Ideas, insights and inspirations.

Marketing ROI formula is easy enough: However, working with higher education clients for more than two decades has made it clear to us that calculating marketing ROI is challenging, especially in our current era of media fragmentation, device proliferation, and tight marketing budgets. Four reasons why: Unrealized Attribution of Incremental Gains to Marketing Efforts: Pinpointing a prospect-to-enrolled conversion to a specific marketing tactic is hard because a conversion may be the result of multiple marketing stimuli spread out over multiple marketing channels over a period of few years. Multi-touch and multi-channel lead attribution models, though available in the form of sophisticated software tools, are not well understood, are difficult to implement, and are simply unaffordable for a majority of colleges. Thus, connecting the dots across a campaign’s multiple components is next to impossible. Inadequate Support for Source Tracking: The next best alternative to attribution software is to deploy simple source tracking, where source-of-lead signals are passed from digital touch points … Continue reading

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The title of this blog, “Find Meaning in Your Social Media Analytics” is kind of broad and could probably be interpreted in many ways. Upon coming across the blog title, one might think it was about discovering a secret way of distilling all that unruly social media web traffic into coherent and meaningful data reports. Others may think it is a blog about some new age digital strategy that will help you find your inner social media analytics chi that simplifies the way you look at clicks, likes and impressions. Although these ideas sound great and might be topics for future AHA blog posts, this one is simply about how to help you locate and find meaning in the social media analytics tools provided in your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  So let’s get started with this simple road map and light overview of the Facebook and Twitter analytics platforms that may help you make more sense of why you are … Continue reading

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Higher education institutes are generating data from a variety of sources: CRM data, web analytics, enrollment data, student data, LMS data and alumni data. All this information is causing a data glut where data is being gathered, stored and forgotten due to a variety of reasons. According to EDUCAUSE, data in numerous cases is only being used to satisfy reporting requirements and neither being actively used for strategic purposes (this includes marketing, enrollment and resource optimization) nor is it being used effectively for making predictions or triggering proactive decisions on imminent issues. Purchasing a few tools for data analytics is easy however the real value lies in having the curiosity to ask the right questions and the skill to delve into data to find answers. Here are a few strategies when looking into higher ed data. Social Media Look at the insight dashboard of your social media platform. Analyze which posts had the most engagement rate (a combination of likes, … Continue reading

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While your faculty and students may have taken the summer off from their college assignments, you know that the work of higher education brand building never ends.  Today, and every day, your college brand continues to do its daily work — on your website, social sites and across the continuum of digital and human conversation. As new and returning students unpack in residence halls and faculty reclaim their offices, it’s a good time of the year to ask: What can we do to renew our college brand for the 2014-2015 academic year? We offer five steps forward: 1. Begin investing in first impressions. That could mean redesigning an initial search mailing aimed at rising high school juniors, or rethinking training for new and returning student tour guides. First brand impressions hold great potential — but can also be overlooked. Given the number of campus visits that students (and parents) make, it’s worth preparing your student guides. Can they really translate … Continue reading

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Landing pages and vanity websites are an integral part of digital marketing. These are mostly single HTML pages and come in a variety of flavors from simple text to more complex media rich pages. The latter may contain any combinations of image & video galleries, flash-driven elements, download resources, ajax elements, gadgets etc. Visitors interact with these objects without leaving the page. For example, Google Analytics (GA) tracking code will not track any of the following interactions from the visitors to the media rich page: How far down the page visitors are scrolling after landing on the page? How much time are they spending on the page? What resources on the page are they interact with? How many visitors are filling out the form? If there are videos on the page, which videos are they watching and for how long? Which content pieces on the page are most effective and engaging? And so on… Without enhanced data-collection techniques, the default … Continue reading

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Since New Years is a traditionally a time to take stock, here are five thought-provoking thoughts on marketing ROI from a few of my favorite experts on the subject (not ranked in any particular order).   1. “Choose no more than five key metrics. It’s hard to put organizational focus on more than that, so choose wisely.” Paul Albright, Chief Revenue Officer, Marketo 2. “The proper use of marketing ROI measurements is capable of comparing investment options as diverse as a direct marketing campaign, a dedicated sales force, a retail distribution channel and an Internet marketing campaign. Marketing ROI analysis can scale from the incremental value of a tagline on an envelope to the implementation of a multimillion-dollar enterprise CRM marketing initiative.” Jim Lenskold, President and Founder, Lenskold Group 3. “A new breed of “Super-Quant” will emerge in the near future having both the necessary statistical acumen and the required knowledge of interactive marketing. They will accelerate the ability of … Continue reading

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Comparing last four months of pre-launch and post-launch analytics data of recently launched responsive website for a client, revealed some interesting insights. Website traffic remained unchanged Share of Mobile traffic increased Share of Direct traffic increased Shift in Desktop traffic to Mobile Overall, for the new website, traffic visit numbers remained relatively unchanged. However, the share of desktop users dropped giving a huge boost to visits from mobile users — increasing their share from 7% to 25% of total site traffic. As shown in the chart below, the old site was not friendly to small mobile device users as majority of the mobile visits were from tablets. With the new responsive website, non-tablet mobile traffic growth was significant and for the first time it was almost twice of the tablet users.  It is evident from the following chart that the new responsive website is a huge success. Now with significant traffic coming from Mobile devices, it was natural to compare … Continue reading

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In our experience, measurement, collection and reporting of website data are usually not a well-defined piece of a marketing plan for many businesses. One such area where marketers often struggle with Google Analytics (GA) reports is related to campaign attribution. Due to technicalities and nature of the internet, it is not straightforward to know the details of all inbound links to your site. However, appending inbound URLs with parameter/value pairs helps assemble the additional information. The following simplified example illustrates how to reclaim some valuable data by including GA campaign related parameter/value pairs in links inside emails, banners, social media, etc and get meaningful insights utilizing various reports. Often easy to remember URLs are used in print and banner ads. Take the following custom or vanity URL as an example: http://www.yourdomain.com/short_name Let’s say this URL redirects visitors to the destination page as follows. http://www.yourdomain.com/pagename In doing so, the action is recorded as a direct visit to the ‘/pagename’ and crucial … Continue reading

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Although marketing creativity is a right-brain activity, in today’s digital realm marketers are also responsible for the left-brain activity of measuring, analyzing and reporting on the effectiveness of their marketing programs. One of the most common web traffic measurement techniques involves…

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Let’s talk for a minute about the word “online” in the world of SEO. Online education isn’t what it used to be. Students, parents and educators alike are embracing the benefits of taking classes online, at a distance, as scheduling allows. More and more universities are offering the very same courses at a distance, with the same paper diploma at the end. As a result, millions of working adults are able to pursue a quality higher education. Enrollment is booming, profits are up. Even employers are shifting towards indifferent acceptance when it comes to what method a person used to receive his/her degree, according to a recent study. With this sea change toward legitimacy in online learning, I pose a very simple question: how has search behavior changed for the search term “online“? Let’s look at Google Trends: Take a search like “online criminal justice degrees”. This is a term similar to one we optimized a couple years ago for … Continue reading

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