Overview and to generate quality traffic to the

Overview of the  Education Index PageMaria KirichenkoMaastricht School of Management   AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to evaluate current marketingstrategy of the Facebook page of the course-search platform www.educationindex.ruand measure the effectiveness of Facebook marketing towards website traffic andconversion goals of the company.   Overview of the  Education Index PageThis paperexamines a Facebook page of Educationindex.ru – leading course search platformfor Russian-speaking students, where students searchinformation about higher education institutions and courses abroad. Facebook page ofthe company is used for two main purposes: to increase brand awareness of universitiesadvertised on the website and to generate quality traffic to the website.

Using analytical and statisticaltools Tableau, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and AzureML, I will evaluatehow the strategy can be changed in order to increase the Page engagement andtraffic coming from Facebook to Education Index website. Data examined for theperiod from 1st August 2017 to 31st December 2017. Analysis and Recommendations Using GoogleAnalytics we can see the percentage of Facebook traffic vsoverall traffic sources that drive visitors to the Education Index website inorder to measure the impact Facebook has on the website’s traffic. The chart below shows topchannels of the traffic of the Education Index website where only 1.3% of userscame from Social Media during the period from 1st August till 31st December2017.

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As the company’sSocial Media channels consist of Facebook, VKontakte (analogue of Facebook forRussian-speaking countries) and YouTube, it is useful to filter the data toevaluate only Facebook traffic: As shown in the table, goal conversion rate is 10.88%which means that there were 170 goal completions during 5 the months. Whilethere are many events users can perform on the website including banner clicks,only 5 goals were set as main KPIs: subscription to the company’s newsletter,registration on the website, request sent to a university or Education Indexsupport team, an event when a user visits more than 5 pages of the website, anevent when a user searches for a University or course on the website. Looking in thegraph below, we can see that the number of goals completion are related to thenumber of sessions, thus the more traffic the company has from Facebook, thebetter it is for the completion of goals. We can see the decrease in number ofsessions and goal completions starting from October 2017 – when wesignificantly decreased budget for advertisement on Facebook and did not useany advertisement in December 2017:   Taking into account that there is a decrease in traffic coming to the websitefrom Facebook, it is important to know the reasons of the decrease anddetermine the main factors influencing the traffic.

First, it is useful to seewhether the number of posts published each month affect the total reach inorder to know whether the company should publish more content. From the graphbelow we can see the relation between number of posts (a blue line) and total reach(a red line).The graph shows that in August 2017the company published 31 posts which resulted in 24,907 total reach. InSeptember total reach increased by 4,593 views despite the fact that there was1 published post less. Until December 2017 the company maintained the samelevel of number of posts (30 or 31), but the reach decreased significantlywhich demonstrates that the number of posts published is not the key factorthat influences the total reach. Second assumption to be examined isthat the decrease in Facebook reach is explained by decrease in the number ofadvertised (boosted) posts. From the graph below we may see whether postsduring the period August 2017 –December 2017 were paid or organic. This graph demonstratesa spike in paid reach that correlates with the spike in total reach thattotaled 29,500 views in September.

We may see that in December 2017, when thecompany did not advertise any posts, total reach was at its minimum of 1,720.   With a statistical tool AzureML we can test the level of interrelation betweenthe dependent variable – a number of total clicks and independent variableswhich are the following: lifetime post total reach, lifetime post paid reach,lifetime post organic reach. Using a linear regression analysis we can seewhether any of these variables is statistically significant and mostimportantly whether the number of clicks is affected by the paid reach.

Fromthe graph below we can see the predicted number of clicks (scored labels) vslifetime paid reach. We can see that data is dispersing and more independentvariables are needed for a more accurate prediction. Summarizing the analysis above wemay see that advertised posts lead to increase in traffic to the website and increasednumber of goal completions. However, organic reach is not static and is influencedby several factors. It is also important to see what factors influence the organicreach and how the content strategy can be improved in order to generate moreorganic (non-paid) reach.

First it is important to know the audience of the Facebook page and whether thecontent type and language used should be modified. Since the launch of itsFacebook page, Education Index has used formal academic language for most ofits posts. As we can see from the graph below taken from the Facebook Insights,main audience group is people aged 18-34, which are most likely studentslooking for Undergraduate and Postgraduate programs abroad.

Group of 25-44 mostlikely corresponds to people searching for MBA and PhD options, while older agegroups represent parents of students. This leads to the conclusion that itwould be more engaging to use a popular informal tone in this Facebook page. Takinginto consideration the fact that share of female users is almost double comparingto male users, the company should consider publishing more stories targetingfemale students such as “Women in science”, interviews with female students, scholarshipsfor women leadership. It is also important to see what countries the users are from so that thecompany may target those countries with relevant content as well as use this informationfor geo-targeting of the promoted posts.

  It is interesting to see how it the audience from Facebook page interrelateswith the audience that actually go to the website. Using the graph created inTableau with the data from Google Analytics, we may see the history of averagenumber of users by country for each day during the given period:The graph shows numbers for 21stSeptember 2017, when most of the users were from CIS countries with Russia asthe main proportion despite the fact that a large proportion of Facebook pagefans are from Georgia. Looking historically at the data we can say that despitea large audience from Georgia, the majority of the Facebook users thateventually go to the website are from Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine which alsointerrelates with the enquiries sent to Universities and clients that purchase admissionsupport services from the company. It is also important to know whether new users that come to the company’swebsite from Facebook are clicking the website from a smartphone and tablet ora computer. Using Google Analytics data, we may see that the share of mobileversion users is in most month 3 or 4 times higher than those of computerusers. This is particularly important for our further advertising strategy asit means that we should focus on Facebook campaigns for mobile.

It also shows thatwe should adapt our posts for mobile users by reducing the text size, linking mobilefriendly pages that will open properly, using pictures that would displaycorrectly on mobile screens.  Using the information provided in Facebook Insights page, we can see what typeof post gets more reach and engagement on average.  It shows that videos get over 50% more postclicks and reach than photos or text with links. Shared videos in this case arethe videos shared from official pages of foreign universities as well as organizationssuch as British Council and Nuffic Neso Russia. That is an interesting insightthat shows that the company should consider posting more videos – both originaland shared from other pages.  Using the graph below that shows Average Daily Total reach vs Average Daily TotalEngagement, we can see that Wednesday gets the most total reach while Thursdayreceives more engagement. This information along with the data on what time ofthe day the Page’s fans are online, can be used for a more effective posts schedulingthat will result in better reach and engagement rates.

ConclusionThe data used for the5-month period of August – December 2017 shows a continuous decline in reach,engagement, conversion to website traffic and goal completions of the company andindicates that the current strategy is not effective. As two main goals of the company’sFacebook marketing is to drive high-quality traffic to the website and increasebrand awareness of partner universities, advertising budget should beincreased. In order to ensure that the paidreach leads to a higher conversion, a more precise targeting should be used.

Thecompany should also publish a more targeted and relevant content for the 18-35-year-oldusers, with a less formal tone for its posts. Content published should beadjusted for the audience that uses mobile platform and the company should ensurethat all posts including sponsored ones are optimized for the mobile users ofthe Education Index Facebook page. The insights also show that it is time toincrease the number of video posts as they generate more reach and engagement.

For more reach and engagement, the company should also schedule posts for timesand dates when its fans are online and active.     Work cited   Footnotes  Figures title:  

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