14: Advanced Digital Measurement Tools at Wayne State University w/ Nick DeNardis

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Nick DeNardis, Director of Digital Communications at Wayne State University discusses the must-have tools for your higher ed measurement tookit.

Attracting today's new post,traditional learners, means adopting new enrolmant strategies: Keelicseducations data driven enterprise, wide approach to enrolment growth isuniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation, landscape and Helox has just published the second edition of theirenrollment growth playbook, with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing enromant growth challengesdownload it today for free at Heloks, Educationcom, playbook, you're, listening to enrolment growth,university from heliks education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and romant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anroman growth,university, Imariclson, AVP of marketing at heelits education andwe're here today with Nickton artists, director of digital communications atWayne, State University, nick thanks so much for joining us today. Oh noproblem, thanks for having me absolutely nick, is someone who wasincredibly gracious to me with his time. As I made the move from the AdagencyWorld Tho highered seven years ago. He continues to be incredibly gracious andgenerous with his fout leadership to myself an the entire higher community.He and his team are also doing really advanced things at way in state when itcomes to digital measurements and strategy. But before we get too deepinto that neck, can you get the listeners a little bit betterunderstanding of both waynestate and your role there yeah, so Wayne State isa Public Urban Research University and Detroit and my role, I oversee most,all of the public bacing websites on campus, and that also includes digitalsignage round campus social media and the like Acem email templates and a bit ofthe campaigns and tracking email communication to prospects andinternally, and my background is...

...primarily in computer science andInformation Science, and so I've been doing this for quite a while here onthe web and enjoying every step of the way, especially in Higer, ed awesome.Awesome. A lot has changed in the last few years, in particular with marketingmeasurement models and tools becoming more sophisticated and more integratedinto our paid media channels. What are the biggest advancements in digitalmeasurement that you're currently leveraging at Wednesday? So you knowsomething that I've seen a trend. Oh you know over and over is just kind ofmore and more data. All of I guess it's just kind of almost like grown tenfoldsince I started you know and in ag, probably in thepast five years, it's actually grown exponentially just because of the toolsthemselves are able to get more fine grained with the interactions and sowe're trying to use as much of that data through different tools that are sustainable, not just every new tool.That's out there, because every other week there's a new tool that comes outthere. We do test a whole bunch, you know, and but sometimes we find thatthis. Yes, it does a little bit differently, but does is it going towork for us or how can we combine things HAC? Can we actually make it souseful and when we find those tools that are really useful, we stick tothem and we try to just kind of know that theur process right now, isn't youknow the best, but guess what tomorrow will make it a little bit better and alittle bit better and just kind of learn more and more each day and beforeyou know it, we will have. You know we, you know grown a Suet of tools andprocesses, and you know Allis around campus that we can work with to reallyimprove things over time. So with all these new tools coming out, what arethe ones that have stuck? Can you talk to me a little bit about what is landedin your you know, must have measurement Tokit at Wayne, states and h, n andthen maybe recommend you know one specific tool that everyone should havein their arsenal all right, it's so one that hasn't changed really is beenGoogle amalytics. It continues to be free, which I'm completely amazed forabout. Unless you, you know, get past...

...that, like ten million visitor mark andor you wanted, you do want to pay for the whole, like thee, sixty sweet, butthey offer so much sill for free and for a long time that they were everyother week. Just yes, it was annoying to change their interface a bit, but Ifelt like they were increasing the abilities within that interface overthat time. So Google analytics is really like our mainstay and it'salways been in our tool belt same thing with well. wetmaster tools is evolved,a tiny bit I feel like it, went through redesign and then they like pulled thatback or something, but it seeing how our sites are performing and searchresults. That is, you know, by far Crucialta our decisions when we lookfor how we're warding things online, what are people finding? What aren'tthey finding and where we should be focusing our energy and then two of thenewer products in our tool belt that I'm somi more excited about is googlesrelease of optimize, so a google optimize allows. You know somebody toWHO's on, say non technical, but it doesn't require the orchestration thatused to have to happen when you wanted to run an AB test, or you know ormultibariant test. You know there used to be a lot of nuts and both that youhad to have in place in order to make it all work and Google optimize does alot of that heavy lifting and it really leverages Google analytics s goals, andyou know I want to say the more advanced like CSS and jabascriptabilities. That pages have now to really just dynamically replace thingson a page and it I feel like it does a whole lot of the heavy lifting tocreate tests, and we found it being supervaluable. The last tool that thatwe've added to our tool belt tha CIM excited about is hot jar. We used touse a number of different tools that accomplish the same thing that hotjardoes hatar allows for Keapmapping of individual pages or a suite of pages D,or based on like triggers that you know,...

