The Higher Ed Analytics Revolution


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Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, email marketing, web advertising, mobile web and more. So many tools, so little time. With tighter budgets and shrinking teams, something's gotta give. But why not stop making these tough marketing decisions based on hunches, guesses and opinions? With the help of online analytics, it's possible to find out what really works and what doesn't. So, let's start the social media and web analytics revolution at your institution and others across the country. After learning more about the current state of online analytics in higher education, you will find out what you need to do to join this revolution and hopefully change the face of higher ed marketing. Forever.

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  • Presenting about analytics at a conference just after Avinash Kaushik feels like going on stage after Madonna (not that I would personally know anything about this either – but you get the idea)
  • So, let me share a bit of trivia about the French Revolution
  • At the end of the 17 th century, except for a minority – France wasn’t a very nice place to live – Most of the people were running low on Freedom, Justice and Food. It was the right time for a revolution – and according to history books and those who wrote them, the revolution really kicked off with the storming of the Bastille -
  • So this is the big question nowdays: what to cut, what should you cut? What can you cut? The good news is I have the answer. Here it is
  • Kind of obvious? You’re right, but what has really changed with this big digital take over we’ve all witnessed for the past 5 years is the fact that we don’t have to rely on hunches, guesses or mere opinions anymore
  • Analytics can help us make data-driven decision
  • In May 2010, I did a survey about the state of higher ed online analytics to find out. The survey sample is 399 – which is enough to be representative. Most institutions are ready – 95.5% track their web traffic according to the survey. Quick question for you before we move to the next slide: who is using Google Analytics to track web traffic?
  • Well according to the survey, 92% use Google Analytics. No wonder, it’s excellent, powerful and free. With this kind of help, we should all be spending countless hours analyzing the data to back up our decisions, right? Let me pause again and let me ask you about the time YOU spend working on analytics. Please raise your hand if you don’t spend any time – ok More than half of your time per week? Less than 2 hours per week?
  • Well, don’t feel bad if you do – You’re part of a big majority. As 3 quarters spend less than 2 hours per week on Analytics -
  • Why so little time on something that could provide us with so many insights and help us tremendously? Here are some of the answers provided in the survey.
  • Why so little time on something that could provide us with so many insights and help us tremendously? I have my theory
  • Analytics is a bit like… exercise. We know it’s good for our health, we should be doing it You can spend thousands of dollars on it, but you can also get great results with simple pushups, sit ups and squats. BUT
  • But we think it’s hard – even just a little of it. There’s a lot of data, numbers which makes us thing of maths and statistics – and as marketers and communicators, those where probably not our favorites in school. So, because we think Analytics is hard, we prefer to stay on the couch.
  • While the chosen few who dive into analytics find it so fascinating they can lose themselves (and ourselves) in the data. Those Analytics Ninjas intimidate us – they look scary and quite frankly we’re not sure we want to look like them
  • You can still use Analytics to help you make your marketing decisions and still be in shape and look great
  • Fortunately, Analytics is really like Exercise. It’s not difficult to find the right balance between the couch and the bodybuilder. So, get on the program – and let’s exercise your analytics muscle just enough to get great results – maybe not perfect results, but we’ll aim for good enough.
  • First, to track your different marketing campaigns or initiatives, you need to tag the web addresses of your landing pages. Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, email or even print ads in your magazine – make sure you attach some meaningful tags to your web addresses. This can be done using the Google Analytics URL Builder – on your screen. I’m not going to go into details on how to do that, but I have compiled a list of resources, tutorials and presentation slides from other higher ed web professionals that will help you do just THAT. I’ll give you the address at the end of the presentation
  • Next because there are so many variables and when you start to use this little tool, you’ll use it a lot – take the time to create a tag tracking spreadsheet – If you like what you see, you can save a bit of time by downloading it as I’ll make it available to you with the other resources.
  • If you use Google Analytics – it’s also a good idea to set up some goals and funnels to track your conversions – it doesn’t have to be just for your donation or application form – as a goal can be many things: submitting a form, watching a video, spending more than 2 minutes on site and so on.
  • You should also take the time to set up some custom reports – nothing very difficult here, you pick the metrics and add the dimensions by dragging and dropping them. What this would do for you is provide more focused data. It’s very easy to get lost in the wonderful country of chart and tables that is Google Analytics – in that case 2: less is more.
  • I mentioned social media, so obviously you also want to get familiar with Facebook Insights – and the type of metrics available there.
