A top university promoted its admissions and rich media content via social media and other campaigns, but wanted to understand the impact before investing more. It deployed Google Analytics on its sites, but had no way to distinguish campaigns from other traffic sources; to measure usage of Flash, sharing, and download features; or to segment a very diverse audience. What’s more, it had re-organized an admissions website, but could not compare engagement with the new content against prior periods.
First, Empirical Path tied each campaign to the resulting visits, content consumption, and contacts. We implemented a campaign process to sync web analytics and social media measurement systems. Each initiative is both a Google Analytics “Campaign” and Lithium Social Media Monitoring “Search,” allowing analysis in both systems. To enable this, we created a shared campaign naming tool that simplified adding URL parameters to inbound links so that the source, content and other traits of each link is tracked.
Next, Empirical Path upgraded measurement of content engagement by customizing Google Analytics to track visitor behaviors not captured by default. For instance, the college offered many resources as downloads, but was blind to their usage. It also created Flash features to showcase rich content and drive visitors to further information, but could not tell whether users took the desired next steps. We specified code changes to track these interactions as Events or Virtual Pageviews that appear in standard reports.
We then tracked audience segments by implementing Custom Variables. Based on each visitor’s selection of content aimed at distinct audiences, we modified the existing Google Analytics cookie to reflect his or her likely intent. As a result, the reporting can break down campaign impact, engagement, and conversions among prospective and current students, alumni, and other key groups.
Finally, Empirical Path created an automatically updated dashboard of Key Performance Indicators using Google Apps Script and Google Drive. We selected a spreadsheet format to mimic and improve on an existing university report and to enable lookups that matched reorganized admissions content to the same content in prior periods before the site re-launch.
Now this higher-ed leader can compare the time and money spent on each campaign to their visits and conversions, for each audience segment. It can see a complete picture of content consumption and sharing to understand which channels and topics warrant more investment. Marketers spend less time hand-building dashboards and more time evaluating the impact of the admissions site re-launch.
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