Diving Deeper into Data

Carnegie Higher Ed May 03, 2013 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

We keep hearing about stealth applicants or visitors not doing what you hoped when they come to your site. And it’s true: tracking what’s going on is tough. Gone are the days where comparing first-source inquiries to matriculants one-to-one is the only measurement you use. Marketing plans are more complex. Students have access to more information than ever before—and are getting it without you knowing! But the good news is data still tells a very reliable story.

We are fortunate to have clients that partner with us on data analysis. We’re able to dive deep into what we’re doing and how it relates to results they’re seeing.

How has the data review changed in the past 25+ years for us? Drastically. In 1990 we would have asked the school to tell us how many students matriculated based on the pre-qualified leads we sent them. They would give us a number, there was success, we all went for a drink to celebrate.

2013 rolls around and it’s a much different data landscape. Of course, we still ask colleges to share the basic stats with us, and we continue to be very pleased with those results (here are some examples):

But now we can and do go further. Just recently we’ve run several matchback programs (as we’re calling them) for our clients. This allows us to analyze their inquiry, application, and enrolled pools and compare them to our database. Based on their data, we can analyze touch.

The adage that it takes seven marketing touches to sell something holds true in the education marketing space. Your cycle may show six or eight, but the general concept of touch is critical. Of your enrolled students, how many did we send you a lead for? How many did we reach by e-mail? How many by mail? Despite our lead numbers being at a record high in 2013, we know our magazine, online, and e-mail efforts (three touches for some students) are providing a strong branding and marketing presence for clients that can’t be measured by a single lead.

Want to go even further? Consider breaking this up by location. Look at known primary markets, check out secondary markets that seem to be growing (or declining), and consider new tertiary markets that are popping up. Crossing geoanalysis with conversion rates can help you formulate your next marketing move—new areas to focus on for search, geodemographics to target a display campaign, where to ease up or increase budget dollars for an online campaign, and more.

Further still?! Take a look at your Google Analytics. Set goals for your visitors and track what’s driving them to take the next step. Did your search piece drop force a spike in traffic? Yes. Okay, what did those visitors do? Did they bounce upon arrival? Did they head over to admission pages? Did they view a video? Did they complete an inquiry form? Know their patterns. Recognize the efforts that got them there. Tweak to enhance. Refine. Repeat.

Analyzing a holistic campaign is important: this formula works, and data doesn’t lie. We’re a proud bunch of analytics geeks over here at Carnegie, and we would be happy to discuss tracking and measurements. Data analysis will drive success, and we can all go out for a drink to celebrate. Cheers.

You can follow me on Twitter @meghdale; or on Google Plus as Meghan Dalesandro.

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