4 New Google Analytics Updates: What's in it for Higher Education? - Converge Consulting

4 New Google Analytics Updates: What’s in it for Higher Education?

Google Analytics is releasing four new functions to offer marketers more user-centric insights. These changes bring some exciting opportunities to the table for higher education. Recap the four updates below and dive into ways to leverage them to better understand user activities and engagement throughout the prospect lifecycle:

  1. User-Focused Reporting
  2. User Explorer
  3. Audience Reporting
  4. Conversion Probability

User-Focused Reporting

In addition to the typical sessions-based reporting, we now have the option to include user-based information. This will be especially valuable to examine users who visit your website multiple times. You can see this information in your Audience report views. Active Users, Cohort Analysis and Lifetime Value are other reports that can make use of this feature.

In order to activate this feature, navigate to Admin in your Google Analytics account and then under Property Settings, scroll down to the toggle with for “Enable Users Metric in Reporting” and turn it on.

You will then see the “Users” column in your reports as shown below.

User Explorer

Based on the life of a user’s cookie, User Explorer provides user-based dimensions and metrics such as time on site. The data goes back to March 9, 2016, and includes your top 10,000 users. Education marketers should consider that many of your top users may be current students and/or faculty.

Further segmentation of the data will allow you to select and understand the users you are most interested in examining. Using a custom segment is the best way to do this. Build your segment around dimensions such as demographics (age, language) or utilize the advanced options of Conditions to segment based on visiting a particular page such as /admissions or /programs. Pictured below is an example of how you might segment based on visiting a /blogs/ page.


Another interesting aspect of the User Explorer is the ability to see which pages a particular user visited. Below is an example of the type of data available. Once you click on the user’s Client ID you will see their data. The first red box below shows the time of the session, the duration, type of device (desktop), and the channel (direct). The smaller box with an eye icon will show the pages viewed during the session once you click on it.

Audience Reporting

You can now take Audiences created in Google Analytics and publish them to your reports. Previously, you could only publish them to other platforms like AdWords. The Audiences report allows you to view cross-channel data, use the audience as a secondary dimension in reports and as a dimension in segments and custom reports.

Further information on setting up custom Audiences is available here.

Conversion Probability

Conversion Probability is a machine learning method that predicts the probability a user will convert in the future. This feature is being rolled out in beta over the next several months and it is similar to Smart Goals and Smart Lists in that it uses data from past conversions to predict future ones.

A requirement is 1000 previous conversions for each prediction. This minimum data threshold must be met along with a 30 day window of information. The large number of conversions is required in order to predict conversions with a high probability.

The Conversion Probability runs from 1 (least probable) to 100 (most probable). An effective use of the report would include remarketing to those users with high scores.


New Year, New Measurement Strategies

As we roll into 2018, be sure to take advantage of these new features in Google Analytics. Looking for more insights to measure the success of your digital marketing efforts? Check out this free ebook to optimize, maximize and energize your campaigns  or explore this free resource on digital advertising campaign benchmarks  for colleges and universities.

Valerie Henessee
Valerie Henessee
January 10, 2018