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Survey: Analytics ‘revolution’ slow to reach recruitment

Campus IT departments still aren’t embracing analytics for advertising, research suggests

By Dennis Carter, Assistant Editor

Only one in five schools used analytics to improve online advertising.

Campus technology leaders are using their massive reams of data to improve their schools’ websites, social media presences, and marketing strategies—but many campuses aren’t using analytics to optimize online and offline advertising.

“The 2012 State of Social Media and Web Analytics in #highered,” an annual report compiled and released by Karine Joly, a web marketing official and editor of Collegewebeditor.com, showed that colleges have bolstered their use of analytics since 2010, but there are still considerable gaps in how schools can use analytics beyond traditional areas.

Only 12 percent of campuses surveyed said they didn’t use analytics at all, down from 15 percent in 2010, according to the report, and seven in 10 schools used insights from analytics to improve their college’s website.

Still, Joly said higher education is a long way from exploring the potential of analytics in every facet of campus decision making.

“I had high hopes that we would revolutionize higher education,” Joly said. “This hasn’t been the revolution I had hoped for,” although the third annual report showed “positive trends.”

The survey response showed an uptick in colleges tracking mobile web traffic as more schools devote resources to maintaining a separate site designed for smart phones and computer tablets.

In 2011, 38 percent of campuses tracked mobile web traffic. That number jumped to 47 percent this year.

Joly said that increase is important as prospective students flock to campus mobile sites.

Fifty-two percent of prospective college students said they had viewed a school’s website on a mobile device in 2011—more than double the percentage from 2010.

Forty-eight percent of those students said the mobile site experience bettered their view of the campus, according to a survey conducted by higher-education consulting company Noel-Levitz and the National Research Center for College & University Admissions.

Six in 10 respondents to the Collegewebeditor.com survey said they spend less than two hours a week monitoring analytics, and one in four said they spend upwards of five hours a week on analytics, according to Joly’s research.

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