All posts by Ryan Lindsay

5 More Helpful Google Analytics Dashboards

With more than 350 dashboard downloads since our new website launched in March, “7 Helpful Google Analytics Dashboards” has proven to be extremely effective in helping users share analytics data. This follow-up post provides another five easy-to-use dashboards to help you share data with your internal stakeholders.

analytics

Blog Dashboard

Blogs are an essential component of an inbound marketing strategy. This dashboard will help you understand which blogs are most successful by page views, time on page and entrances. It will also show where blog users come from and what they looked at once they leave your blog.

To use this dashboard, import it from the link in the dashboard title and edit each of the widgets so the filters reflect your blog’s URL path.

Site Performance Dashboard

This dashboard is great for webmasters and SEOs who want to understand page load times on your site. It will break down load times for both desktop and mobile, new users and returning users and load time by page and country.

Since page speed plays a large role in user experience and SEO, it’s important to monitor on a regular basis. I recommend emailing this dashboard to yourself on a weekly basis to stay on top of any spikes in page load times.

Recruitment Area Awareness

(US National & International)

Some admissions offices have very specific goals to grow student recruitment in different regions, both around the country and internationally. This dashboard is the first step in monitoring traffic from your target regions.

In this dashboard, you will find a geo map next to a table view of where your site receives the most traffic. I have included several regions as examples, but you can edit this dashboard to match your admissions goals.

Compare Two Similar Pages

If you have two pages on your site driving users to similar goals, this dashboard can quickly determine which page is more effective in driving goal conversions. By no means does this replace content experiments within Google Analytics, but it does allow you to glean high-level insights without the same resource investment as a content experiment.

To use this dashboard, import it from the link above and replace the widget filters with the URL of your page A. Additionally, if you have custom events and navigation tracking established, edit the filters with your corresponding event categories. Repeat the process with page B and begin your comparison.

Hopefully these dashboards and the dashboards in our previous post are helpful for your web analytics. Have a favorite dashboard you haven’t seen yet or a dashboard you would like to see? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Custom Google Analytics Segments to Simplify Your Data

Data is fantastic. It allows us to make informed decisions when improving our marketing campaigns, redesigning our websites and optimizing our digital advertising campaigns. The problem analytics users often face is the dreaded ‘analysis paralysis,’ caused by being overwhelmed by millions of data points when attempting to drive actionable insights. In these situations, I almost always recommend segments.

analytics

What are segments?

Segments are a tool within Google Analytics that provide the targeted frame of reference we need to see the most relevant data within our reports. Think of it like using your DVR to sort through all of the available TV shows and record only shows you are interested in. Segments use the same principle – you tell analytics what’s important so you can look at that data.

Click on each of the five segments below to import them to your analytics account.

Internal Traffic Segment

Most institutions will rename their internal internet networks with the institution name. You can import this segment and replace the [institution ISP name] slug in the advanced conditions with your institution’s network name. If you don’t know it offhand, the network name is in the Audience>Technology>Network report.

This segment displays all user activity from campus. How would this be helpful? Consider a graduate school that receives a percentage of inquiries from undergraduates. By applying this segment and comparing data with all users, you could see the percentage of undergraduates in your applicant pool and find out how those users consumed content to guide your future content development efforts.

External Traffic Segment

Just like the internal traffic segment, you will need to edit the advanced conditions of this filter to reflect your institution’s network name (replacing the [institution ISP name] slug). This segment displays all users who visited your site off campus.

The external traffic segment can be helpful during tasks like website redesigns, where we want to understand what pages are driving the most traffic and prospective student engagement.

Both internal and external segments can incorporate the entire view within analytics using an exclude/include IP address filter. The important distinction between segments and filters is how they are processed. Filters are processed at the server level, and they remove or alter data before it reaches analytics. Servers, on the other hand, are applied within the web tool to determine what data you want to see. Since filters alter data, I recommend using a segment wherever possible and only using filters when necessary.

Section of Your Site Segment

One of the most commonly used reports within analytics is the all pages report, which displays the most commonly viewed pages on your website. Your top page is likely your home page, followed by your login pages. This data isn’t as impactful as we might hope, but we can make improvements by segmenting our sessions by users who visit a specific section of the site.

