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Laura MontgomeryLaura Montgomery, Director of Program Marketing – The New School, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2020 Higher Ed Analytics Conference.

In this 4-question interview, Laura tells us about higher ed analytics in 2020, a success story, a data analysis technique and what higher ed leaders really need to understand about analytics.

1) What’s next in 2020 for higher ed analytics?

This has been the next big thing for a few years already, but I forsee the importance and value of personalized digital experiences continuing to grow.

Moreover, very few institutions have yet harnessed the full potential of analytics for the sake of personalization – for example, using digital behavior markers to create audience segments and serve up content and messaging that is tailored to those specific segments. Here at The New School we’ve been able to develop some pretty sophisticated models that identify discrete segments of our prospective student target audience — and over the next 12 months we plan to do more to actually act on that information and deliver personalized content experiences.

2020 Higher Ed Analytics Conference

2) Tell us about your biggest analytics success story!

For paid advertising, there had been very inconsistent ways of measuring the performance of campaigns that ran across multiple platforms and publishers.

I was able to renovate our Google Analytics account, establish definitive “conversion” goals, and introduce UTM tagging on every digital tactic we spent money on in order to create a centralized, systematic dashboard reflecting real-time, apples-to-apples performance data.

3) What’s the data analysis technique (or trick) you’ve found the most helpful?

This is more of a tool than a technique or trick, but over the last year and a half I’ve finally been able to make more fulsome use of Google’s Data Studio.

It’s an amazing tool for pulling in marketing analytics from multiple sources (Google Analytics, Google Ads, as well as plug-ins that pull data from social media advertising accounts) and creating dashboards for various audiences. I have a complex, multi-page dashboard I use for my immediate team, but also have a number of simplified dashboards I share with leadership and other institutional stakeholders.

4) What are the top 3 points higher ed leaders should “get” about analytics?

  1. Every initiative, whether paid advertising, content publishing, or design work involves an investment of some kind – time, money, human capital, etc. Digital analytics is one of the most direct, immediate, and accurate ways to measure the returned value of any investment you make — and then make informed decisions on what to discontinue and what to expand.
  2. Analytics are also an essential way of establishing institutional benchmarks and measuring success in the longer term, like year over year. Every university is unique so it’s often challenging to find meaningful “industry benchmarks” — so it’s important to understand what your own averages and benchmarks are in order to determine whether you’re meeting or exceeding them.
  3. They’re fun! Once you start collecting digital analytics there are so many fascinating ways to slice the data to reveal different kinds of insights!

A conference focusing on higher ed analytics?

The 2020 Higher Ed Analytics Conference (#HEA20) is a must-attend event for higher ed marketing professionals and teams looking for inspiration, ideas and best practices to step up their analytics and measurement game in 2020

Read below what your higher ed colleagues who attended the past editions of the Higher Ed Analytics Conference said about their experience.

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