  • Same goes for YouTube And, I’d like to thank Patrick Lane from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who was kind enough to share this screenshot with me. Then, you’d want to also keep track of your Twitter activity, and so on. Get familiar with the tools first, put a few minutes aside to learn how to use them. It will be worth it on the long run.
  • Finally, before you actually start tracking – create a simple dashboard on a different document. Take an excel file, the list of your success metrics and start logging the results – every week or every month depending on the pace of things at your institutions. Just your success metrics. You can always refer to your custom report in GA or Facebook/YouTube insights if you want to more metrics. By choosing to focus on your key performance indicator you’d be able to work on things that matter.
  • On Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to spy – For Web traffic, Google Analytics does offer you a benchmarking feature for visits, site bounce rate, pageviews, average time on site, # pages per visits and % new visits. Not bad, but far from perfection as it groups websites in 3 buckets (small, medium and large) by visits – while you’d like to compare your stats with your peer institutions or competitors.
  • So, here is what I’d like you to do to start this revolution at your institution. Every Thursday (you can pick another day, but why not Thursdays?), commit to spending an hour on analytics. Spend 15 minutes to input the previous week’s success metrics in your dashboard – as well as the 12 metrics for a revolution if they are not part of your own KPIs) and the rest of that hour to analyze, explore the trends or the competition.
  • Unite, track our web and social media data and share it with the larger community
  • It’s our bastille, your boss, vp, president just love and thrive on benchmarking data. As you and I know, almost nothing is done without benchmarking in higher ed (and decision by committee) – it can help you make them happy, and give the little push you need to get the time to spend time in analytics, and it will
  • These metrics aren’t perfect, but they will be meaningful for most institutions. And no need to take notes like crazy, I included this list with the other resources about analytics I mentioned earlier.
  • Got many questions
  • Then every second Thursday of the month, you’d get a chance to fill out a short survey to submit your 12 metrics for a revolution. We will aggregate the results and will publish the benchmarking results 1 to 2 weeks after, so you can use these in your own report.
  • And, that’s a wrap. Thank you so much for your attention and patience. Now, we have a few minutes left to take questions.
  • The Higher Ed Analytics Revolution

    1. 1. Aux armes, Citoyens! The Higher Ed Analytics Revolution Karine Joly - @karinejoly Eugène DELACROIX - Le 28 Juillet : La Liberté guidant le peuple
    2. 3. Presenting after… is like going on stage after…
    3. 5.
    4. 6. July 14, 1789 Jean-Pierre Houel – La prise de la Bastille / Gallica - BNF
    5. 7. Bastille = Symbol Jean-Baptiste Lallemand – La Bastille / Gallica - BNF
    6. 8. FREEDOM JUSTICE FOOD 1789 France
    7. 9. Today
    8. 10. BUDGET STAFF TIME 2010 Higher Ed
    9. 11. Come here, my Little Marketing Budget…
    10. 12. <ul><li>WHAT TO CUT??? </li></ul>What to cut
    11. 13. <ul><li>WHAT’S NOT </li></ul><ul><li>WORKING! </li></ul>What’s not working
    12. 15. <ul><li>Are YOU ready for this? </li></ul>What’s not working
    13. 16. The State of Analytics in Higher Ed Survey - May 2010 (n=399)
    14. 17. Download this 6-page survey report at:
    15. 18. <ul><li>95% </li></ul><ul><li>track web traffic </li></ul>The State of Higher Ed Online Analytics Survey – May 2010 (n=399)
    16. 19. <ul><li>92% </li></ul>The State of Higher Ed Online Analytics Survey – May 2010 (n=381)
    17. 20. <ul><li>72% </li></ul><ul><li>less than 2 hrs/week on Analytics </li></ul>The State of Higher Ed Online Analytics Survey – May 2010 (n=381)
    18. 21. <ul><li>WHY SO LITTLE? </li></ul>
    19. 22. <ul><li>“ I wish I could spend 10 hours a week on analysis and adjustments, but what can I do? I'm the whole department …” </li></ul>The State of Higher Ed Online Analytics Survey – May 2010
    20. 23. <ul><li>“ We talk to departments about the data we can collect (…), however the interest to use this data isn't there .” </li></ul>The State of Higher Ed Online Analytics Survey – May 2010
    21. 24. <ul><li>“ Decision makers are more likely to make website choices based on their own instincts .” </li></ul>The State of Higher Ed Online Analytics Survey – May 2010
    22. 25. <ul><li>Let’s stop making excuses... </li></ul>What’s not working
    23. 26. <ul><li>WHY SO LITTLE? </li></ul>
    24. 27. Online Analytics is like…
    25. 28. We think it’s hard, so we…
    26. 29. While Analytics Addicts… … scare us.