...if you want, if you know that somebodyis a certain nuwser type, then you can only re. You know, you know record theyou know where they click and things like that. It also includes the userjourneys, like recordings of it basically recreates their session,based on screen size where they click, where they scroll everything like that,and so you can replay those and basically do it. You know duseabilitytest with somebody at their. You know their regular location, doing theregular tasks and things like that that we've gotten surprising results out ofit also does kind of like funnel management, and you can, you know, have a littlerequest for information forms. Indo questions that pop up on the page isbased on different things, so we've gravitated we actually got rid of twoor three tools and went just a hot jar because it packed them all into onetool set, which was great. I love it. I love it and speaking of Google optimize,you talked about how intentionally Google made it so that it can beextraordinarily user friendly. I guess has that led to any shifts in terms ofconversion governance on your team, in terms of, are you empowering morepeople to play and report their findings, and maybe what is the singlebiggest surprise? You've stumbled across so far that you guys have testedfor that. You might not have learned of not for testing yeah. It totally hasexpanded it for from. Basically you know our marketing manager, myselfsaying: Oh, we should test this and then getting it on a developers plateand getting it all set up to now. You know we're probably running double ortriple the amount of tests, and it's not just me or marketing manager. Youknow our PR director and our webconts and administrators are also free to youknow start tests whenever they choose as long as you know. Of course theytell us about it, because we don't want to see something crazy shift around,but yes, it allowd. If freed up the developer time to worry about otherthings and all empowered more uses around our department to test thingsout and to really look from, you know...

...their assumptions based on data thatthey found through some of these other tools and and really put it to the test.And so you know something we're testing right now, which is may feel like itmay not be obvious, is so we have on our on our home page or o a lot of oursites like an area for news and area for events and an area for spotlightsand historically, we've always put a heading on top of that which kind ofcalled out like news events, bat life, but we wante to see you know. Is thisjust noise on the screen like Consum, like the visual look of the newslisting and the event listing and the spotlight are totally different. Like?Can somebody just infer that this is news and then fur that these are eventswithout having that heading there? And so that's actually a test that we'rerunning right now and it's it's only been maybe a week and a half, so it'snot complete yet, but it's surprising to see how equal the results kind ofcome out has come out so far that there is really no difference with it thereor without there. I know that isn't a fully conclusive result yet, but it wasjust surprising we thought that would have been having the titles. Therewould have definitely yielded more interaction, but I think our biggestsurprise of something that we definitely have learned in the past isless usually gets more clicks right. So that may not be the initial motivethinking everyone wants to have every link to everyone of their programs,onhomea right and like even like a school in College. Maybe they have fourdifferent programs, but each program has some sort of specialization or youknow, multiple specialization, so they want. You know all four programs,plet's say two or three specializations all listed out on the home page to getsomeone directly to where you know right to where their interest lies andwhat we found is when we test just the programs and the programs plusspecializations. Usually this pattern as reemerged, but in most cases withless links so getting just the programs...

