Rebecca Bernstein, Digital Strategist at the University at Buffalo, is one of the 12 higher ed professionals presenting at the 1st higher ed analytics conference. Rebecca Bernstein serves as UB’s digital strategist and spearheaded the creation of the University at Buffalo’s Web Team.
In this 3-question interview, Rebecca tells us about her biggest success story with analytics, favorite tool and a great tip you can use.
1) What is your biggest win using analytics?
The recognition that in a Google world, every page is the home page. Through analytics we affirmed over 10 years ago that each of the pages in our news media site were landing pages that were equal to, if not more important than the home page of that site.
So with that finding in mind, how does that influence the design of individual releases and what elements are placed as “next steps?”
2) What is your favorite analytics tool? Why is it so useful in your higher ed job?
Google Analytics Events. Plain and simple.
www.buffalo.edu is an information-providing site whose primary business goals are deepening relationships and “people-moving”. Our success is not always driven by conversions (buy this, fill out this form) and driving web visitors to the page is not enough.
With Google Analytics Events, I can see what elements within the page motivated our web visitors, what captured their interest next.
Like our peers, our overall domain is managed by multiple site owners. If I know that a page on www.buffalo.edu sent 15% of its traffic as a “find out more about this” to a UB department, we did a great job. And, I can tell our partners that 30% of the traffic we drove to their site was from target markets we are prioritzing.
GA Events also help with managing usability. If I see that web visitors are not scrolling or clicking below a certain point, I can review the user interface for barriers to “scent of information” or visual indicators that prevent scrolling.
3) What is the most important piece of advice you could give to a colleague starting with higher ed analytics?
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” –Albert Einstein
Go into any project with a clear vision of what really matters. And, use your instincts. Not everything you derive can be quantified.