    27. 30. You don’t have to pick between the and the .
    28. 31. Get on the program!
    29. 32. First things First… <ul><li>Avinash Kaushik ’s Keynote </li></ul><ul><li>Joshua Dodson ’s session today at 2PM </li></ul><ul><li>Jessica Krywosa ’s & Rick Allen ’s session tomorrow at 8:15AM </li></ul>
    30. 33. Spend time on… <ul><li>Your “business” objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Your strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Your success metrics (aka KPIs) </li></ul>
    31. 34. Spend some quality time with… <ul><li>Google Analytics </li></ul>
    32. 35. Tag your campaigns <ul><li> </li></ul>
    33. 36. Keep track of the tags
    34. 37. Set up goals & funnels
    35. 38. Set up custom reports
    36. 39. Spend some quality time with… <ul><li>Facebook Insights </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube Insights </li></ul><ul><li>Other social media analytics tools </li></ul>
    37. 40. Facebook Insights Thanks to Andrew Careaga – Missouri S &T – ( )
    38. 41. YouTube Insights Thanks to Patric Lane - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( )
    39. 42. Set up… <ul><li>A simple analytics dashboard </li></ul>
    40. 43. Why another dashboard?
    41. 44. Set up… <ul><li>An action-oriented report template </li></ul>
    42. 45. Report Not another report
    43. 46. Keep an eye on… <ul><li>Your data trends </li></ul><ul><li>Benchmarking data </li></ul>
    44. 47. GA Benchmarking Thanks to Mike Richwalsky – John Carroll University, OH (Google Analytics Account – Benchmarking Screen)
    45. 48. Make a commitment <ul><li>Schedule an analytics date </li></ul>
    46. 49. 1 hour that counts per week
    47. 50. <ul><li>Join the Analytics Revolution! </li></ul>
    48. 51. Higher Ed Benchmarking Analytics Monthly Survey
    49. 53. Benchmarking Report
    50. 54. Eugène DELACROIX - Le 28 Juillet : La Liberté guidant le peuple Why Benchmarking?
    51. 56. Benchmarking in Higher Ed Jean-Baptiste Lallemand – La Bastille / Gallica - BNF
    52. 57. Higher Ed Benchmarking Analytics Monthly Survey
    53. 58. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>Total visits </li></ul><ul><li>Total page views </li></ul><ul><li>Average time on site </li></ul><ul><li>Average bounce rate (site and homepage) </li></ul><ul><li>% new visits </li></ul><ul><li>Total direct visits </li></ul><ul><li>Total search engine visits with *branded* search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Visitor Recency </li></ul><ul><li>Visitor Loyalty </li></ul><ul><li>% of traffic from admissions homepage to apply form </li></ul><ul><li>% of traffic from social media sites </li></ul><ul><li>% traffic from mobile devices </li></ul>
    54. 59. Photo taken at High Ed Web by Kyle James
    55. 60. <ul><li>“ Shelby Thayer currently works at a university [Penn State University] and her blog contains her daily experience, frustrations, and deep insights of how to use analytics for a higher education website.” </li></ul>Avinash Kaushik, Web Analytics 2.0
    56. 61.
    57. 62. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>Total visits </li></ul><ul><li>Total page views </li></ul><ul><li>Average time on site </li></ul><ul><li>Average bounce rate </li></ul><ul><li>% new visits </li></ul>
    58. 63. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>Total </li></ul><ul><li>direct visits </li></ul>
    59. 64. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>Total “branded” </li></ul><ul><li>search visits </li></ul>
    60. 65. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>Visitor Loyalty </li></ul>
    61. 66. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>Visitor Recency </li></ul>
    62. 67. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>% to application form </li></ul>
    63. 68. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>Total visits from </li></ul><ul><li>social media </li></ul>
    64. 69. 12 Metrics for a Revolution <ul><li>Total visits from </li></ul><ul><li>mobile devices </li></ul>
    65. 72. 2 nd Thursday of the Month
    66. 73.
    67. 74. Questions? <ul><li>@karinejoly </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>