Benefits for Knowing Your Future Students
The more you know about your prospects, the easier it will be to come up with marketing ideas and strategies that are beneficial to both you and your future students. Utilizing the different resources available to you will help you find information to effectively reach and engage with them and their parents. Knowing their age, gender, interests, and location can help you target them with better efficiency, craft messaging and imagery with more precision. You can also position your offerings to emphasize aspects of your course and programs that meet them where they are.
The first step to knowing your prospective student audience is to identify your enrollment goals. What exactly are you trying to achieve? The second step is to identify the different categories of people who interact with you, what these groups value, and how they evaluate schools in general. The third and final step to finding your prospective student audience is to determine which actions you can take at each point in the prospective student journey to influence their enrollment behavior.
Higher Education Expert Sources for Identifying Your Prospective Students
» Website Analytics
» Social Media Traffic
» Customer Surveys
» Prospect Lead Forms
» Internal Enrollment Data
In this post, I wanted to share ways to identify your prospective student audience through website analytics. In additional blogs we will explore the other sources and tactics for learning more information about your future students. Google Analytics 4 will permanently replace Google’s Universal Analytics on July 2023, so I wanted to share the new process for identifying your student demographics on this platform. The GA4 dashboard can still be an extremely useful tool for school in identifying their student audience. The Demographics Report can show visitor information and help identify where the majority of your traffic is coming from.
After installing Google Analytics 4 events and information start to get collected. Demographic information on your visitors include their country, city, language, average age, interests, and gender. This information can be found by going to Reports > Demographics.
The default view is set to preview country, city, and language. There are a couple more steps to configure other available demographics.
Where Does this Data Come From?
The information on language is identified by the user’s browser settings. The visitors location is identified by their IP address. Age, interests, and gender can be uncovered from the visitors’ Google Accounts, if they have enabled Ad Personalization within their Google Accounts. To uncover this additional data will need to enable Google Signals. There is a warning that Thresholding will be applied that hide rows with small numbers within reporting.
Enabling demographic reports you will go to the Admin of your GA4 property > Data Settings > Data Collection and click to Get Started. You will toggle the Google Signals data collection on and confirm activation. After you have adjusted this setting, your account will start collecting demographic data about your website visitors that will be located under Reports > Demographics (Fedorovicius, 2022).
Audience vs. Segments in GA4
Within Google Analytics 4 you can create and compare segments of your audience under Admin > Audiences. These audiences can be created by specific dimensions, metrics, and/or events. You will need to create the audience before the data starts to get collected; they unfortunately are not retroactive. You can set up triggers to add or remove users from specific audiences and tie the account to Google Ads. Once your audiences are set up you can do comparisons under reporting. You can create a custom audiences or choose from suggested audiences. You can choose the Templates tab under Suggested Audiences to quickly ad predefined dimensions such as age, gender, language, interests, or location. Google has a Predictive type of suggested audience as well, but requires at least 1,000 users to implement (Fedorovicius, 2022).
Segments are different from audiences in GA4. Standard reports can use audience sets to make comparisons. Audiences cannot currently be used as conditions in segments. Segments are retroactive. Audiences can be integrate into Google Ads and you can target them with ads. Only 100 audiences can be created for each GA4 property (Fedorovicius, 2022). Segments are for analyzing and audiences are mainly built for retargeting or making quick comparisons in standard reports.
What Can I Do With This Information?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding your marketing audience. Each business, each industry, and each product will have different insights and approaches. The resource above can point you in the right direction. Browse through the data, implement a few strategies, and find out what works best for your company.
There are many ways to discover your marketing audience. As the digital world continues to grow and integrate into our daily lives, leveraging opportunities to discover our customers will become more necessary for remaining relevant, humanizing our brand, and optimizing our return on investment.
ReferencesAzevedo, I. D. (2022). Rush hour on 5th avenue in Manhattan [Illustration]. 123rf.com. https://www.123rf.com/profile_isaxar
Fedorovicius, J. (2022, October 12). Demographics reports in Google Analytics 4. Analytics Mania. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.analyticsmania.com/post/demographics-reports-in-google-analytics-4/
Fedorovicius, J. (2022, December 8). Google analytics 4 audiences (GA4 audiences) – how to use them? Analytics Mania. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.analyticsmania.com/post/google-analytics-4-audiences/
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