September Stats: The UMW Website

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Analytics Top Events September

Now that we’ve been running Event Tracking on the UMW website for more than two months, we can start to look at some of the patterns that are beginning to emerge. Granted, it’s still a relatively small sample size, and we can’t really begin to draw any major conclusions yet, but we can at least start to see what’s happening.

Baseline Information

The stats included in this article are pulled from the Analytics reports for the entire UMW website during the month of September. During that time, there were 220,350 unique visitors to the site, 540,272 total visits and 1,393,202 total page views. The home page of the site was viewed 570,005 times; 194,381 of which were “unique pageviews”.

Helpful Links

During the month of September, our users clicked on links within Helpful Links more than 77,000 times; this means that more than 5.5% of the total page views on the UMW website included clicks on items within Helpful Links.

Of those 77,000 clicks, nearly 76,000 were clicks within the Online Tools area, making up almost 98% of the clicks within the Helpful Links section. Almost 36% of those clicks — 27,233 — led to our Webmail landing page. Just over 35% — 26,824 — of those clicks led to Canvas, our learning management system. Only 17% this month — 12,903 — pointed to our internal student and employee portal/intranet. Finally, less than 5% of the clicks — 3,556 — led users to our student information system; just over 2.5% of the clicks — 2,018 — led to the system we use to allow students and their families to add money to their ID cards; and another 2.5% of the clicks — 1,929 —  led to our Library website; and less than 1% led to each of the other 5 areas linked within that section (just over 2% total for all 5 links).

Links within the Resources section were clicked only 1,694 times, making up just over 2% of the total clicks. Among those links, the Registrar’s office is the clear leader, making up almost 20% — 328 — of those clicks, with the Academic Calendar accounting for ~12% — 210 — of the clicks. Human Resources was the only other link in that section that was clicked more than 100 times (110, actually) during the month. This month, the link to the Bookstore (which is also linked in our global navigation) fell to 11th place in the resource links, making up just 2% of the total clicks in that section. Dining Services and Career Services rounded out the top 5 for that section, garnering only 81 and 78 clicks, respectively.

The Feedback link (currently the only “other” link tracked as part of Helpful Links) was clicked 121 times.

Header Links

Links within the header area of the site were clicked 8,706 times during the month of September.

Among these links, the “Careers at UMW” link (leads to our list of employment opportunities) was the most popular, with a total of 2,293 clicks. The next most popular link in that section was the Prospective Students link, with a total of 1,419 clicks. The next 2 in the list were pretty close to each other, receiving 1,180 and 1,169 clicks each; they were the Directory link and the Maps and Directions link. Contact Us was clicked 865 times, while Parents was used 680 times. People clicked to look at the Events page 638 times, while the News and Campus Advisories links were each clicked fewer than 500 times.

The Home Page

Together, all of the links exclusive to the home page were clicked a total of 5,454 times, meaning that only about 1% of the home page views resulted in someone clicking on items that are exclusive to the home page. The home page itself, though, still has a low bounce rate (only 0.53%) and an exit rate of just under 29%, meaning that, while the exclusive items on the home page may not be grabbing people’s attention, visitors aren’t simply showing up on the home page and running away.

Top Stories

Once again, the list of recent news stories ended up being the most popular among these areas. These links made up more than 70% — 2,258 — of the clicks on the home page during the month of August. Separating the traffic between internal and external visitors, it looks like external visitors clicked to view a Top Story 1,265 times. The most popular story this month, with 431 total clicks (300 external), was “U.S. News Ranks UMW Among Top Five Public Universities in the South“, which appeared on the home page for only 5 days. Two stories tied for second place, with 222 clicks each. Those were “UMW Celebrates Construction of New Campus Center” and “UMW Faculty Featured on C-SPAN This Weekend“. The first was featured on the home page for 10 days, and 152 of its clicks were from external visitors; while the latter was up there for 7 days, and only 124 of its clicks were external. The next four stories were clicked between 100 and 200 times each; while the rest of the stories featured on the home page during September were all clicked fewer than 100 times.

The Slideshow

The next most popular area on the home page was the featured slideshow at the top, coming in just below the Top Stories section with a total of 2,246 clicks. This month, the bottom end of the slide position counts were a little more jumbled than they were last month. The positions actually stack, in order of popularity, as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 8, 7, 9.

