Choosing an analytics package: no tool is perfect

Only book he recommends starting with: Web Analytics – An Hour a Day

Spend 10% of you budget on the tools, 90% on the people. With Google Analytics, spend 100% on the people – it’s free.

Data overload? Segment! Filter!

Install up to 100 profiles in Google Analytics – track specific things.

Setup site search – your bread and butter

Standardize data: “We use the “dub” some don’t” (www.wofford.edu vs. wofford.edu)

Filters:

  • Filter sub-domain traffic: include things like — athletics.wofford.edu
  • Including all domains traffic filter – set this up on umbrella profile
  • Exclude IP traffic filter, such as oncampus traffic
  • directory filter — such as just the admissions site, wofford.edu/admissions
  • country filter – U.S. only? international? Setup city traffic for community colleges
  • tracking and tagging: how do you make sure it’s coming in the right way – destination URL tagging
  • tracking links & tagging audience segments

Site Search Report – good keyword data. People tell you how they like to see things, what they’re searching for. Address the needs they have for you.

Keyword reporting from search engines – bigger picture.

Titles are so important for search engines. Any page on your site could be the first experience they have with your school at all.

Referring sites report: important to know where your traffic/people are coming from.

404 error page report – dead links? where did we fail? what were they looking for? fix problems! Setup redirects, correct links, fix it for them without them having to do anything. Improve the user experience.

Goals & Conversions: This is where you really decide, where ROI comes from. It’s not perfect, but it’s 90/95% accurate.

There’s so much more you need to be tracking/monitoring.

Offline Campaigns: Vanity URLs: Help with tracking, but some people may strip the “extras” (fitynyc.edu/subway vs. fitnyc.edu)

It’s all about being creative – there are unlimited ways to use this.

Check out the slide below on Wofford’s e-mail campaigns: Wofford’s DonorConnect, NewsroomConnect, eConnect. Cool graphics & layout.

ShareThis Tracking — #1 way to share content is still through e-mail (blog post, news story, etc.)

Ask your audience — SurveyMonkey.com, lots of others too (free & not); ask them what they care about. We can look at the data and make decisions all day, but the best info we can get is asking the people.

Video Analytics: YouTube has insights – which videos are working, which aren’t. None of this happens over night – you need to produce content, monitor what works & what doesn’t work.

Web Analytics Rules

  1. set goals before you do anything else (business goals, not Web goals, not “I want to get this much traffic to my site.” Instead – I want X people to schedule a visit, to apply to the school.
  2. always be testing
  3. don’t get caught up in the numbers, look at the trends.
  4. setup a reporting schedule and track key metrics

Slides:

The content of this post is licensed: ©2008 All Rights Reserved


About the author

Rachel Reuben

Rachel Reuben is the Associate Vice President for Marketing Communications at Ithaca College. She was a blogger on .eduGuru from November 2008 - January 2010. Read her complete bio.

RachelReuben.comRachel on Twitter Rachel on LinkedIn  Rachel on Delicious Rachel's SlideShare Presentations Rachel on UWebD

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  • http://emerille.wordpress.com EddieM

    Thank you. This is an excellent resource.

  • Moshiko

    I’ve have been using some BI tools to try to figure out what those means, and many BI tools help you get the answer automatically. I have used this one: http://personyze.com to get the job done fast. analyzing my data is much easier then before. BTW: it has also segmentation, actions and custom reports, like the big guys.

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