By importing this segment and editing the advanced conditions to replace the /[section]/ slug within the advanced conditions with a page path on your site, /academics/ for example, you can view the traffic that came to your site from those pages, find out where they came from and learn what they did there.

Campaign Traffic Segment

Campaign tracking is something we talk about frequently at Converge. From digital advertising to email and social marketing, tags are essential components for measuring your inbound marketing efforts. These little UTM parameters allow us to measure the success of any tagged URL and provide the attribution for specific posts or emails. We use the campaign traffic segment to measure the success of our marketing campaigns and narrow our analytics focus to the campaign in question.

By altering the [campaign name] slug in the advanced conditions of this segment, you can use and replicate this segment for any marketing campaign.

Converting Organic Traffic

A common question we hear from clients working to improve their organic positioning through SEO is this: How do we measure the success of our investment? Several metrics signal improvements, but one of the biggest indicators is an increase in converting organic traffic to your website. This increase indicates you’ve reached the correct target audience.

Converting organic traffic lets you narrow down your data for organic converters. I recommend digging into your landing pages report and top pages report with this segment applied. You can see where users came into your site and completed an organic conversion and which other pages they interacted with along the way.

These segments are a starting point for slicing and dicing analytics data to find the most relevant insights. Create your own custom segments and play with the system segments already available within analytics. Additionally, if you have a segment you enjoy, share it in the comments below!

Learn more about our Google Analytics services.

Social Media Governance for Higher Education

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 2.42.59 PMThe biology department. Ultimate Frisbee club. Sigma Chi. It seems like all departments and organizations on college campuses have social media accounts. But what guides a social media strategy, and how do institutions keep up with the flurry of activity on social?

In this easy-to-follow eBook, we recap why social marketing strategies are important and outline key factors to consider when developing a social governance strategy for your team.

 

Download Now

3 Structured Data Markup Strategies

Using structured data on your site is a great way to gain an advantage over the competition. It will allow Google and other search engines to understand your site better. Once Google understands your site, it can present that data in new and interesting ways like listing event information for relevant searches. The good news is that it’s not as hard as you might think.

Here are three strategies to add structured data to your site:

1. Using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

 

 Because this structured data helps Google better format its search results, Google is more than willing to help webmasters mark up their sites. Once you visit the Structured Data Markup Helper, you simply enter the URL you will be working on, as well as the type of data you will be marking up. This tool will load your page and walk you through how to mark the data up by simply clicking on separate sections of the page.

Once you have finished, you click on ‘create html’ and add the highlighted sections of the html to the html of your page. This strategy is quick and easy, but it may not give you access to all of the data types you need.

Structured Data Markup

(Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper)

2. Schema.org and Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool

The second strategy is slightly more advanced and requires you to adjust the data yourself. By going to schema.org and identifying what data types you need, you can make more specific data markups. Schema.org provides some very good examples of data snippets.

However, I recommend validating all of your custom markup with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. This will ensure that Googlebot understands your code and that you will not have any issues once you insert the snippet into the html of the page. This strategy, while more customizable, requires more knowledge of coding and more time to implement.

Googlebot

3. JSON-LD and Google Tag Manager

The last strategy, and my personal favorite, is marking up a site the using JSON-LD and Google Tag Manager. JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data (JSON-LD) is a language that’s not only easy for humans to understand, but it’s also for Googlebot and other search engines indexing your site. JSON-LD still uses the same language from Schema.org. However, it’s formatted in a way that’s much easier to write.

Once the markup is written, we can also implement this data using a custom html tag within Google Tag Manager. This is useful in the sense that Tag Manager will be able to leverage its trigger system to mark up your entire site or sections of the site all at once.

JSON Linking

These strategies will all help you get ahead of the curve in placing structured data on your site.  You only have to ask: Which one is right for me?

Ready to take your website to the next level? Learn more about our Search Engine Optimization services.

7 Helpful Google Analytics Dashboards

Google Analytics is an amazingly powerful tool when you can access the vast amounts of data collected on your users and their site interactions. However, this amount of data can sometimes be overwhelming to stakeholders who don’t spend as much time within analytics or for those of us who would like to have relevant information ready at a moment’s notice.

