2016 Digital Marketing Report
Data from March-August 2016
This graph includes ecampus.uaf.edu’s organic and direct traffic, comparing summer 2015 to summer 2016. Organic traffic is typically users who land on our site from a browser search (Google, Yahoo, Bing). Direct traffic is related because it includes users who have bookmarked/favorited our site or they typed the url into their browser. Oftentimes organic traffic becomes direct traffic.
To increase our organic traffic, we have partnered with Fathom who is helping us optimize the site. This includes researching keywords, making sure our content matches the searches, coming up with new content ideas to increase our rankings, among other tactics.
Organic traffic was expected to decline when the website redesign was launched on May 10 because we significantly reduced the number of pages to make it more user-friendly. We anticipate that our tactics will result in growth moving forward, even though our investment in this tactic will end in December 2016.
FORM SUBMISSIONS ON WEBSITE
We added contact forms on the homepage, contact page and every degree page (graduate, bachelor and associate levels). A total of 74 prospective students submitted forms between May 10 and August 28, 2016. The following percentages are of the total 74.
Applied – 19
Admitted – 18
Started eCampus-Supported Programs – 10
Started On-Campus Programs – 1
Enrolled in eCampus-Supported Courses (outside of a program) – 7
Enrolled in On-Campus Courses (outside of a program) – 2
WHERE ARE THEY?
We tracked 20 students who submitted a form on our website and became a student this fall (27% of those who submitted forms). They reside in 10 communities across Alaska.
REAL FORM SUBMISSIONS
I would like to make an appointment with an advisor to discuss enrolling in either a 2- or 4-year degree on-line program. I am a Alaska Performance Scholar and have questions about applying this scholarship and other general questions.
– Bachelor of Business Administration Form, July 22, 2016
Hi, Im interested in attending UAF but doing it online. My husband is in the Air Force and we are PCSing next July in 2017. I’m just curious if I can earn my associates online through UAF out of state? Or possibly overseas?
– Associate of Arts Form, Aug. 28, 2016
PEOPLE CLICKED ON THE ADS
The average Clickthrough Rate in the Education industry is 2.2%.
Our average Clickthrough Rate for this pilot was 4.5%.
PEOPLE SUBMITTED THE FORM
The average Conversion Rate in the Education industry is 4.1%. For us, a conversion is counted as a form submission. Our average Conversion Rate for this pilot was 2.1%. To improve that number we designed a new landing page. On the left, you’ll see what ran during our pilot. The page on the right was implemented in September. We anticipate UAF will soon be in line with industry standards.
REAL FORM SUBMISSION
I am a resident of Fairbanks, Alaska. I finished my first year at Liberty Univeristy this last year but it’s very expensive. I’m wanting to gather information about an online business degree with a minor in sports management. I want to know how much it costs to be an online student and if I get in-state tuition. I look forward to speaking with you!! Thanks and have a blessed day!
– June 25, 2016
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
For every $100 spent UAF has already received $72 back (in fall 2016 tuition and fees).
We expect UAF to make a profit from this pilot group in spring 2017.
For every $100 spent we project UAF will receive $488 from students who started degree programs.
This is calculated based on the estimated program costs for the programs they were admitted to in fall 2016.
WHAT COMPETITORS ARE SPENDING
These data points are estimates of what our peer institutions have spent on pay-per-click ads (see our Google Ads section). The numbers indicate how much more or less they spent compared to our monthly budget during the pilot.
- Montana State University: 0.5x
- University of Maine: about the same
- University of Montana: about the same
- Utah State University: 4x
- New Mexico State University: 15x
- University of Nevada, Reno: 19.5x
- Oregon State University: 37.5x
- Idaho State University, North Dakota State University, University of Idaho and University of Wyoming have allocated budget to pay-per-click ads in the past, but have not done so significantly within the last year.
- Our current budget allows us to continue our partnership with Fathom until January to build on the above strategies for Spring 2017 recruitment.
- Pages for online certificates and occupational endorsements will go live on ecampus.uaf.edu, with contact forms.
- A field for Student ID will be added to the Homepage and Contact Page forms to better differentiate current-student questions from prospective-student inquiries.
- A communication plan that supplements our one-on-one interactions with prospective students will be implemented.
- Our website launched an improved live chat feature and we will incorporate those connections into our strategy and data collection.
WHAT WE LEARNED
- Setting up the workflow and infrastructure of this project from scratch with limited resources (personnel and budget) was challenging and included growing pains. The coming months are expected to have stronger results.
- Funding and managing degree-specific campaigns was not effective with our budget.
- Facebook ads were not as lucrative as Google and were discontinued.
Note: Typos in original form submissions were cleaned up for readability.