A few months, I had the opportunity to present on structuring web analytics to measure campus-wide goals as outlined by our Chancellor. These goals include quantitative advancements in recruitment, retention, reputation and research. Your campus likely has the same desires.
The great thing about specific macro goals (campus-wide goals from senior leadership) is the focus they bring to all our initiatives. In terms of websites, regardless of your place on campus, macro goals set the stage for your content and information architecture priorities.
Diving into Recruitment Goals
Our macro goal indicates a need to increase the amount of recruited students by X%. When it comes to attracting new students, we lean on the recruitment funnel. The recruitment funnel essentially states the more prospective students we have at each stage, the more we’ll have at the next stage.
Admissions sites are the gateways for prospective students and our institutions. At some point, all prospective students — or in many cases, their parents — use our admissions sites to conduct “business.” The recruitment funnel lends itself perfectly to actionable goals in Google Analytics.
So for admissions sites, the following goals are no-brainers based on the recruitment funnel:
- Register for campus visit/open house
- Joining a mailing list
- Submit an application
- Pay enrollment deposit (if applicable)
- Enroll in course/new student orientation
In some cases, you may not have webforms that take user input. For instance, the campus visit may simply be clicking an email address. In other cases, it’s finding a phone number to call. Either way, use the email click or the page URL of the phone number for the goal.
However, let’s not stop here for the goals or our prospective student sites. We know from quantitative research that other pieces of content are highly valuable:
- Academic program details
- Tuition and costs
- Scholarships available
These are a bit more abstract, as they don’t have clear transactional clickstreams, however they play a huge role in the recruitment process. As indicators of interest, these should be used as goals in Google Analytics as well.
Goals in web analytics should support business goals. Websites are designed around a communication and content strategy shaped by macro goals, therefore the desired outcomes are direct reflections of these goals. Using the goals feature in Google Analytics we can prepare our analysis to ensure we’re on the right path.