With a background in journalism and marketing, Heather is well versed in all things content and inbound marketing. She’s passionate about delivering content that helps her reader take action almost instantly.
One of the great triumphs of the digital age is that marketing is more measurable than ever. Sure, we’ve always had the ability to gather qualitative data, but in the 21st century, we’re surrounded by an influx of tools that make collecting, analysing and disseminating that data a breeze.
Take programs like Google Analytics, for example. This tool makes it easy for school marketers to track and analyse data, without having to do any of the number-crunching themselves. But, getting started can be overwhelming if you're new to the world of data analysis — unless you know what you're looking for, that is.
If you’re a school marketer trying to make sense of your data using a program like GA, it’s handy to have some insight into the best metrics to use to get the most out of that giant page of numbers. That’s why we’ve rounded up five school marketing metrics you should be using right now.
Some marketers completely overlook their website hits and prefer to focus on project-specific metrics, which is totally fine but also prevents you from getting a handle on the bigger picture. Traffic is a great metric to focus on as it helps contextualise all your other stats down the line.
Of course, we don’t recommend you simply look at the number of hits you’re getting per day and end there — if you have the capabilities within Google Analytics or another program, dive into your users’ trajectories and see where they end up navigating to. This will give you insight into what’s drawing attention on-site from a user experience (UX) design perspective, rather than a search perspective.
Channels are the one thing that every marketer should be measuring — no questions asked. If you’re not quite up to speed on this vital metric, it refers to where your traffic is coming from, whether that be organic search (Google, Bing etc.), paid search (ads on these search engines or other sites), direct traffic (users typing your address into their search bar), social, email, referral (via links on other sites) and so on. Keeping on top of this metric ensures that you know where your hits are coming from, and conversely, where they’re not.
Let’s run a quick example of how you can use channel-split data to your advantage.
Say that based on historical data from the past year, your strongest channel is organic search, and mainly comes from people typing your school’s name into Google or another search engine. Then, one day when evaluating your channels, you notice a huge spike in traffic from social media. Your social media manager has just shared a great post from your blog and it’s getting tons of hits! Once they've clicked through, users are navigating around your site, so you can glean that they’re engaged with you as a school, rather than just a one-off post.
This is all data you can use to adapt your marketing strategy. Perhaps you don’t use social media very often — maybe it’s time to start? You’ve now got the capacity to evaluate, from a qualitative standpoint, what it was that worked about that particular blog post. And, of course, this is just one example — the insights you can gain from a regular channel breakdown are almost endless!
Conversion rate (CVR) is endlessly talked about amongst digital marketers, and for good reason — it’s the metric that determines the percentage of your users that are taking a specified action, such as clicking a link, filling out a form or purchasing a product. As a result, it’s also a non-negotiable metric to measure.
Say you’ve got online enrolment available on your school website, and want to see what percentage of website visitors take action and submit their form. This data will be represented by that page's conversion rate.
Similarly, with the right tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to track CVR at every stage of the enrolment process, seeing at which points prospective families drop off with the most frequency. All of this information and more is available within customer relationship managers (CRMs), such as Digistorm Funnel.
Audience insights is a nifty feature designed to help you get to know your users better. Although you probably have quite a lot of data from current and even prospective enrolments, audience insights will help you understand the wider picture — this metric gives you data on the age range, gender and location of everyone that visits your site.
Audience data in particular is really helpful for tailoring your content to assist with lead generation. You can use the age, gender and location stats to narrow down potentially viable keywords or brand personas before you begin creating content. This strategic approach will allow for better uplift and share-ability in the long run.
We talk a lot about search terms for SEO purposes, referring to the keywords users type in when they’re looking for something on Google. But what about site search? Site search refers to the terms users type into your site’s search bar. They’ve found your school, and now they want to know something specific about it, so they go hunting for answers. Google Analytics includes the site search function to help you understand the queries users most commonly have.
To navigate to this useful info in Google Analytics, click on behaviour, then site search, then info. Make note that site search does have to be set up manually — here’s a quick guide on how to do it. Now you’ve got all your site search data in front of you, you can have a look at how many users actually use the search function on your site, but more importantly, the terms they’re searching for.
Notice that heaps of people seem interested in your water polo program, but there isn’t a page that collates all the relevant information on training times, games, tryouts and more? Create one! Site search helps you identify opportunities within your school’s website and slot them into your inbound marketing strategies with ease.
Every school marketer should be assessing these five metrics on a regular basis to best understand their users' behaviours. By doing so, you'll be able to level up your site, blog and socials beyond measure!