Better Google Analytics Benchmarks – Setting Conversion Goals for College and University Websites

January 29, 2015

Page views, session duration and bounce rate provide a solid health check for your college or university website. But this is only the beginning. We recommend setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics. A conversion goal typically measures a completed activity such as:

  • Campus visit registrations
  • Requests for information
  • Beginning the application process

We call it a conversion when a user reaches the “thank you” page after submitting a form.

How Can Conversion Goals Improve my College or University Website?

Once you start tracking data with conversion goals, you can ask a whole set of new questions about your website performance such as:

  • Which pages or content elements are most helpful in conversion?
  • What is the session duration for visitors who convert?
  • How can I test to get more conversions?
  • What devices are people converting on?

Tying website traffic and conversion data provides the insight you need to improve your website and to align your website with the business goals of your college or university. Conversion goals are the beginning to showing how the website is not just a cost center, but an investment that generates revenue for your higher education institution.

Website Conversion Goals in Action: A University Case Study

For one higher education client, we established Google Analytics conversion goals outlined above. After 12 months of tracking, we analyzed the data to understand how people that convert behave:

  • There are 4,000+ pages on this university website – but users that converted only looked at 234 of these web pages. These 234 pages are the pages that the marketing team now pays the most attention to.
  • The average website visit time was 2.5 minutes – but users that converted stayed over 12 minutes on the site and visited an average of 11.5 pages. This provides an opportunity for using real-time web personalization.
  • Of converting users, 43% of the pages viewed were in the admissions and financial aid section and the majority of the views were focused on less than 10 specific pages. The marketing team is looking at how to improve this content to make it even more effective.

For more on Google Analytics, check out:

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