Advanced Digital Measurement Tools at Wayne State University

On this episode of Enrollment Growth University, we got a chance to sit down with Nick DeNardis, Director of Digital Communications at Wayne State University, about the must-have tools for your higher education measurement toolkit.

Biggest Recent Advancements in Higher Education Digital Measurement

Over the course of the past five years, the amount of data flowing has grown exponentially, simply because the tools themselves are able to get more fine grained with their interactions.

Try to use as much of that data through sustainable tools, not simply every new tool that comes down the road, because those are a dime a dozen. Through extensive testing, you can fine tune the tools that work best for your institution.

Every day, your process can get better and better, and before you know it, you’ll have an fully grown suite of tools.

Must Have Tools for Your Higher Education Measurement Toolkit

Google Analytics

It continues to be free, which is incredible. It’s reliable, it’s in depth, and Google Analytics should be your mainstay, and should always be in your toolbelt.

Webmaster Tools

Webmaster Tools went through a bit of a redesign, but continues to be a solid choice when considering how things are worded online, what people are finding, what they aren’t finding, and where you should be focusing your energy.

Google Optimize

Allowing for people who might not be as technically advanced as some, it doesn’t require the orchestration that you used to have to perform when you wanted to run an AB test or a multi-variant test.


Hotjar allows for heat mapping of individual pages or a suite of pages, and will allow for customization. So if you know that somebody is a certain user type, then you can only record where they click.

It also includes the user journeys, funnel management, and a host of other features.. You may even be able to get rid of a few of your tools and combine them all into HotJar.

“Less is More” A/B Learnings

Less usually gets more clicks. There’s no two ways around that. Everybody wants to have every link to every one of their programs on a homepage, but do you really need that?

Maybe you’ve got four different programs, but each program has some sort of specialization, or multiple specializations. You want all four programs, plus two or three specializations all listed out on the homepage to get someone directly to where their interests lie. Right?

Maybe not.

Upon testing, less links yields more clicks overall, and a higher overall conversion rate. Instead of packing every page with every possible option, focus on less.

How do you Create Reports People Actually Want to Read?

Google Analytics makes it really easy to add someone to an automated list and then send them weekly emails that they never read. But what if there were a better way to do reporting? How do you get folks to care about reporting, and be interested and pay attention?

You tie your reports to actual performance numbers. If one of your goals, week over week goes plus 10% or negative 10%, you’re for sure going to get people to pay attention to your reports.

If it goes plus 10%, they’re excited, they send it off to their team. If it goes down 10%, they course correct and figure out what’s going on.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Nick DeNardis from the Wayne State University. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to Enrollment Growth University.

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