“We were very pleased with the work that HEM did to help refine tracking across our websites. We are now able to track registration funnels and have a much better handle on how prospective students are moving through our site’s pages.“
Director of Instructional Technology & Distributed Learning/Web Architect
Building Deeper Analytics & Custom Reporting for a Complex Web Ecosystem
Western University’s web ecosystem is quite complex, serving many internal and external audiences. Visitor traffic, engagement and recruitment metrics were difficult to track, analyze and report.
The Google Analytics setup and tracking for the University had evolved organically over an extended period of time, and as a result was inconsistent and not providing fully integrated, accurate tracking across all sites, subdomains and recruitment and registration activities.
CROSS DOMAIN TRACKING WAS NOT AVAILABLE
Analytics were not set up to track website visitors as they moved across the many western sites, for example, from entering at the main western.edu site over to the prospective. western.edu subdomain. Important information about visitor intent, pages visited and time spent on site was being lost.
GOOGLE ANALYTICS “GOALS” HAD NOT BEEN DEFINED OR TRACKED
Various stakeholders across the college were tracking performance on their respective parts of the web ecosystem in different ways and with differing degrees of success. For the most part, Google Analytics site transaction goals were not clearly understood and as a result were generally not configured.
REGULAR SITE TRAFFIC & ACTIVITY REPORTS WERE NOT AVAILABLE
Some google analytics reporting was being used by departments but they were very basic in nature. Generally managers interested in website activity were logging into analytics and searching for relevant information.
Preliminary discussions were held with Western to identify their analytics, tracking and reporting challenges. HEM then conducted a detail website audit of Western’s web ecosystem to determine the configuration and flow of visitor, lead generation and student registration information. Having demonstrated an understanding of their challenges and the technical expertise to address them, Western University contracted HEM to further investigate and to work with their staff to improve their current Google Analytics configuration, tracking and reporting.
HEM conducted a number program and service-specific interviews with Western staff to learn what the current analytics needs of managers were across the system. These interviews led to the development of specific analytics profiles and website goals for those unique profiles, collecting and segmenting data according to the specific requirements of the different groups.
HEM’s technical audit of the web ecosystem led to the identification of a number of issues around the implementation of analytic across the system. Changes were recommended and implemented through an analytics implementation guide. Cross and sub domain tracking code was custom developed and installed by the University’s web team as required. Data filters were designed and implemented, including an internal traffic exclusion filter.
FIGURE 1: SUNGARD BANNER ONLINE ‘APPLY NOW’ FUNNEL
This funnel shows the 6 unique steps for a student to register on the Western website
Registration tracking was of high priority. A custom “apply now” registration funnel incorporating SunGard Banner registration pages was developed to track and report prospect and registrant behavior across the website and its separate Banner domain registration pages.
The implementation of all changes was conducted over a 3 month period. Over this period custom monthly reporting were developed and provided to program managers to verify the successful implementation of the structural changes, filters and cross domain tracking.
HEM’S WORK RESULTED IN A NUMBER OF SPECIFIC OUTCOMES:
- Western managers can now fully track student registrations across their websites, subdomains and the internal Banner registration pages.
- Custom monthly reports provide managers with regular updates, essential statistics and analyses.
- Tracking of library downloads resulted in and increased investment in capacity to better serve student access requirements.
FIGURE 2: CUSTOM GOOGLE ANALYTICS DASHBOARD
This custom dashboard was created for Western and provided monthly to report the status of website traffic and website goals.
About Western University of Health Sciences
Western University is one of the largest graduate schools for the health professions in California. Alumni rank among the very top leaders in health care and medicine throughout the US and the world. Founded in 1977, Western University of Health Sciences is a nonprofit, graduate university for the health professions. All of the health care programs have professional accreditation and the university is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.