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TAMU Webmaster's Blog

Information and insight from the A&M Webmasters

Data Driven Decisions Made Real

October 20th, 2017 by Erick Beck

Last month GoWeb sponsored a presentation on campus for Intermediate to Advanced Analytics.  The director of the university’s visitor center (which is part of our division) was interested in learning more about how to look at and analyze the site’s traffic, so attended the session.  After getting back to the office the next day she came back even more interested in being able to do a deep dive into the site.  What we found demonstrates exactly why analytics are so important, and why making decisions based on the numbers is crucial.

At the presentation we talked about the importance of establishing a goal and setting up conversions within Google Analytics (GA.)  This was relatively straightforward for the visitor center – their primary goal is to have someone register for a campus visit.  So we set that up as a conversion and looked at the traffic funnel that drove people to that registration.

Coincidentally we had just redesigned the entire Visitors section of the university website a few weeks before.  It had been carefully done, the content rewritten, design thought out, and vetted by everyone up to the vice president level.

The numbers were shocking.  Registrations to individual visits were down by 35%, and registrations to group visits were down by almost 80%.  The date of the change was obvious by looking at the sessions per day graph.  Also coincidentally, our vice president had recently discussed the idea of assigning a monetary value to a campus visitor, which makes the change in site traffic hit home even more.

In retrospect, the causes for this decline were obvious.  Rather than the new design making it easier for the user to accomplish their goal, it actually created several new barriers that did not exist before.  It was a great example of including what the project sponsor wanted it to include, without taking into account what the end user wants to experience.

After talking about these issues we quickly pulled in the visitor center team, web team, and design team to discuss a solution. As a quick fix, the call to action buttons were places more prominently on the page. A followup project will bring the design and development team back together to create a more streamlined solution.


Friday, October 20th, 2017 Analytics
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