Is Anyone Out There? Using Google Analytics to Understand Your Website Visitors

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The Center for Distance Education (CDE) at Mississippi State University uses Google Analytics to track all website visitors and evaluate our marketing efforts.   This session will take a look at Google Analytics, a free tool, metrics and data to highlight the most useful tools to better understand your website visitors.   Using this data will allow you to better use your marketing dollars and provide more resources for program recruiters.   


I am a recent hire at Mississippi State's Center for Distance Education, where I work as an Instructional Resource Consultant. My previous work has included working at MSU's QEP, Writing Center, and in the English Department.

Additional Authors

Tracy Craven has sixteen year of experience in higher education. She has been the Instructional Technology Manager at the Center for Distance Education at Mississippi State University for the last five years and she has experience in all facets of online education. Her unit maintains the web presence for most online education programs at MSU, provides student technical support for the university LMS, assist in the recruitment and data management of prospective students, as well as provides faculty support and assistance for online programs. Tracy completed the IELOL program administered by the Online Learning Consortium in 2015.

Extended Abstract

University budgets are getting tighter each day as we try to do more with shrinking budgets.  This is why it is so important to track your marketing efforts for distance and online programs.  This session will look at Google Analytics, a free tool for evaluating your website, and how we use google analytics at the Center for Distance Education (CDE) at Mississippi State University to track our success.  Starting with the basics of how Google Analytics works, we will take a dive into the helpful metrics available that you can use immediately after the conference.  Google analytics is broken into four main categories.  In the Audience metrics, we will review geographic data, technology, behaviors, and more to show how you can gain a better understand of your website visitors.  Acquisitions will allow you to build campaigns and determine how visitors are finding your website.   This is especially important for any marketing campaigns in which you are using important budget monies.   We will talk in depth about how CDE track our marketing campaigns within acquisitions to determine successful marketing campaigns.  We will review key metrics to help you make better and more informed decisions.  Next, we will take a review of Google Analytics Behavior metrics.  These metrics allow us the ability to see how our user are exploring our website.  Site content, site speed, and events are a few of the metrics available.  Lastly, we will take a look at the Conversions section of Google Analytics.  Setting goals for your web presence and using these tools for better evaluation.   Throughout each section we will discuss how CDE has used each of these metrics to evaluated and make business decisions at MSU.