NAFSA Week in Vancouver proved to be incredibly enlightening. As usual, our small meal meetings served as the best source of insight as to how we can improve our services to campus-based clients.
One advertiser asked why her inquiry volume dropped a bit about 18 months ago. I immediately reviewed her campus' activity within our system, and sure enough, the drop coincided with the introduction of our new reporting structure:
After some student-user testing in early 2009, we decided to encourage our advertisers to embed external links into their profiles with us, leading to their .edu domains. Our programmer re-designed our tracking system to reveal not only the number of click-throughs to advertiser domains, but the country of origin as well. Pretty neat.
Turns out, it isn't neat enough. Advertisers need to cross-reference our student inquiry list with their enrollee list to analyze their return on investment. Country-specific click-throughs are interesting, but fuzzy.
Moving forward, we'll strongly encourage our advertisers to provide us with coded links to their .edu domains; ultimately, we'll link to actual applications coded specifically for USjournal.com. If this strong recommendation is too much of a burden for our advertisers' IT / web development teams, we may revert to directing all Profile Page links to the advertisers' Academic Program Listing, which is closely tied to our inquiry form. For example:
This restrictive approach is far from optimal, as many students prefer to go directly to the .edu domain as opposed to completing a third-party form. If we try to restrict the student's options, they may very well simply leave our site without a trace: without click-through data, and without completing our inquiry form.
We realize there may be other solutions involving the clandestine capture of personal data without the user's knowledge. We won't pursue those options. Do you have another solution? What do you think about our strong recommendation? Let me know: cheryl@USjournal.com.
Limited opportunity to participate in the FundsV Beta: FundsV is a new initiative of USjournal.com, designed to improve the efficiency and integrity of the funds verification process for international students and scholars, in compliance with host requirements. FundsV is a natural extension of USjournal, as it is designed to generate more financially qualified inquiries for our clients. If you'd like to participate in a tightly-controlled environment, please contact cheryl@USjournal.com.
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