Google Analytics for Schools

Digital marketing thrives on data. Data allows professionals in the field to clearly identify what’s working and what isn’t, and to refine, test, and improve our campaigns. Unfortunately, getting the data you need isn’t always straightforward.

Take McGill University School of Continuing Studies, for example. Despite enabling students to register and pay for courses entirely online through its Modern Campus Destiny One eCommerce platform, McGill SCS struggled to draw a clear line between the money and resources they were spending on marketing and advertising and the revenue it was driving for the institution. 

Fortunately, HEM and McGill SCS were able to work together to overcome this challenge. With our combined expertise, we were able to implement a measurement plan to track transactions on Destiny One, and develop a more efficient marketing and advertising process across the school’s entire funnel. 

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McGill School of Continuing Studies’ Challenge

Like many continuing education providers, McGill University School of Continuing Studies uses Modern Campus Destiny One to enable students to register for courses online.

The system is one of the best eCommerce platforms for the education sector. However, it can be quite difficult to track Modern Campus Destiny One revenue by source in Google Analytics for schools. This is especially true when you factor in the many different touchpoints that a student’s user journey can include before they register – such as ads, emails, and the school’s website. A typical student might interact with the school through each of these channels several times before proceeding to registration.

McGill SCS wanted to clearly track all of these touchpoints, and be able to directly connect the revenue its programs were generating with its marketing and advertising spend. 

Developing More Streamlined Marketing Campaigns for McGill SCS’s Programs

In order to properly track the source of its revenue in the school’s Google Analytics account, McGill SCS needed to make its marketing and advertising efforts more transparent and measurable across all of its digital channels. 

This meant rethinking and revamping its advertising campaigns. HEM developed new Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn ad campaigns for several McGill SCS programs.

Example: A sample of McGill SCS ads developed for a Facebook campaign promoting its Business Analysis Certificate program. HEM used different ad placements and ad sets to maximize the campaign’s potential success.

advertising for continuing education

A key difference between these campaigns and those the school had run before was where users were directed. Previously, McGill SCS’s ads linked to the program pages on its website. This wasn’t ideal, as these pages didn’t offer forms to capture lead data. 

Instead, HEM created program-specific landing pages which offered leads the opportunity to download program brochures by submitting a form. 

Example: The landing page HEM developed for McGill SCS’s Data Science program.

education landing pages

This helped to drive more leads into the school’s funnel. From there, we helped McGill SCS develop email drip campaigns that which worked to engage prospective students and gradually nurture them towards registration. 

schools google analytics tracking

This approach created a more streamlined promotional funnel for each program. Through the entire journey, our team ensured that each touchpoint was fully trackable and measurable in Google Analytics by inserting relevant Google Tag Manager (GTM) tags. 

Implementing eCommerce Tracking in Modern Campus Destiny One

In order to properly track transactions and revenue from Modern Campus Destiny One, we needed to enable eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics. This feature allows website owners to measure valuable eCommerce data such as purchase amounts, order quantities, buyer locations, and average order values. 

Next, we needed to configure a GTM tag for McGill SCS’s transactions:

ecommerce tracking for schools

Ensuring that data would be sent from the Modern Campus Destiny One system itself to GA was a bit more complex. The process involved first enabling a DOM (Document Object Model) Page View trigger on the platform’s receipt page. This is a signal that fires tags in Google Tag Manager when pages are loaded in a web browser.

tracking in education

To make the trigger work correctly, our developers needed to create some custom JavaScript and add it to the receipt page. This allowed us to capture the cart details of McGill SCS’s online registrants after payment and push them to the school’s GA account. 

GA in education

A Fully Measurable Enrollment Journey

The benefits of the solutions HEM implemented for McGill School of Continuing Studies were twofold. First, by enabling eCommerce tracking in GA, the school could clearly track the revenue associated with conversions from different sources.

What’s more, the team could also see the complex user journeys that its students often take towards registration. For instance, many registrants who first found McGill SCS’s programs through paid advertising often later visited its website through organic search and engaged with the school’s email campaigns before conversion.

GA for schools

Some prospects also landed on the school’s website several times before conversion, often over a number of days.

schools Google analytics

The conversion path of a single registrant could be as complex as this:

enrollment journey

No matter how simple or complicated, McGill SCS now had a clear, transparent view of every student’s path. Not only that, but every penny of revenue each of its digital channels was responsible for generating could be seen in the school’s Google Analytics tracking.

“When we first started using Destiny One (now Modern Campus), we weren’t getting the data we needed to understand how our campaigns were performing. We needed a way to see applications, registrations, and return on ad spend (ROAS) by campaign to know what was working and what to optimize,” said David Kynan, the school’s Acting Director of Marketing & Communications. “Well, now we have it! HEM was able to configure and connect various platforms so we have the insight we need from each campaign to be able to make data-driven decisions!” 

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