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An Introduction to Web Analytics for Admissions Pros
Jake Youmell

One of the most important jobs admission teams have is that of telling the story of their schools.

Storytelling, and storytelling via the right channels, is becoming increasingly important as schools lose in-person opportunities to share their story with their families. For many of us, it can be difficult to specify exactly where we should be sharing our story and to know what content is actually reaching our desired audience.

One way to make sure your story gets told to more families while you market your school remotely is by zeroing in on your data. 

Data and analytics are critical for enrollment success. Families consume a large percentage of information online, versus in person or by phone. This provides a great opportunity for schools to make the most of what may seem like a disadvantageous situation and use it as a way to bring a positive result. 

To make a big impact, you’ll need to get under the hood and look at the basics of how people engage with your content. You need to take a closer look at signals from your data sources, like your website’s Google Analytics account, your blog engagement, and even the way that you interact with prospective families through email marketing

Dedicating time to analyzing your data and seeking to understand the implications can help you get a sense of how well your content is being perceived, how your online channels are performing, and how your prospective students are interacting with your content. 

The more your team begins to feel comfortable with accessing this baseline to get a sense of which efforts are working, the more empowered you’ll be to use that information to make strategic decisions that lead to enrollment growth.

In as little as 15 minutes each week committed to combing through your digital analytics, you can uncover a treasure trove of data.

Here’s where I recommend you start:

Step 1: Establish Access + Governance

Step one for schools looking to learn more about their data and the meaning behind it is to establish access and governance over your digital properties like your Google Analytics account, your Content Management System (CMS), and your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or admissions database. Gathering all the data available to you, having it at your fingertips, and knowing how to access it is necessary for your success in recruiting prospective families. 

All web site data

Step 2: Glean Insights Into Your Website via Analytics

If there are areas of interest established ahead of time (i.e., whether your traffic has decreased or increased over recent months, or where your top sources of traffic have come from), you can reference the breadth of data available through Google Analytics in the left-hand navigation with predefined reports (categorized by: Realtime, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions). 

If you are unsure of where to begin, the Analytics Intelligence reports provided by Google Analytics can give you the perfect jumpstart and more confidence in the platform. You can glean a lot of information from this area alone, which offer trends and common reports that compare your performance over time. 

School web analytics intelligence

Look at how your website is performing week over week and year over year. Are particular pages getting more or fewer views? Which ones? Where are users coming from, and where do users come from that take desired actions (like inquiring, which would require setting up Analytics Goals to measure)? Export, bookmark, or share your key findings down to further analyze.

Step 3: Put Your Insights Into Action 

Applying your insights will help you make more strategic decisions that can help steer your enrollment growth efforts. Use the wealth of information you uncover to help you distinguish what’s working, and what’s not. And then think about what you want to try next. Should you change up your website images? Re-organize your content or tabs to make certain pages easier to find? Or maybe you want to invest more heavily in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, time on blog content, or posts if many of your families find you via Facebook.  

Questions to Ask to Help You Get Started: 

  • What has our website performance looked like in the past 1-5 years?
  • What’s my bounce rate? 
  • What needs to be changed? (landing pages, site design, etc.)
  • Are there any small changes can we make on our own? (change in wording, update CTA’s, use different images, etc.) 
  • What’s going well? 
  • Where is traffic coming from?
  • Where should we invest more marketing dollars and time based on traffic and traffic sources? 
  • Which blog posts get the most visitors? 
  • What topics are prospective families most interested in? 
  • Which content is resonating with or attracting families? 

Free Tools to Get Started: 

1. Google Analytics

Understand the data behind your most important marketing asset: your website. As you get started with account access and the prebuilt reports available, the Analytics Academy will provide you with a curriculum and training to support your time in GA!

2. Google Search Console

Understand and optimize how your site interacts with the world’s largest search engine, and where more than 90% of the world’s searches originate from (Google!). Search Engine Optimization is a critical function. From ensuring that your site is technically loading in a fashion that Google supports, to uploading sitemaps and notifications to recrawl pages when edits are completed, Search Console allows you to do just that, and way more! We recommend this is implemented by a combination of teams (joining Information Technology with Marketing/Communication, and Admissions/Enrollment), as the technical aspects of Search Console will be relevant to network and website administrators. 

Here is an example of the great information available through Search Console: top-driving keywords to the Enroll Media Group website! 

Google search console

Big Results With Just a Little Time

Using data to inform your decisions is essential for enrollment growth. While gathering and analyzing data may seem daunting for some or might be something you feel like you don’t have time for, spending just 15 minutes a week can help you start to make small changes that will increase your website traffic, page views, or even number of inquiries.

With virtual content and messaging at the forefront, you need to optimize your online content and information. Doing so just takes a little time, data, and informed decision-making.

Jake Youmell group media

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