Those slide positions were clicked the following numbers of times:

  1. 693
  2. 377
  3. 267
  4. 197
  5. 154
  6. 140
  7. 97
  8. 111
  9. 83
  10. 121

Observations based on these figures:

  • Still, more than 10% of the clicks in the slideshow were on the slide showing up in the third position
  • All but positions 7 and 9 made up 5% (granted, you have to round up when figuring that for position 8, but it’s still pretty darn close to 5%) or more of the clicks within the slideshow.
  • Every single position within the slideshow was clicked at least 75 times during the month of September

Looking at the slide contents coupled with the slide positions, the numbers don’t offer many more surprises for the month of August. The top-clicked slide, “Navigating the Past” (clicked a total of 424 times – 276 of which were reportedly from outside of our campus network) was at the top of the heap in position #1 but shows up in fifth place when in position #2 and ninth place when in position #3. The second-place slide was “A Focus on Goals” (clicked a total of 327 times – 209 of which were external visitors), and came in second while in position #1, fourth while in position #2 and eighth while in position #3. Oddly, that second place slide seemed to do better in positions #2 and #3 than the top-clicked slide.

After that, once again, things get a tiny bit interesting. The third and fourth most popular slides, “Beaming Brightly” and “Mindful Lessons” actually switch places when you associate the slide positions with them. “Beaming Brightly” received a total of 238 clicks, while “Mindful Lessons” was clicked 233 times. However, when each slide was in position #1, “Mindful Lessons” was clicked 85 times (showing up third in that associative list), while “Beaming Brightly” was only clicked 67 times (showing up in sixth on that list). Also a little strange is the fact that “Beaming Brightly” was slightly more popular in positions #3-6 (29, 25, 22 and 22 clicks, respectively) than it was in position #2 (only 20 clicks).

Because I’m so late posting this summary, I don’t have any snapshots of the slides mentioned that I can share. Hopefully I’ll get the wrap-up done earlier next month so I can actually include some snapshots.

Other Home Page Links

We still have many of the same “calls to action” that appear in the various other areas of the home page that we had last month. Once again, “Watch the Great Minds Video” was the most popular outside of the slideshow and Top Stories. That link was clicked 184 times during the month, 178 of which were reportedly from outside the campus network.

Our “Virtual Tour” flag was clicked 144 times, 102 of which were by external visitors, while “Apply to UMW” was clicked 140 times, 109 of which were external, and “UMW in the News” was clicked 106 times, 89 of which were external. Among our external visitors, “Open House” was actually slightly more popular than “UMW in the News”, with 91 external clicks, but only a total of 100 clicks altogether.

Footer Links

Links within our mega footer navigation area were clicked a total of 1,544 times. 1,418 of those appear to have come from external visitors. The most popular link in that section, with 176 total clicks (all but 2 of those were external), leads to our undergrad admissions page. The rest of the top five in that area lead to “Fast Facts”, “Contact UMW”, “Majors, Minors and Courses of Study” and the “Bookstore” with 130, 100, 80 and 76 clicks, respectively. All of those links were overwhelmingly used by external visitors; with less than 5 internal clicks on each.

Among the global footer links, one link was clearly the most popular: “Login” (with 1,268 clicks – almost 64% of the total clicks in that area). Not surprisingly, more than 65% of those clicks came from inside our campus network.

The second and third most popular links in that area, with only 67 and 65 clicks each, were “Facebook” and “Map”. Each of those links were only clicked twice by internal visitors; the rest of the clicks came from outside our network.

The Viewbook thumbnail was clicked a total of 257 times during the month of September. Seven of those clicks were on our International viewbook, but all seven of those clicks were from within the United States.

In fact, only 148 of the clicks on the domestic viewbook were made by external visitors, meaning that almost half of the clicks on that item were made from within our campus network.


Once again, all of the clicks tracked in this report only made up just under 7% of the total page views on the UMW website, so the sample size is still fairly small. That said, we are starting to see small trends emerging, and it will be very interesting to see how these data continue or change over the next few months.

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  1. Curtiss, What do you recommend for someone getting started with tracking events in GA? I want to start tracking interaction stats on our homepage promos and buttons. Do you need to create a separate profile for Universal analytics if you’ve been tracking with GA for a long time?

    • Nick – I just set my event tracking up within the main profile. The event interactions show up in a separate, segmented area within your main Analytics dashboard. The only thing that may change when you start tracking events (especially if you’re tracking clicks on external links) would be the average time people spend on your site (this would actually make things a tiny bit more accurate). Because of the way Analytics actually tracks the amount of time people spend on your site (they set a timestamp when someone enters a page on your site, then check the timestamp when that visitor moves to another page on your site – meaning, all visitors that “bounce” off of your site get a “time on site” of 0 seconds), Google will actually track the final click, so you’ll get slightly more accurate information on that particular metric.

      If you’re interested in implementing the event tracking, you could start with the tutorial I wrote a few months ago.

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