by Jayson Schmidt, Preseason
Today’s piece is the third in a series on why recruiting sites are an absolute game changer for your program. In week one, we talked about the need for a recruiting site as compared to your department’s athletics website. In week two, we discussed the nuances of using web builders and doing it yourself. This week, we’re talking about analytics.
Analytics are important because, as in competition, they illustrate opportunity.
Recruiting sites create additional data points to measure your prospective student-athletes. Through analytics suites like Google Analytics, you can see things like how many recruits are visiting your site, where they’re from, and how long they’re staying.
As a bonus, we get insight into what PSAs care about. When we built a solution for Palm Beach Atlantic, it was clear that three pages in particular were the most popular–
- Meet Your Teammates
- Who We Are (a manifesto on culture)
- Meet the Head Coach
The meet your teammates section had no words, just photos pulled from various players’ Instagrams. We wanted to convey an authentic look at life as one of their teammates and it worked. It was clearly the top target through pageviews and session duration amongst users.
Analytics can even inform how you build a recruiting site. Say you’re thinking about launching a recruiting site, but the idea of drafting pages of content is intimidating. With analytics, you can see exactly which pages are getting the most traction. Choosing to write limited copy for each page saves time and allows you to bolster the pages that are most popular down the road.
To go even further, you can simply pull content from your recruiting emails and rewrite/expand later.
Using an analytics suite also allows you to track users’ origins. In a report we did for a client, 75% of all inbound traffic came from email campaigns when the recruiting site was plugged. The site got a small SEO boost from Google (13% inbound traffic) and a surprisingly low amount of traffic from social media (4%).
On average, two-thirds of users to recruiting sites find it on mobile devices. This shouldn’t surprise you given the device-heavy usage of 14-18 year olds, but it makes a valid point: what they see needs to be prioritized. In this case, a six-inch screen size must be able to fit a compelling call-to-action, otherwise a PSA will bounce back to email, social media, or whatever they’re on to next.
Through Google’s behavior flow, you can also track this too. If users leave the site after reading about your team’s recent history, perhaps you should reconsider that page and its content. Analyzing drop-off behavior is just another way to craft your narrative and lead recruits through a storytelling process.
That’s what all of this is about.
A recruiting website is just a tool, like the data that comes with it. By itself it’s rather meaningless, but in the bigger picture we can leverage these ancillary materials to move recruits from moment to moment on your timeline.
How you choose to move them from moment to moment is up to you, but taking them on the journey is a must.
(And if you don’t have the time, shoot us an email.)
This article is the third in a series on custom-built recruiting sites and the seventh in a series on athletics branding. Jayson Schmidt is a former NCAA Division II head coach and managing partner of Preseason, a creative agency that helps colleges win.
Struggling with your brand or just simply want an edge on the competition? Preseason can elevate your story and deliver it to recruits, fans, and donors.