A Guide to Google Analytics for Private Schools

A Guide to Google Analytics for Private Schools

October 3, 2022
(Reading time: 5 - 10 minutes)

Web analytics is important to grow your private Christian school’s website. Armed with this visitor data, you can determine what prospective parents and students are doing on your website.

There are numerous web analytic tools available for gathering data on your website visitors. The most popular and free version that you can use is Google Analytics. As a private school, you might have heard about or already be using Google Analytics. Today, millions of schools, non-profits, churches, and businesses use Google Analytics. If you are one of them, it is necessary to know how you can maximize this tool.

Google Analytics allows you to understand and track your prospective parents’ and students’ user experience, their consumption of your online content, their device functionality, and much more. Google Analytics provides you and your private school with the information needed to help you shape the success strategy by discovering things you probably never knew about visitors on your site.

Now before we get into the setup of Google Analytics, let’s first look at six reasons why you should have it on your school’s website:

6 Reasons Your School Website Should Have Google Analytics

1. It’s Free

Lucky for us and you, Google Analytics defies the adage “nothing in life is free.” Google has always offered Google Analytics for free, and I don’t foresee them changing that.

2. Automatically Collects Data

Google Analytics automates your work, saving you time from entering data into documents or spreadsheets.

3. Customized Reports

You can select from various Google report templates in Google Analytics or create your own customized one. You can choose the dimensions and metrics to display and how they should be displayed.

4. Integration With Other Tools and Platforms

Google Analytics integrates with Google Ads and Google Search Console, which together provides you with the private school marketer actionable insights to help with the success of your Google Ad Campaign and content marketing.

5. Knowing Your Audience’s Age, Gender, Interest, Device, and Location

With Google Analytics, you can unearth valuable data about prospective parents and students to determine which channels attract and drive the most traffic to your website.

The Audience section of Google Analytics provides a lot of information about the people who visit your website, like their location, devices, gender, age, and interests if enabled.

It also gives you data on how the visitors were driven to your website.

6. Influence Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content is king, and if it is crafted and designed effectively, it will help you gain a lot more traffic and potential visitors and improve your ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Many private schools create blogs, landing pages, geographical landing pages, FAQ pages, and infographics. Therefore it is essential for the user experience that your content is relevant and easy to understand.

Google Analytics helps you track all the content that receives views and shares. With this data, you can enhance the top viewed blogs to appeal to more parents and prospective students.

Google Analytics generates a breakdown of the page views each of your blog posts receives.

You can rework the top-performing blogs to generate more traffic.

What Google Analytics Metrics Matters Most for Private School Marketers

Private school marketers must first understand how to select the right marketing metrics. Here are some of the key metrics of Google Analytics that have proven to be the most useful to others like yourself.

1. Traffic Channels

One of the most insightful aspects of digital marketing is the ability to understand precisely how parents and students are finding you. This critical element of Google Analytics allows you to determine which marketing efforts are working and what needs to be tweaked or revised. It also allows you to hone in on the performance of your different marketing channels to evaluate your search engine optimization (SEO), social media, pay-per-click ads (PPC), and email marketing. Here are the different channels that matter most to private school marketers that you can review in your Google Analytics account.

Direct Channel

The Direct Channel means that the source exactly matches direct and/or the medium exactly matches. In other words, it means that the site visitors have navigated directly to your site by taking the following actions:

  • Entering the domain name into the URL bar
  • Using a bookmark
  • Clicking on a link in a mobile messaging app
  • Clicking a link in an email that isn’t tagged using tracking parameters

Organic Search Channel

According to the definition by Google, the organic search channel means that the “medium exactly matches organic.” Essentially this means that the visitor(s) came from organic (unpaid) search results. Month after month and yearly increases in organic traffic indicate a solid SEO strategy. The outcomes of this report are generated by organic traffic sources such as Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.

Social Channel

These are visits from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.

Email Channel

The email channel refers to traffic from tagged links that have been clicked in your email messages. These may have been a direct email to the prospect or an email newsletter. Using Google URL builder, you can add a tracking link to the URLs in your emails. Tagging your links will allow you to further segment this traffic per campaign. This way, you can see which email campaigns are the most successful over time.

Referral Channel

This metric excludes traffic from major search engines and is based on users clicking a link from another site.

Paid Search Channel

The paid search channel refers to traffic from your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns such as Google Ads.

Other Traffic Channel

Google describes “other traffic” as traffic from sources other than search and display, such as pay-per-view video advertising (YouTube ads). Undefined traffic will occasionally appear in this report, which Google Analytics will eventually filter out to the appropriate channel.