Dashboards are the answer to this conundrum. Here are 7 free and easy-to-use analytics dashboards you can import simply by clicking the link, selecting your favorite view and following the provided instructions.

How to Download a Dashboard:

1 – AdWords Performance Dashboard

AdWords provides some wonderful measurement tools within its platform, but it’s always helpful to see how those users are interacting with your site once they have clicked past the ad. Not only will this dashboard show you performance metrics on keywords, cost and more, but it will also isolate goal completions by campaign.

2 – Campaign Tracking Dashboard

If you are doing any offline marketing, social media amplification or email marketing, you should definitely leverage Google Analytics campaigns to measure the performance and overall ROI for each of your marketing activities. With all of these activities to manage, however, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the performance of each campaign. This dashboard will give you a centralized hub for your campaign activity.

If you are not currently using campaign tracked URLs, I highly recommend you read Hayley’s blog on campaign tracking and get started today.

3 – Event Activity Dashboard

This dashboard requires you to have event tracking currently set up on your site to measure significant site interactions. This can be anything from form completions to YouTube events.

The dashboard will automatically pull your top 10 events in the first widget, and you will then need to copy the event categories listed in that widget to the filters in the remaining widgets. Simply copy the first event category from the first widget, click the edit button on the widget titled ‘Event 1’ and paste the event category in the title and filter fields. Wash, rinse and repeat for the remaining widgets.

4 – Goal Completion Dashboard

Ever want to be able to quickly see a comprehensive breakdown of your goal activity by source/medium without having to navigate down to your conversions tab? This dashboard will provide total conversion numbers and conversion rates for all source mediums to start, but the remaining widgets will break down each goal specifically for your top 10 analytics goals.

5 – SEO Performance Dashboard

SEO has become more difficult to measure without using specialized tools such as SEMRush or MOZ (both of which are fantastic tools) since Google began using the dreaded (not provided) keyword.

There is, however, valuable information within Google Analytics related to the organic traffic coming to your site. This dashboard will help you leverage this information for your own search optimization efforts. To take full advantage of this dashboard, be sure to replace all ‘BRAND TERM’ fillers in the branded and non-branded widgets with your own branded keywords. An example would be a regular expression that looked like this: converge consulting|converge|converge marketing.

6 – Social Media Dashboard

If you partake in any social media activity for your institution, you should be monitoring the results of this activity to help justify the time spent creating and curating your posts. This dashboard will help inform what your user base looks like and what those users are doing once they are on the site. Tying your goal conversions to social activity is extremely helpful in proving ROI.

7 – Top Pages Dashboard

While some of this data is available in the ‘All Pages’ report, this dashboard builds upon that information by also providing a breakdown of your top landing pages, top site sections and more. Once you have imported this dashboard, be sure to replace the /SECTION/ in the “Top /SECTION/ Pages” widget with either the top page path level 1 from the widget just above or with the most strategically valuable section of your site, whether that be /admissions/, /future-students/, etc.

These 7 dashboards are a great start to streamlining reporting within your Google Analytics account. When you have them imported, be sure to schedule these dashboards to be distributed in a regular email so you can have visibility to your data. Once you are comfortable with these dashboards, the sky’s the limit! There are endless varieties of custom dashboards you can build to best suit your data needs.

Popular Events to Track Using Google Analytics

On any website there are actions that users can take that will help guide our marketing strategy.

We created this tool as a resource for your marketing efforts. Share this infographic with your marketing and content teams. Print it out. Send a group email. Encourage them to track these events using Google Analytics.

Ready to boost your Google Analytics IQ? Check out this list of Converge’s Most Valuable Resources.

ConvergeInfographic_Jan16_FNL

Four Steps to Improve Your Search Ranking

posted by on November 19, 2015 in Converge Blog

Rob Ousbey Shares 4 Steps to Improve Your Search Ranking

Aside from being an all-around cool dude, Rob Ousbey, COO at Distilled, is an industry leader in all things SEO. He was kind enough to join us in New Orleans for Converge 2015 and share what’s currently trending in SEO. While SEO may sound like wizardry in some circles (I’m looking at you, art history faculty), Rob demonstrated that it’s something you and your team can start working on today.

