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Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Developing a postgraduate analytics dashboard

Liaising with postgraduate marketing colleagues, I identified a need for an easy way for them to monitor data relating to demand for postgraduate degrees. I’ve built a prototype and am now working up a process to continue to improve this.

Background and context

Adapting to the change from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) hasn’t been easy, the migration process was fraught with issues and it comes with a steep learning curve.

In conversations with marketing colleagues from the College of Medicine and Vet Medicine, I was asked if there was an easy way to see traffic to the degree finder tracked in GA4 but only for the relevant college/school/level. The answer is no, at least not in the native GA4 reporting with our current degree finder setup.

Do marketing colleagues really need to know this? Analytics knowledge and capacity in the University’s marcomms community is limited, and this is compounded by the distributed nature of our operations. However, it’s something I can do more quickly and easily.

From my ongoing liaison with marketing colleagues, I recognised a wider need in the community and started to prototype a dashboard that could be of use to more than just the people who originally raised the question.

I did some initial behind-the-scenes work to “translate” GA4 data into something more readable and useful for my marketing colleagues, and to provide a vehicle for further dialogue.

The dashboard

We now have an initial version, little more than a prototype. I was able to draw on my experience of producing dashboards for the Enquiry Management Team, the Tuition Fees Service and our own Content Operations Team to make some early assumptions on layout.

A few features we currently have in place:

  • Trend on the number of page views
  • Sessions and users for the University as a whole or any college, school or programme
  • Controls to select the date range, college, mode/type (online learning, research programmes, taught programmes), school and programme.
  • Aggregated numbers view for each college/school/programme
  • Filtering by country
  • Prospectus PDF downloads numbers


image showing the postgraduate analytics dashboard with a graph showing traffic numbers

Current version of the postgraduate analytics dashboard with a graph showing traffic numbers



Not long after I started my prototype, I got a request for data from colleagues in SRA that was covered by what I was doing, so I showed them my prototype and from here it has grown a lot.

I’m finding that having the dashboard to share has been a catalyst for more more active collaboration with colleges and SRA.

Building on this, I’ve gone on to set up:

  • tracking of performance of open days and events registration forms
  • tracking of users entering the online application form
  • support for the international diversification group

What’s next

Receiving random requests for new features on an ongoing basis isn’t sustainable, and I need to balance developing and managing this dashboard with my other areas of responsibility.

Neil and I have set out plans to manage this in the same way we manage priorities for the wider web estate and the new content management system in development.

My first step will be to identify and agree someone to play the role of Product Owner – someone who knows the postgraduate student recruitment business well and can provide direction on upcoming priorities.

I will then set up a web form so that anyone in the University’s postgraduate marketing and recruitment community can submit a feature request and explain why it would be useful or valuable.

I already have an informal backlog of new reports/features including:

  • traffic acquisition data (medium, source, campaign)
  • performance of open day and events pages
  • track the journey through EUCLID application process (funnel from degree finder to submitting application)

In future I will work for a fixed amount of time per month according to priorities agreed with the Product Owner and continue to blog about how the dashboard is developing.

Find out more

If you’ve got any questions, or would like access to the dashboard (assuming you’re a member of staff at Edinburgh), get in touch.

Carla Soto’s contact details

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