...out there. It would yield more clicksoverall and a higher overall conversion right when it comes down to all the wayto yielding to like requesting information or scheduling a tour takingsome sort of like next step action. So that's been our biggest surprisis. Lesslinks actually get more clicks than packing a page with every possibleoption. That's awesome, and I love that this is not doesn't become aphilosophical fight between folks O, your campus, you just test it and andthe best design proves itself. You mentioned hot jar and I think there'ssome misconceptions behind what you do with user recordings. The idea of Ohokay in the aggregate, I can kind of see heat mapping wise where people areviewing, but I also have these recordings of students and their actualscrol throughs. How do you? How do you utilize, both and both together toactually learn about and inform your decisions about Ux? So it's reallyeyeopening when, because we we is in web professionals right, be youprobably most of the people listening to this use the web in a certain way,and we don't even realize that we use the web in a certain way and really, atthe end of the day, no one, there's no class on how to use a website like inschool or anything like that. Everyone just kind of like figures it out andwhat surprises us the most about the heat maps and we sit down with a unitaround campus, and you know we. We know a lot of you know what goes on inaggregate across campus and patterns and things like that. But every unitaround campus has a different audience and they use their sites differently.And so we learn stuff every single time which may not be a hundred percent, aparent about where people click on certain things and and when they don'tclick on things. And what feels obvious and what's not obvious from like aterminology standpoint and so for us. We look at what can we discover fromthis heatmap that we can test or that...

...breaks? Maybe one of our assumptions orconfirms one of our assumptions and then from there that that has yielded amost? All of our abtests has been some piece of information from a heatmap andthen, when we the biggest thing that we use userrecordings with, we still we view them usually with the client client. Theunit around campus. We, I say client because were actually set up like aninternal agency, and so any area of campus is technically like our client,and so we have a relationship where we're doing you know. We are building aprocess around how somebody, as a student, interacts with multipledepartments around campus, because obviously a perspective students goingto go to admissions and then financially scholarships housing and sowe're going to want to make sure that we have some repeatable patterns thatthey're used to uncomfortable with at feels like the university. Well, at thesame time when we get down to like the registrouse office, or something likethat, like somebody, maybe going there for something really specific, and wethink we know, but we don't really know, and so those are when we just kind ofwill sit down with a unit around campus and just watch recordings as if it waslike. You know, a TV show and just play one after another and after anotherthin and it's amazing by the time we get to you, know five or ten of them.We start to develop matterns that that Welen oform, the architecture of a siteand the placement of elements within pages, whether they be navigationelements or on onscreen elements. All of the time are you know, and sofor me, that's the real power of Hotar, an those recordings and those heat mapsis really getting into the user shoes in their their natural environment andthen getting into the the unit shoes to really confirm or our question what ourassumptions are. I love it and I really love that one two punch idea ofutilizing the heat maps to...

...inform and suggest abtest for for UNIORteam to test. That's awesome. Let's talk about reporting. Google analytics,for instance, makes it extraordinarily easy to add individuals to automatedlists and be email weekly reports that they never ever read talk about whatyou've done at waynstate to get people to not only care about reporting but beinterested and pay attention to what's happening. So we, you know we do thestandard. You know monthly reports as far as like traffic entrance sourceslike then the key takeaways from there, but what we found actually is that thegoal like alert triggers do get attention because most of I hotsy mostof the people, but there are a lot of people who have access analytics. Thet.All that data is availablet their fingertips. They just have you know tenother jobs to do, and this is the last thing on their mind and you would belike al. You said that you know, email itself is, can get ignored and stufflike that, when it's tied to one of the goals that they are, you know chargedwith as far as bringing in more prospects or campus tours or or gettingsomebody to read more like more than one article right so like if we have anews release or a news article or some sort of timely news content that the PRteam has put a lot of time and effort into one of the things that theirgoalsers is to get somebody to stay on the site more than what they would. Youknow more than thirty seconds or a minute and then get them to read atleast one like a second article right, so its a first time visitor that readstwo articles, that is, you know their their goal and when they get an alertand their email, when week over week, say so. For us it's one of the best, Iguess ways for people to pay attention is, if you set up a alert trigger forif one of their goals week over week goes plus ton percent or Nani tenpercent, so we found that that gets someone to payattention plus tene percent. You know...