Here are 4 of Rob’s SEO tactics:

1. Avoid Serious Issues and Be Discoverable by Google

The cardinal rule of SEO is making sure you can be searched. If you are using robot.txt or making your site unreadable to search engines, it’s no wonder you aren’t showing up in the results. The first big step you can take to make sure your site is optimized for search is ensuring your site is structured for search engines to access and navigate.

How can you check if your site is structured well? There are numerous tools out there, but Rob suggests Screaming Frog, MOZ, and Google Webmaster Tools. You can always check pages manually as you navigate through your site, but given the size of most institutional websites, I only recommend this method if you have several months of free time (or an intern you don’t like).

2. Keyword Selection

Rob’s second tactic of keyword selection is what comes to mind for many marketers as the primary SEO tactic in use today. Rob, however, suggests taking this strategy to the next level by applying thorough research for all keywords, regardless of the intent of the keyword, its role in the buyer’s journey, or whether they’re long-tail or head keywords.

After compiling a list of potential keywords and reviewing the search volume, as well as the intent of the keyword, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • Do you have the numbers to rank for that keyword?
  • Do you deserve to rank for that keyword?
  • Do you have the content to support that keyword?

Many people assume keyword research is so narrow that you have to focus on one keyword or concept per page. But keywords are not magic beans you place on your page to instantly rank. This is a holistic approach to determine the most effective manner to address your content.

3. Keyword Targeting

To supplement the basic fundamentals of a well-structured page that’s easy for search engines to access, you must also make it easy for search engines to understand what you’re talking about. For highly competitive keywords, this means making sure you are taking the time to understand how your keyword fits in the page URL, the page’s meta description, the page title, etc.

Overlooking these basic factors makes it more difficult for search engines to understand your page, and it also impacts how users see your page in the SERP. Users are more likely to click a page titled with a term related to their search than click on a generic brand name.

4. Internal Competition

The last easily avoidable misstep is losing ranking power due to internal competition – whether that competition is intentional or not. The first source of internal competition, duplicate content, is easily found using tools like MOZ and can be resolved somewhat painlessly. However, if you have cannibal content, you must seriously assess whether you need to adjust your site structure or messaging.

Internal competition is easier to avoid with a solid content strategy and site structure, but it will happen over time. Do yourself a favor and make sure someone is in charge of watching Webmaster Tools so when internal competition pops up, you can resolve the issue quickly.

Trends to Watch

These 4 tactics will help you make sure your site is optimized for the search engine results page. But what’s next? What’s the next level of SEO?

During his discussion, Rob demonstrated how semantic SEO is providing users with the most advanced search experience we’ve ever seen. For example, when you search for notable alumni from your institution and a list pops up directly in the search page, that isn’t Google being too smart for its own good – it’s SEO working to contribute to the larger search experience.

How will this apply to higher education? It’s too early to tell, but items including events have been on the forefront of this trend. I’m personally excited to see where it will go next.

Ready for more great speakers and great ideas? Register for Converge 2017 today and save with early bird pricing.

4 Key Trends to Consider in Higher-Ed Site Structure

There are many different components that go into a website’s structure and it can be overwhelming to try to manage without getting lost in the weeds. Whether you are developing a new site from scratch or reassessing your current site architecture, here are some trends that should be taken into consideration:

Design

As stated in Amanda’s recent blog on design:

“Today’s websites have graduated from flashy and complex to clean and simple. What once impressed web audiences — animated text, dancing GIFs and page-hit counters — no longer does the trick. Users want simplicity. They want to find what they’re looking for fast — preferably on a mobile device. Designers have had to adapt to create a seamless user experience.”

Simply put, web designs are getting simpler to help users find what they want fast.

The first step in this process is long scroll pages. These pages highlight consolidated content in easily digestible sections. How does this impact a site’s structure? More content on individual pages means we must build a site with less pagination and content groupings that address content on a broader scale.

User Experience

User experience and design often go hand-in-hand; this is true of long scroll pages as well.  While in the mid-90s the average user may not have had the tendency to scroll the modern web user expects this as common practice.

