Intermediate Google Tag Manager Certification


Just wanted to share that I successfully completed CXL Institute’s Intermediate Google Tag Manager course. It was great to dive deep into several important areas of GTM that go beyond the basics.

Below is a bit more information about the course.

Also, if you’re looking for a new web marketing analyst (especially in the higher ed or nonprofit industries), I’m looking for my next challenge. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn if you think there’s a match.

This course is right for you if…

  • You want to take advantage of everything GTM can do, not just the basic features.
  • You have used GTM regularly for at least 3-6 months.
  • You have some knowledge of JavaScript, CSS Selectors, and HTML.
  • You consider yourself a “technical marketer” or analyst and want to become even better.
  • You have previously taken a foundational GTM course (including ours) and want to level up.

This course is probably not for you if…

  • You still need to brush up on the basic GTM features
  • You’re not familiar with any JavaScript, CSS Selectors, or HTML concepts


Intermediate Google Tag Manager

Optimizely X Web Foundations Certification


Just wanted to share that I earned the “Optimizely X Web Foundations Certification“. This certificate indicates that I have “a fundamental understanding of how to use the Optimizely X Web product, including how to setup your account, instrument your site and create and run experiments correctly.”

It’s an interesting tool and I’m glad I understand the tool’s core functionality. I even appreciated the opportunity to review statistics and learn how Optimizely’s Stats Engine works. While there are other options available, it seems Optimizely is a leader in the field of CRO tools.

Onwards and upwards!


Geoffrey Campbell Optimizely X Web Foundations Certification.png

Geoffrey Campbell, Tableau Desktop Specialist


I wanted to share some news. After a lot of learning/practice/studying (and pining for an opportunity like this), I just successfully passed the newly unveiled Tableau Desktop Specialist exam.

Tableau Desktop Specialist

I first used Tableau in years ago when I was becoming frustrated in my attempts using other BI tools to combine data from disparate sources. After learning the power of Tableau through Zen Masters (official title) like Matt FrancisPooja Gandhi, and others, I (successfully made the budgetary case for and then) made the big dive and took the Tableau Desktop II course (taught by Interworks and other partners).

Tableau is a fantastic product and I’d like using it to be a regular part of my next job.

You can learn its primary functions by reviewing their free online resources, reviewing/reverse-engineering some of the coolest visualizations, and using the company’s free version, Tableau Public. If you’re feeling competitive, you can even take part in free public competitions with leading experts via Makeover Monday and Workout Wednesday.

Until recently, however, there wasn’t a credential demonstrating base knowledge of the software. There are more advanced certifications that are geared towards those have already been using the tool professionally for several months/years.

Tableau has been aware of the need for an evaluation to test core competency in using the tool to help who love Tableau but aren’t yet in a position to use it in a full-time basis. I’m very thankful they’ve addressed the need for this type of evaluation.

Side note:

For digital marketers, it’s crucial to never stop learning. That’s why I’ve made it a priority to learn and demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in leading web marketing tools and tactics, including those below.

If you need a freelancer with any of the above skills, let me know.



Seeking a new challenge in digital marketing

Hi everyone,

I want to share some career news. I’ve left my admissions position at Illinois Tech in order to devote myself full-time to finding a digital marketing supporting higher ed or nonprofits either in-house or on the agency site. I greatly appreciate the opportunity I had to manage the intricate and complex process of managing the direct mail, email, and other methods of recruiting students from the search stage to matriculation.

The next stage of my career will be focused in the digital marketing space.

Specifically, I’m seeking a role that will make use of my skill and experience with the following subsets of digital marketing:

Each of the above bullet points interest me, and in concert they can contribute significantly to organizational goals and enable teams to prove marketing ROI and ultimately increase investment in marketing operations.

Here’s my resume. Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] if you’re hiring (or know someone who is) and you think I might be a fit.

Enrollment Marketing at Illinois Tech

Hi all,

It has been a while so I thought I’d provide an update.

