University Web Developers

University Web Developers

As we are coming to a calendar year close and recently completed an advertising campaign, we have been looking at our web analytics to see how we did. Trying to compare overall web traffic we have seen a decrease this year (-4% +/- depending on some factors). The problem I'm running into is that it doesn't correlate to our increase in applications and accepted students.

My initial reaction is "better web traffic"? We've seen increases in: time on page/site, % of new visitors, traffic from external networks, and traffic to some of our key pages (although not all of them). We've also seen extremely high results on our direct mail/application pieces.

So am I foolish to extrapolate that our general brand awareness could have increased, our prospective students don't have to navigate all over our site, are applying quickly and easier through our direct pieces, which is cannibalizing some of our traffic?

Views: 449

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Kevin,

I would say that lower 'qualified' traffic is much better than a large volume of  'general' visitor web traffic.  It seems to me that your brand advertising and direct marketing campaigns could be resonating better with your target audience.  This drives qualified traffic to your website and higher ratio of applications/visitor traffic.

Same here. We just brought in a record class, but overall site traffic is down 4% compared to last year. And this is after several years of growth. I haven't been able to figure it out.

The more I hear others mention this, the more I think its a technical issue or something related to privacy that was updated in browsers.....but so far I haven't found anything to validate those thoughts.

I've been speculating for some time that there might be a generalized flow of our users away from web sites and towards accessing information through social media. This could be a very soft effect: a tweeted question that replaces a hit on a web page here, a skim of a Facebook page instead a hit on an event calendar there... just a slight drift away from the web site as the first go-to resource. These slightly lower numbers would be in keeping with that kind of small shift in user behavior. If so the pattern of lower numbers would continue over time, and web resources that can be accessed on multiple social media platforms or from peers would probably show the most drop.

Keep in mind, while a 4% change in traffic might be out of the norm, it's also not statistically significant in most cases. After all, where is that dip happening? It's possible your home page views are down, while views across the rest of the site on the whole are up. That'd be because of the sheer volume of views the homepage gets, and people that might be getting to deep pages on your site via a search engine. Imagine how many views of the homepage would be cut out if just a couple computer labs on campus changed the default homepage to Google, for instance.

When I hear someone say "traffic changed by X amount," I immediately think you're talking about total pageviews or visits singularly (I also question if on-campus traffic was excluded in the report, for reason like the lab example above). It's extremely important to make sure folks understand that these are, essentially, garbage statistics. What matters is the value you get out of those. In your case, you say you're seeing increases in applications and acceptances. If that was your goal, and you achieved that goal with fewer pageviews, you're actually doing a better job since the base conversion rate is higher.

Increasing pageviews or visits isn't a goal. It might be a means to a goal, but it should be viewed as the start, not the finish, when it comes to analysis. For instance, if you've seen that drop, and you think it's because of incidental flight to social media platforms, then measure your engagement rates on Facebook and Twitter and see if there's a corresponding bump. The tough part is, there's a certain mad scientist skill that comes into play sometimes to get all the numbers to make sense, and in that process, you lose some of the folks you have to sell on the info, which is why we revert back to this basic pageview/visit scoring.

Totally agree, overall traffic is not a goal. But the narrative for most higher ups is more traffic = more reach and awareness. And so they want an explanation when it drops. I don't think it's worth worrying about unless it goes past 5-6%, but there should be an explanation for it.

In my case I'm looking at visits instead of pure pageviews because traffic patterns will always shift around, but ultimately we want more people coming to the site, or at lest the same people coming back more regularly. While "unique visitors" is up almost 6%, "visits" is down 2% - meaning we're getting more people (or the same people on more devices anyway) but they're not coming back as much. Which may be fine - all comes down to how we define success and how we're reaching out to them in other channels.

We've been considering reporting aggregate metrics for social media and web in a more unified presentation, realizing that there will be traffic shifting between channels, and that a better view of overall engagement and effectiveness will come from looking at the channels together, even as traffic flows and shifts between them.

I agree that results-oriented metrics are the ones that matter. Management knows they need this kind of more nuanced analysis too, so I think moving away from a 'views and visitors' orientation to a conversions and results orientation is on everyone's agenda.

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Are online forms more efficient? Learn how El Camino College used Formstack to create online forms that expedited processing, improved communications, increased transparency, and promoted accountability across campus. http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
11 hours ago
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"It's important to understand the science behind your web pages to better engage and ultimately attract prospective students to your site. http://bit.ly/2ZYK8FZ"
Sep 12
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"If you’re struggling with web challenges such as accessibility, SEO, design consistency, workflow, content governance, or how to start a website redesign, you’re not alone. Join our next webcast to learn how other higher ed institutions…"
Sep 5
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"eQAfy confirms that OU Campus is still the #1 commercial CMS for colleges and universities in the United States. http://bit.ly/2Lir9Mn"
Aug 28
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Here’s an outline of everything you need to know about OCR compliance, including what it is, what your college or university can do to stay compliant, and resources for OCR compliance. #accessibility http://bit.ly/2rcPDgG"
Aug 23
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with April Buscher from Montana State University Billings to learn how blind readers and people with hearing impairment view and read your website and how you can make it accessible to them. http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Aug 14
Amanda Lawson joined Lynn Zawie's group
Thumbnail

OmniUpdate

Share your experiences using OmniUpdate CMS
Aug 9
Amanda Lawson posted a photo

Amanda Lawson

Amanda Lawson, Web Content ManagerCommunity College of Allgheny County
Aug 9
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"High schoolers spend more time on their digital devices than they do sleeping, doing homework, or participating in extracurricular activities. So how do you make your message stand out to them? #eexpect http://bit.ly/2MOIIWC"
Aug 8
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Want to increase digital engagement with high school juniors and seniors? Join our next webcast with Stephanie Geyer from Ruffalo Noel Levitz as she shares new data from the 2019 E-Expectations Trend Report on email, paid media, and social media…"
Jul 31
Charlie Holder joined DNI's group
Thumbnail

Cascade Server CMS

For folks who use (or are interested in) Hannon Hill's Cascade Server CMS productSee More
Jul 26
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Is your website in compliance with the new WCAG 2.1? Join our webcast to learn various accessibility guidelines, what’s new in 2.1, and more! http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Jul 22
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Even though GDPR has been in effect for over a year, many U.S. colleges and universities are still struggling with how best to implement the rules. We’re here to help. http://bit.ly/2YZZtRQ"
Jul 18
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Does your college or university website meet the new WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards? http://bit.ly/2JBXD3s"
Jul 12
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Eric Turner from Mt. San Antonio College, who will share easy steps to make your website GDPR compliant. http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Jul 10
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"It is always important to make a good first impression! Join Aaron Blau from Converge Consulting as he covers ways to make your web content attractive to your target audience and create an authentic brand message. http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Jun 19
Jon Shaw posted a discussion

email obfuscation

Anyone using a javascript or php email obfuscation library that is effective for spam defense?See More
Jun 11
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Kelly Bostick from University of Arkansas who will provide some great tips on ways to ensure that all of your digital content is accessible. http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Jun 6
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Creating and producing website content is just the tip of the iceberg. In our latest white paper, learn how to manage that content to help your website reach its fullest marketing and recruiting potential. http://bit.ly/30WJ0PW"
May 30
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"A college or university website redesign is the most effective and cost-efficient way to attract and recruit new students. Download our ultimate guide to get started on your redesign today! http://bit.ly/30MmcSQ"
May 28

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2019   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service