When studying the speed at which users can consume content it has been found that users can read content nearly 10% faster and are able to find information they are looking for over 27% faster when the site uses a scrolling design in comparison to paging [1]. Additionally, a study measuring the impact of long scroll design on website conversion rates found that even on a site 20 times longer than the control site the call to action conversion rate was 30% greater [2]. This allows us to infer that it is not having an item above the fold, which increases our conversion rates. Instead, it is more about giving the user the CTA at a point where the content on the page has convinced them to complete the action.

For site architecture, this again further justifies moving away from a strategy that relies on a wealth of pages to communicate content. Information architects must consider how content will be consolidated into concise content groupings.

Search Trends

Over the last several years we have seen the terms in which students find their program of choice continue to change. The large trends, however, are remaining relatively consistent. In a 2011 study, Google released the education buyer’s journey, which highlighted several key components of how students find their institution of choice.

Most significantly for the development of an information architecture, this study revealed that 9 out of 10 users do not know which school they want to attend at the onset of their search & as a result 83% of searches begin with a non-branded keyword [3]. Users are focusing on more specific searches such as “MBA Canada” [4].

Information architects can address this search trend with the isolation of specific program information. Additionally, once users have landed on the program information additional branded information can be served through other components within the site’s structure to cement the institution into a prospective student’s consideration set.

Mobile

While I have, on average, seen mobile traffic to institutional sites of roughly 14% it is a trend that continues to grow. To provide perspective, from Q4 2011 through Q4 2012 higher education saw the fifth highest increase in mobile site traffic with a 156% increase over that time period [5].

With more mobile traffic information architects must be aware of the impact on user experience on mobile devices.  Even if a site is responsive and reads well on a mobile device, a site which relies heavily on pagination will have a poor mobile experience due to the variable load times to navigate between multiple pages on variable network connections. When it comes to mobile, sites are better off with fewer pages with more content on each page.


[1] http://usabilitynews.org/the-impact-of-paging-vs-scrolling-on-reading-online-text-passages/
[2] https://storify.com/xiwcx/there-is-no-fold-1
[3] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/research-studies/education-trends-through-the-eyes-of-your-customer.html
[4] http://monitor.icef.com/2012/10/online-search-and-student-choice-80-of-search-queries-do-not-convert/
[5] http://www.bluetrain.io/blog/2012-mobile-traffic-report/

How Do I Optimize for International Audiences?

posted by on March 27, 2015 in Converge Blog

We are made aware every day that we live in a global community. From the international market down the street to the changing demographics of our student populations, globalism is a pride point for many colleges and universities across the nation.  Nowhere is this globalism more prevalent than it is online where a student from China is only clicks away from exploring an education in Iowa. How then do we optimize our web presence to make sure we are positioned to communicate our story to the world?

There are two main strategies that are commonly used in approaching this scenario, language targeting and regional targeting.  Each has it’s benefits and drawbacks but both aim to complete the same goal.

Language Targeting:

When planning an international strategy language is often the 400 pound gorilla in the room that draws a large amount of our attention.  For many reasons this is completely justified.  Presenting users with their home language in a well executed manner is a site feature that enhances user experience and communicates your commitment to that user. However, there are some drawbacks that you must keep in mind if this is a route you select for your site.

Benefits of Language Targeting:

– Language targeting is often easier to set up and manage from a technical and manpower prospective.  If you know that your targeted demographics are individuals who speak Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese you will be able to cover a vast majority of your target population with three language targeted sites.
– In some cases, specifically with less complex content, you may be able to have the pages you are looking to communicate in additional languages automatically translated saving you time and money.

Drawbacks of Language Targeting:

– While you may be able to translate text correctly language targeting does not always allow you to account for cultural variations in phrasing.  If you translate your site to Spanish with a Mexican dialect you might describe your nursing program’s hoods as apricot using the regional variant “chabacano,” you have now described your nursing program’s hoods as vulgar to the rest of the Spanish speaking world.
– While your website’s design may look wonderful for flush left text intended to be read from left to right does that design work as well when the text is flush right.  Languages such are Arabic or Hebrew, read from right to left, typically align in this manner.
– Even the best automatic translation tools are not perfect and they will make mistakes. If a mistake such as this is not caught until the user notices it, your attempt at better serving the target audience comes across as only half hearted which can break user experience.

Regional Targeting:

The more specific of the two options is regional targeting during which you establish a web presence targeted at counties rather than targeting languages as a whole.  This approach, while more labor intensive, is often the best way to ensure that you are truly speaking to that regional audience in a manner which they can understand and appreciate.

Benefits of Regional Targeting:

– By targeting regionally you are able to speak directly to the audience you are looking to serve, communicating directly to their path.
– By focusing in on specific regions you can take advantage of ccTLDs URLs (.ca,.eu,.cn, Etc.) which in some cases are rewarded in search results as they appear as an in-country site. This also outweighs any discrepancies you may have with your targeting and server location.
– Each country has different search trends and tendencies.  For instance, in China Baidu, a regional search engine, holds 80% of the search market. Each of these variants will have different ranking factors and algorithms. Targeting regionally allows you to capitalize on the differences between these platforms and make optimize for your audience’s search trends.

Drawbacks of Regional Targeting:

– Regional targeting is often very difficult to set-up and manage. You are essentially running a completely separate site with its own audience and its own idiosyncrasies.  This will often take a nearly as much time and energy as managing your main .edu site.
– Even if you are targeting two regions with the same national language you will have to duplicate the content to account for not only regional variances in language but also search patterns.

Other Considerations:

While each route, either language based or regional targeting, has it’s own caveats there are some considerations which you will need to take into account as a whole.  First, you will need to decide what URL structure will work best for your situation.  This topic is a separate blog in itself but some good resources can be found at:Google Support- Multi-regional and multilingual sites.
Secondly, you will have to ask yourself who will manage the content.  It is often difficult to manage a content calendar in your native tongue let alone content in an language you may very well not speak.

Which brings me to my final point. If you are going to develop a foreign language site, regardless of whether you choose to target based off of language or region, do yourself a favor and hire a professional translator to help you tell that story.  While automatic translators are great for simple sites, higher education sites are more often than not large and complex beings that must communicate their messaging in a very clear way.  Translation professionals can help you tell that story using their wealth of experience to make sure you do not offend or break user experience with any linguistic missteps.

How Can Higher Ed Use Twitter Analytics?

posted by on February 02, 2015 in Converge Blog

It seems like every time I am on campus I am playing a perpetual game of Frogger™ dodging the endless streams of students, heads down and consumed with the smartphones we now all live and die by. While I could rant about the etiquette of maintaining an awareness of your surroundings while walking, I won’t waste your time. What are these students doing and what can we learn from these habits of the student population?

There is a good chance that some of these drones are part of the 18% of internet users currently using Twitter. With 31% of the 18-29 demographic using the platform[1] it has become an area where many colleges and universities have attempted to reach out and engage with current and prospective students alike. Some universities are very good at doing this such as Texas A&M (@TAMU) or Syracuse (@SyracuseU)[2] but do they know what posts were successful, or why they were successful? Twitter analytics does!

Basics of Twitter Analytics

Luckily Twitter’s analytics platform is fairly straightforward once you are on the site. Segmented into three basic dashboards you can monitor the success of your specific tweets, gain insights on your followers, and manage your Twitter Cards.

The Tweets Dashboard:

The Tweets dashboard is your place to go to see which of your tweets were most popular and, more importantly, which of your tweets engaged your audience the most. Look for specific types of content that tends to drive clicks to the site or specific messaging which encourages re-tweets, and then use those trends to dictate future content to better serve your audience.

The Followers Dashboard:

 

Your Followers dashboard will allow you to gain the insight on who that audience is.

These demographics are key in the creation of user personas that allow you to guide the direction of content. Additionally, the interests section of this dashboard is extremely helpful in determining content themes would be most attractive to your followers.

Twitter Cards:

 

Lastly, the Twitter Card dashboard. Twitter Cards highlight your photos, videos and stories to drive more traffic to your site, like in the example below. These cards have the additional benefit of specific analytics that help you measure the impact of your Tweets on clicks to your site. If you aren’t using Twitter Cards, you won’t see any information on this dashboard. Setting up Twitter Cards does involve tagging your website content with HTML markup so you may want to have a developer ready to help. Learn more about Twitter Cards and Twitter Card Analytics from Twitter.