I haven’t had a lot spare time lately. If I did, I would have commented on an actual article someone wrote and hit publish on article comparing higher ed’s use of digital marketing to Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election (yes, actually) but I’ve been busy learning the ins and outs of undergraduate recruitment.

It’s been about 3 months since I moved to Chicago and started working at Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech). It’s a really cool place.

There has been a lot to learn, and as you can see from the job description below, significant opportunities to analyze and revise print and digital outreach to recruit undergraduate students.

It’s an opportunity to combine my skill and experience and apply it directly to making a measurable impact (today is the scholarship deadline for domestic first year (freshmen) students, by the way). It’s been great so far and I’m excited to continue and improve upon the great work that’s already been done.

The Assistant Director of Enrollment Marketing Analytics and Strategies will create, implement, and manage communication and marketing programs that lead to the successful recruitment and enrollment of undergraduate students. Will assess campaign analytics, identify new markets, text mine data, and analyze competitors to develop targeted and effective outreach to segmented audiences. Serve as the liaison between undergraduate admission and campus departments to source/create/edit content for marketing materials. Manage online content and digital marketing platforms. Schedule digital and print communications.

Education & Experience

Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred; 4-7 years experience.

Knowledge & Skills

  • Strong writing, editing, and proofreading skills are essential.
  • Excellent organizational and planning skills with ability to work on multiple projects at one time.
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Strong IT skills.
  • Excellent research skills, proven analytical ability and strong business reporting skills.
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of current trends in digital media/social media.

Key Responsibilities

Develop, implement, and manage a marketing and communication plan for the recruitment and enrollment of undergraduate students.

-examine campaign analytics for ROI and revised strategies
-identify new market opportunities
-analyze marketing metrics to identify cause and effect relationships
-analyze competitors
-text mine admission essays and letters of recommendation to inform targeted marketing messages
-use website analytics to track target audience activity and develop customized outreach

Serve as the liaison between undergraduate admission and campus departments to source/create/edit content for marketing materials.

-meet with faculty, students and other parties to source targeted content to segmented audiences in the admission funnel
-create and edit copy for marketing materials

Manage online content and digital marketing platforms.

-ensure undergraduate websites are updated and contain effective recruitment content
-advise academic and other campus departments on website enhancements for recruitment initiatives
-manage digital partnerships

Schedule digital and print communications.

-create, edit, and schedule email/text templates within CRM
-schedule print material mailings
-coordinate internal campaigns (print/digital) with timing of external digital partnership campaigns


[P.S.: One day I’ll share some Tableau dashboards with dummy data. (I’ll have to review material from the Tableau Desktop II class I took make it presentable first.) In the meantime, I highly recommend enjoy Higher Ed Data Stories.]

How to get a job in higher ed marketing

For people wanting to get a job in higher ed marketing, “breaking through” can be a bit daunting. Now that I’ve learned a few things, I figured I’d share. So, I wrote a post for the Higher Ed Experts Blog entitled “4 tips to market your way to your 1st (or next) higher ed marketing job“. I hope you find it helpful!

Enrollment Marketing Automation Case Study

Here’s the enrollment marketing automation case study (PDF) I wrote for CASE. Here it is online (paywall). Let me know what you think.

Program-specific Google Analytics Dashboards

About a year ago I wrote about what could be included in a web report. It was somewhat general to be relevant in a number of cases.

I’d like to provide a specific update to list specific widgets and segments that should be used for various reports. This is by no means the be-all end-all of reports as dashboards should always be customized depending on your specific situation and business objectives. However, for admissions/administrators and program directors wanting to understand prospective student actions on the website as a whole (including before they enter a traditional admissions funnel or CRM, the including the following widgets and settings in a GA dashboard could be helpful as a starting point to understand a little more beyond top-level and vanity metrics.

I realize this is just a starting point. What else would you recommend as a starting point for people putting together 1-page program-specific GA dashboards?


Custom Segments

  1. Program subsite visitors (one per program)

Simply segment just to program subsite visitors

Segment: Degree Subsite Visitor

Condition: Sessions include page contains* (regex)

  1. Completed goal (however you set up inquiry form completion)
  2. