Part 1: Measuring All Users Traffic with Google Analytics
Analyzing the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy is essential. Whether that content strategy is inbound marketing for your international school or outbound with paid ads, you must determine what’s working and what isn’t so you know what to create more of and what to create less of.
Time for a quick pop quiz! Ready?
What are the three primary goals of a content marketing strategy?
- Get traffic to your website and eyeballs on your content.
- Generate quality leads (prospective families) because of the content.
- Convert the quality leads into sales (admitted families).
It all starts with traffic. If prospective families aren’t engaging with the content you’ve created, what was the point of investing all those resources into generating it?
We’re going to start with the basics which isn’t a basic tool at all: Google Analytics.
Set Your Baseline Traffic
In order to know if your content and marketing strategies are effective, you have to know where you started. By setting a baseline of your traffic numbers, you’ll be able to easily benchmark your efforts.
Determine your baseline traffic by averaging your traffic over a period of at least 6 months, but preferably a year. There are distinct seasons to international education and website traffic will fluctuate in those seasons. Peak admissions season equals higher traffic. Summer break equals much lower traffic.
To set your average, use the data points below, choose your date range, and then average it over the period of months in your date range. For example: if the number of users for your website over 12 months is 25,000, divide that by 12 and your average monthly users is 2,083.
By taking a one-year average of your traffic, you will have an accurate record of your school’s traffic patterns.
How to Use Google Analytics Data Points for International Schools
As I mentioned, Google Analytics is anything but a basic tool. It is an incredibly deep well of website traffic data. It can be overwhelming to know where to start, which is why we often discover that schools have no idea what their traffic volume and trends are.
The following data points can be used to set your baseline traffic numbers and should be reviewed every month to see how the website is performing.
The audience overview section is the first place to look as it provides a high-level picture of your website’s traffic. There are several data points you’ll be analyzing.
With your audience filter set to All Users, you’ll need to set the dates you want to see metrics for, and then begin to analyze the following metrics:
Sessions: This is the number of times your website was visited. In the example above, 16,259 sessions took place during the period of December 2020.
Users: This is the number of unique people that visited the website. In the example above, there were 10,717 users.
Users vs new users: This metric tells you how many sessions were from a new user (a user that hasn’t been on your site in 30 days or more) and how many were from a return visitor. In the example above, 75.4% or 9,227 of the sessions were from a new user.
From an admissions recruitment perspective, the higher the number of new users, the better. That being said, if someone is using a VPN or accessing the site from a different location (like a coffee shop) or has travelled, Google will identify them as a new user because their IP address is different.
Time on site: The average time a session lasts in minutes. In this case, 1:57 minutes. Obviously, the longer the better here.
Globally, the average session duration is between 2-3 minutes. Anything above three minutes would be considered good.
Pages viewed per session: the number of pages being viewed during each session. In this case, 6.38 pages per session. Again, the higher the number here, the better.
A survey by Little Data shows the global average is 2.8 pages per session. Anything about 4.4 pages pers session puts a website in the top 20% of the world.
Bounce rate: Bounce rate is when a user has a single-page session and then leaves the site. It is calculated by dividing single-page sessions by all sessions. In this case, the bounce rate is 15.06%.
The global average bounce rate is between 45% - 60%, however, we find that international schools often have a much lower than average bounce rate.
If your bounce rate is less than 5%, it likely means there is a technical problem with how the tracking code has been installed on your website.
International school websites are the virtual window into your admissions office and 99.9% of the time they are the first interaction a family has with your school. In the same way that you want to increase inquiries coming into your admissions department, you also want to increase traffic coming to your website.
Using Google Analytics will help you to set a baseline (starting point) of what your website traffic volume is right now and then to monitor its growth over time.
If you would like to learn more about how to increase traffic to your website, click here to learn more about our MAP workshop series.