Defining Your Twitter Campaigns

As with everything in relation to marketing campaigns, you must first have a clear goal in mind if you are ever going to know if you were successful. All of the favorites and re-tweets in the world do not mean a thing without knowing you have gotten users to complete the actions you would like them to. If you are looking solely for awareness, set percentage increase goals for impressions and re-tweets. If you are using Twitter to drive prospective student RFIs than you will want to measure CTR and conversions on the landing pages that you are driving Twitter traffic to. It is a matter of having a clear goal set up-front and knowing which metrics are a measure of success in the completion of that goal.

On your mark, ready, set, TWEET! There are of course different caveats as you begin to explore the realms of Twitter Ads or promoted content but for day-to-day measurement of your Twitter activity you now have a baseline understanding as to what you are looking at. Happy Tweeting!


[1] #SocialMedia 2014: User Demographics For Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – #infographic, By Irfan Ahmad, Digital Information World,http://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2014/10/social-media-user-demographics-linkedin-tumblr-facebook-and-more-infographic.html

 

[2] The 10 best university Twitter accounts—and what they do right, By Davide Savenije, EducationDIVE, http://www.educationdive.com/news/the-10-best-university-twitter-accountsand-what-they-do-right/112132/

What Metrics Should I Be Using to Measure My Email Effectiveness?

posted by on January 29, 2015 in Converge Blog

I remember the first analytics dashboard I ever looked at.  It was shiny like a new toy on Christmas morning.  It even had the added sense of victory after I had won the battle to complete the code implementation on the sites I was responsible for.  Then it dawned on me, I had so much I could measure and I hadn’t given a single thought as to what I should measure.

I eventually got myself organized and turned a small part of my first job out of college into a career, but it is an issue that faces many marketers as they dive into the world of analytics.  Some of us started at the deep end and learned how to swim as we went, while others had the benefit of playing in the kiddy pool first. However, what most of us have in common is that we started with a blank slate.

This still begs the question though, if I could go back and do everything over, knowing what I know now about analytics, what would I do differently?

The number one thing I would have dedicated a significantly larger portion of my time measuring would have been my email campaigns.  Most all of us as marketers use email campaigns on a regular basis.  For many of us it is something we take for granted as an easy means to communicate with an audience we have already worked to build.  However, we can’t let ourselves get complacent when it comes to the audience that is most likely to be the furthest along in the funnel.

Which brings us to our topic, what email marketing metrics actually matter?

If I were to educate my slightly younger, slightly less ADD self, here are the top-5 metrics I would focus on:

List Growth Rate

I’ve often noticed that list growth rate has somewhat flown under the radar until more recently.  While it is easy to focus in only on the users we have currently engaged on our lists it is essential to the future validity of the list that it continues to grow.

Bounce Rate

As your list gains users and emails progress in time you will need to make sure you are keeping an eye on your bounce rate to ensure the validity of your list.  This is where your bounce rate will help you determine how many subscribers you are potentially losing.  It is also important to note that, if you happen to get blacklisted (please try to avoid this) you will not always get notification and you might only be able to find out from a significantly increased bounce rate.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

This is where email starts to get fun! If you are measuring your CTR you can track how successful you were in crafting the messaging behind your email and the offers you have paired with that messaging.   If you have a high CTR (Education’s average is roughly 3.42% as a benchmark), then good job, you have successfully engaged your audience! If you have some work to do in this area you can also look to your CTR to A/B test different messaging and offers as you continue to improve.

Conversion Rate

If CTRs are where email marketing gets fun, then conversion rates are where email marketing gets rewarding.  This one metric, provided you established a clear goal for the email campaign from it’s onset, is what will tell you if subscribers are completing your goal and at what rate.

Return on Investment (ROI)

At the end of the day, all of us want to know what we are doing in our marketing efforts are worth it.  The measure of ROI will allow you to expand upon your conversion rate to put a tangible dollar amount on your marketing campaigns.  Provided you are returning more than you are investing (by the percentile you would like to achieve) in time, resources, and effort, your email campaigns are a success!

This blog was influenced by Sarah Golinger’s blog “The Essential Email Marketing Metrics You Should Be Tracking” on Hubspot Blogs.