Display Channel

The display channel shows traffic from display advertising, such as Google Ads Display Network or remarketing campaigns.

2. Site Content

There are four particularly informative sub-sections to investigate under Google Analytics’ site content area.

All Pages

All Pages displays a list of all the pages on your site that have been viewed within a specified time frame. If any of your pages are missing here, they were either not viewed during the time period you provided, or the tracking code isn’t properly installed on your website or running on the page.

The data can be broken down into the following:

  • Pageviews will show you how often the page was viewed during a specified time frame. The reason being a user may visit numerous pages in a single session.
  • Unique Pageviews is the metric that shows how many unique sessions there are for a given page.
  • Average Time on Page is a measure of the average time spent on the page during the time frame you have specified.
  • Entrances is a calculation of how often a page was the entrance or first page seen on the website. In other words, it means the first page that the user viewed.
  • % Exit measures the percentage of Pageviews that were the final or exit page before a visitor left your website.

Content Drilldown

Content Drilldown provides the same data as the All Pages report (including the user metrics stated above) but in subfolders.

This area will show you how well your site is organized and how well visitors engage with your content while browsing your site. You can tell whether this is a page or a subdirectory by looking at the folder images next to the page path. The homepage (/) is the main folder, as shown in the example below, with the icons underneath denoting subfolders of the homepage. By clicking on the links, you will be sent to a complete breakdown of the respective pages within your chosen folder.

This analysis is especially valuable for identifying underperforming or low-value content that may be enticing to visitors but that you are unaware of.

Example of the Content Drilldown Report

This is an image from the Content Drilldown report.

Landing Pages

Landing pages are currently the only pages in the reports that show your conversion rate. This is because several pages can be viewed in a single visit before a conversion occurs, but a visitor will only land on one page. As a result, if someone landed on your Admissions page before traveling through your Admissions sub-pages and achieving a conversion, the Admissions page will be considered the page that created the drill down.

Exit Pages

Exit pages are the last pages seen during a session or visit. Contact pages typically rank high in this list, which is where you want the “visitor journey” to end.

Monitoring this data is critical for determining which pages could benefit from enhancement to keep users on your website and drive them to the contact page or another conversion. When contemplating your school’s digital marketing strategy, this will always be a very valuable analysis. Keep an eye out for pages towards the top of the list that may display an error message such as “404 Page Not Found.” These are quick solutions to improve the user journey and overall website performance.

3. Audience

Keep in mind the demographics of your target audience or buyer persona, as these are essential for focusing your marketing efforts.

The audience tab in Google Analytics allows you to dive deep into your site’s user data, gaining a better knowledge of the types of people who are engaging with your content, filling out forms, and inquiring about your school.

The audience tab provides a high-level summary that can assist you in developing an understanding of your users’ behavior. This will provide you with critical information that you can utilize to develop a hypothesis for your search engine optimization and content marketing plans. Then you may begin to delve further, mining the various reports for more audience insight.

The audience tab will guide you in answering questions like, “Do bounce rates differ dramatically between desktop and mobile visits?”

If your mobile bounce rate is substantially greater than your desktop bounce rate, although having a similar visit count for both, you might consider altering the mobile experience for users. In other words, consider which segments have the highest Goal Conversion Rates (i.e., Inquiries).

Are women between 30 and 45 making the most inquiries about your Christian Private School? If so, then this type of data can be used to help you target your audience more effectively.

When you better understand the demographic and device segments with a high conversion rate on your site, you can target that specific audience with Google, Bing, or social media advertising campaigns.

Here’s an example of data segmentation, here I have added the age dimension and sorted the list by users.

Example of the Audience Data Segmentation Report

Final Thoughts

Measuring and analyzing the data gathered is the key to optimizing your private school’s digital marketing plan. Using Google Analytics can help you understand who is visiting your website and how you can make data-driven enhancements to your digital marketing approach, rather than guessing.

At Cube Creative Design, we automatically install and configure Google Analytics on every site we work on.

If you are a private school wondering if Google Analytics is installed on your site, reach out to us. We would be happy to take a look and even help you get it installed if it’s not already there.

Additional Info

  • Editors Note:

    This post covers much of Google Analytics 3. Whereas Google Analytics 4 is out, Google continues to make changes and updates. This post will be updated as more information comes about.

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  October 3, 2022

Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design and specializes in private school marketing. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina and across the United States. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.

See Adam Bennett's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/adam-bennett