Digital Marketing

School Marketing Metrics You Should Be Using

May 7, 2019

One of the great triumphs of the digital age is that now, more than ever, marketing is measurable. Sure, we’ve always had the ability to gather qualitative data, but in the 21st century, we’re surrounded by an influx of tools that make collecting, analysing and disseminating that data an absolute breeze.

With programs like Google Analytics putting the number-crunching into the hands of regular folk, things are bound to get a bit overwhelming. To immediately be thrown into the world of data analysis without a second thought is understandably scary -- unless you know what to look for, that is.

If you’re a school marketer trying to make sense of your data using a program like GA, it’s handy to have some insight into the best metrics to use to get the most out of that giant page of numbers. That’s why we’ve rounded up five school marketing metrics you should be using right now -- keep reading to find out what they are.

Traffic

If you’re thinking ‘duh’, don’t! Some marketers completely overlook their website hits and prefer to focus on project-specific metrics, which is totally fine, but also prevents you from getting a handle on the bigger picture. Traffic is a great metric to focus on as it helps contextualise all your other stats down the line.

Of course, we don’t recommend you simply look at the number of hits you’re getting per day and end there -- if you have the capabilities within Google Analytics or another program, dive into your users’ trajectories and see where they end up navigating to. This will give you insight into what’s drawing attention on-site from a UX and visual perspective, rather than a search perspective.

Channel

Channels are the one thing that every marketer should be measuring -- no questions asked. If you’re not clued in on this vital metric, it refers to where your traffic is coming from, whether that be organic search (Google, Bing etc.), paid search (ads on these search engines or other sites), direct traffic (users typing your address into their search bar), social, email, referral (via links on other sites) and so on. Keeping on top of this metric ensures that you know where your hits are coming from, and conversely, where they’re not.

Let’s run a quick example of how you can use channel split data to your advantage. Say that based on historical data from the past year, your strongest channel is organic search, and mainly comes from people typing your school’s name into Google or another search engine. Then, one day when evaluating your channels, you notice a huge spike in traffic from social media. Your social media manager has just shared a great post from your blog and it’s getting tons of hits! Once they've clicked through, users are navigating around your site, so you can glean that they’re engaged with you as a school, rather than just a one-off post.

This is all data you can use to adapt your marketing strategy. Perhaps you don’t use social media very often -- maybe it’s time to start? You’ve now got the capacity to evaluate, from a qualitative standpoint, what it was that worked about that particular blog post. And, of course, this is just one example -- the insights you can reap from a regular channel breakdown are almost endless. Trust us!

Want to compare social media channels? Check out the pros and cons of each in our guide to The Right Social Networks for Your School.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate (CVR) is endlessly talked about amongst digital marketers, and for good reason -- it’s the metric that determines the percentage of your users that are taking a specified action, such as clicking a link, filling out a form or purchasing a product. As a result, it’s also a non-negotiable metric to measure, even in a school setting.

Say you’ve got online enrolment available on your school website, and want to see what percentage of website visitors take action and submit their form. This data will be represented by that page's conversion rate.

Similarly, with the right tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to track CVR at every stage of the enrolment process, seeing at which points prospective families drop off with the most frequency. All of this information and more is available within customer relationship managers (CRMs), such as Digistorm's Funnel.

Audience insights

Audience insights is a nifty feature designed to help you get to know your users better. Although you probably have quite a lot of data from current and even prospective enrolments, audience insights will help you understand the wider picture -- this metric gives you data on the age range, gender and location of everyone that visits your site. Cool, right?

Audience data in particular is really helpful for tailoring your content to assist with lead generation. You can use the age, gender and location stats to narrow down potentially viable keywords or brand personas before you begin creating content. This strategic approach will allow for better uplift and shareability in the long run.


Getting personal with your brand personas? Check out our post on Why Personas Are the Key to Boosting Parent Engagement.


Site search

We talk a lot about search terms for SEO purposes, referring to the keywords users type in when they’re looking for something on Google. But what about site search? Site search refers to the terms users type into your site’s search bar. They’ve found your school, and now they want to know something specific about it, so they go hunting for answers. Google Analytics includes the site search function to help you understand the queries users most commonly have.

To navigate to this useful info in Google Analytics, click on behaviour, then site search, then info. Make note that site search does have to be set up manually -- here’s a quick guide on how to do it. Now you’ve got all your site search data in front of you, you can have a look at how many users actually use the search function on your site, but more importantly, the terms they’re searching for.

Notice that heaps of people seem interested in your water polo program, but there isn’t a page that collates all the relevant information on training times, games, tryouts and more? Create one! Site search helps you identify opportunities within your school’s website and slot them into your marketing plan with ease.

Every school marketer should be assessing these five metrics on a regular basis to best understand their users' behaviours. By doing so, you'll be able to level up your site, blog and socials beyond measure!

Putting together a marketing strategy to attract, engage and convert prospective parents? Consider implementing inbound marketing tactics.

Get your copy of Digistorm's Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing for Schools!