Today and tomorrow I’m out in Durham, NC for Google Analytics training that ROI Revolution is hosting. ROI is a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant and AdWords Qualified Company. ROI Revolution are also trained professionals in Google’s Seminars for Success program as this training can attest. Through day one I am very impressed with their training program. About a month ago they posted a One Time Offer on their blog for free Google Analytics training for non-profit organizations. All I had to do was talk Wofford into getting me up to Durham (little over a three hour drive) and put me up in a hotel for a couple nights! Let’s just say they couldn’t say no. If I wasn’t already enough of a champion for Google Analytics in the past, then this training reinforced my commitment.
The two day Google Analytic training course is taught by their CEO, Timothy Seward, along with two of their top gurus, Michael Harrison and Shawn Purtell. You can see short bios of all three on the link above. Although we didn’t get into the hardcore customization, that’s day two, they none the less offered up some valuable tips and strategies. Also this was my first real exposure to Google AdWords. Just like all of Google’s products I’ve experienced (Google Trends, Gmail, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, AdSense) AdWords is a top notch product and also free!
Installing Google Analytics and viewing their reports is only half the picture and I now know that there is a completely other part of the equation that is potentially just as valuable to this service, Google AdWords. Much of today was spent exploring AdWords and the additional functionality that this service provides that directly complements everything in Google Analytics. Words like CPC (cost per click), ROI (rate of return), and KPI (key performance indicators) were thrown around regularly and the journey was quite eye opening.
If your institution is like Wofford then most likely you don’t track conversion rates and run a/b testing on your website? The reality is you do not need to have an ecommerce site to use conversion tracking or do a/b testing. One, of the many, incredible tools in AdWords is Website Optimizer. This tool allows you to test your site while it is live and constantly be tweaking various setting based on actual results. ROI Revolutions has a six part tutorial looking at Website Optimizer that you can signup and watch for free. I haven’t viewed the tutorial yet, note to self of things to do next week, but I’m sure it’s top notch.
Back to Wofford
We have web forms all over the site for everything for scheduling a campus visit to scheduling for an Alumni event. While some forms are more important than others, listening to this presentation got me thinking. How much is getting a student to visit or apply to Wofford worth? I now know much more about this wide wealth of tools that Google has and one of the greatest things about them is that if you can put a dollar value on something then there are services that will allow you to spend that amount to accomplish your goal.
A few months ago a Google representative called me after I had setup a Google AdWords account for Wofford but never went any farther. After sending me some data the one thing that stood out was the sticker price for their advanced service, $200/day! That’s over $70,000 a year! I was talking to a guy who works for a UNC graduate school who presented me a rather eureka moment. At Wofford it costs $37,000 per year for a full time student. If Wofford, like most schools I imagine, is wanting to expand it’s recruiting footprint beyond the surrounding states how does it go about doing this? We could hire more Admission counselors and send them to the corners of the US and beyond or we could do more advertising. If buying ads online can produce two quality applicants who ultimately come to Wofford then doesn’t that pay for this Google AdWords investment? I realize that the whole formula is much more complicated than this and it is a heavy investment, but hopefully you can see where I’m going with this. You need a qualified person to handling the marketing campaign and need to set a limit of how much you want to spend on a service like AdWords but then you have significantly expanded your recruiting footprint to any targeted area you would like for minimal costs. Minimal is relative, but imagine what it would cost to higher more counselors and their travel expenses for new areas of the country? Also it would take the time for the individuals to get comfortable and understand their new territory.
Maybe this isn’t as revolutionary to some as it is others. After sitting through a day of training I understand the tools so much better, and can reason that the cost to enter this new marketing avenue aren’t nearly as painful as I once believed.
Some Google Analytics Theory and Tips
A few of the invaluable theory ideas that were presented by the guys at ROI Revolution today:
- Setting up multiple profiles and testing various things while keeping a Raw data file. Google Analytics provides you with the possibility of having 100 profiles which should be more than enough to let you apply all sorts of filters without messing up your hardcore data.
- An Absolute Unique Visitor is based on the time frame over which you are pulling the report. If this is a month worth of data or a day, the term absolute unique visitor is adjusted to match your range.
- With direct traffic (users who type in your URL to their browser or have your site bookmarked) the only thing that you can affect is the landing page. Because of this it’s not always best to send direct traffic directly to your homepage instead setup landing pages for targeted campaigns.
- Follow the 10/90 rule when looking at an Analysis package. This means spend 10% on the tool and 90% on analysts. In the case of Google Analytics it’s free so even better!
- Bounce Rate occurs when a user enters the site on a page then leave the site without visiting any other page.
- You do not have to pay for Google AdWords to use Website Optimizer and their other tools in the service.
- Analyst should spend only 20% of their time reporting and 80% doing actual analysis.
- Give an additional 10% of additional insight when asked for a report. This will force you to take a harder look at the data you are reporting on and will be providing upper management something else to act on.
ROI Revolution has a wonderful blog that I’ve been reading for some months now, hence how I knew about this great training. If your interested in Web Analytics specifically using Google Analytics then I highly recommend adding their blog to your RSS feedreader.
I’m sure in the coming weeks I’ll have a whole lot more to share about using Google Analytics and AdWords, but this eureka moment had to be shared. Besides what else am I going to do in a hotel room tonight?