How did a Russell Group university go deeper than page views to understand their website?
Having the capability to track and capture data across your website is essential to create content that
will engage your website visitors – gaining an understanding of how visitors use your website,
the actions they take and how they consume your content is fundamental.
- Where do your website visitors come from?
- Are visitors engaging with your video content?
- Or, are they more interested in your blog posts?
- Are visitors able to easily find what they’re looking for?
- And, which pages are outperforming others?
- All questions the Science and Engineering (SE) Faculty at The University of Manchester found
themselves asking too.
- But, the SE Faculty weren’t confident that they’d find the answers they were looking
for using the outdated web analytics they had in place. With inaccurate data, they were unable
to gain insight or a true understanding of how their numerous sites performed as a whole, or
how visitors were behaving on their sites.
Being a Faculty made up of nine, highly reputed and successful, schools in teaching and research –
making assumptions when analysing data just wasn’t in their nature.
What they really needed were web analytics and tracking tools that were reliable and gave them the ability
to gain robust and meaningful data, across all of their sites.
So, they enlisted the help of Net Natives to update and repurpose their current system in a way that
would offer them a better understanding of web visitor behaviour.
What did Natives Global Consulting do to help?
Lucian Glenny, Net Natives’ Lead Web Analyst was just the right man for the job. Being a Google
Analytics (GA) IQ-certified analyst and Google Tag Manager specialist, Lucian was able to work with
the SE Faculty’s Digital Marketing Manager and wider team to conduct an initial site structure
investigation. Lucian needed to devise an effective plan that would solve the Faculty’s immediate
requirements and provide deeper insight into the behaviour of web visitors, beyond just page views.
To do so, Lucian worked on updating the SE Faculty’s Google web analytic tools to improve the level
and accuracy of data the team could collect.
Of course, this was not done without rigorous testing and discussion with the SE Digital Marketing team
to determine their KPIs and marketing objectives first.
After developing and repurposing Google Analytics, the SE Digital Marketing team were able to track more
than just page views. They could look at, and report on, social and download clicks, scroll depth
(a metric to indicate if web visitors spend large amounts of time on a site because they’re
engaging with content or simply because they can’t find what they’re looking for), non-idle
time and embedded video interactions.
In addition to data collection set up through updated Google Analytics’ tools, the team’s
account was reconfigured in order to improve the quality of data. Lucian set up filters to remove
spam, inconsistencies and other invalid data from reports to ensure everything was accurate and relevant.
What are the Science and Engineering Faculty doing now?
Because the team at Net Natives were able to correctly reconfigure Google Analytics this made
reporting environments easier to navigate. Template reports have been put in place to analyse
different sections across the Faculty’s many websites, meaning the team are now able to
make comparisons across different web pages representing Schools, courses and research activity,
in a way that is easy to digest and interpret. And backed up by meaningful data.
“Thanks to the experts at Net Natives we’re now in a position to produce reports and
measurements that give powerful and holistic insights into how our different sites are performing,
helping to inform future marketing decisions across all websites within Science and Engineering
at The University of Manchester. We were so impressed with the work the team at Net Natives have
carried out that we’ve recommended them to another Faculty.”
What has the update to Google Analytics meant for the SE Digital Marketing Team?
- The Faculty now have an understanding of which web pages and content are the most popular and
useful to the user during their online journey.
- They have the ability to monitor the impact of new content added to their site, such as downloads,
articles, and embedded video.
- They’re able to analyse the behaviours of their website visitors; if users are engaging with
content, clicking through to destination sites, or showing intent to apply to a course.