...they're excited and they you know,theyl send that off to their team. I, when it gets, goes down. Ten percentthey're like Oh, what's going on here and can get them. You know in a mode oflike what what happened laast week, what what happened this week? What likewhat could be the reason for this, because that Bariance, I think, that'ssomething that they pay attention to e, especially since it's a goal that theyhave some vested interest and control over and so for us that's been the bestway to keep people on their toes and paying attention to it. In top of mindwithout having to like you know, have a dashboard of a you know, ten differentgoals on one large screen in the middle of the you know the our office. Youknow it. That is great, but it s it ends up becoming. You know, people ocome blind, do it because the numbers don't hoestly, don't mean anything, butafter a while they look so similar. It's hard to tell are we doing good?Are we not doing good and justsilling it down to a metric that that that you,individual user, can control, I think, is the best way that we found them topay attention to it's a really good approach. I love that idea of you're,not sending reports you're, sending answers to questions that theyspecifically have and they're specifically charged with answering. Ilove that nick any next steps for listeners who might not exactly be surewhere to start in terms of prioritizing this kind of enhanced digitalmeasurement strategy at their institution. You know something thathelped us out a lot as if there is, if you are the individual or if there isan individual that you know on campus, is starttalking to them more and if you're, that individual start talking to othersmore, especially about the data that o have that they may not have access to,but they might be interested in it might take up. It might take a bitright it not everybody loves. You know, dreams and data right, but if you'reable to at least show that you have this data, you and you want you'rewilling to share it and you're able to you know if they want give them accessto it, and it may be uncomfortable at...

...first, because some people, you know,might be more access than they have historically gotten to see insightsinto, maybe more than beyond, just their website right. That is like thefirst step, because that provides then at a comfortability for them and you tohave an open dialogue around what is important. What should we be ttracking?What what don't we have access to at this point right and so, no matter whatarea you're in you know we althoughwe're in the marketingdepartment. We work really closely with our enrollment group and based on therealities at your institution, or you know whatever organization you're at itmay be that they don't track certain information or they do, but it's justnot accessible to other people or in in really kind of slowly cracking intopulling that data together and not bringing down any walls of people froma defensive standpoint. Th t you know that have historically been well. Thisis my perview in my you know my data and I don't want to to give it upbecause it they might be afraid that it may not be not showing you know theirunitor their area and the best light. But the only way to really improve thatis to you know, have the reality of okay, we're getting this many people tothe this page, and this many people are converting, but then we're. What can weget next and making sure that they feel comfortable sharing their data by you?First, putting any data that you have out there and not judging theindividual for any data that they put out there and I think just bridgingthose relationships across campus or your organization for us has definitelyhelped. I know that we have way more people than than I know and ouranalytic setup, but you know what it has really helped them feel comfortablewhen we start talking to them about great designs and and their bestinterest in their sites. Users, and things like that that we're not justlike pulling it out of the sky like we're really looking at. As data fromyou know, an objective perspective, and- and I think that that that's a greatfirst step and then you know, hopefully...

...your it area, if it's not available toyou, where you're at is open to adding you know, potentially some additionalscripts to pages and if they're not. I would try to move towards like a Googletag manager where they can put one script on their site and then, like youcan do you know the the underlying work to add any additional ones, and thingslike that. To your pages, because a lot of these toels you want to experimentwith and making friends with the IT group on campus or any whoever kind ofcontrols. The overall templates is important because traditionally inhighred lots of different units work on lots of different systems and they're,not you know as easy as all. Let's just change the one templet and it goesacross all the areas. It really could be different, different whole systemsand so showing that you're going to share the data with them. Potentiallyis you know a great inroad with Itbo is what we've found so much kill or advicetheir nexk such good stuff? What is the best place for listeners to connectwith you if they have any follow questions? After listening to this, Iam prety active on twitter. I will go through spurts of being on there andnot on there, and it's mainly because I have two kids, and so it's like everyday is a little bit different, and so, but I do check twitter and I'll respondand read messages. If you follow me or Youtweet at me, my user name is at Nickdinartist Awesom, thanks against so much for joining us today. Mick! Ohyeah, no problem thanks for having me you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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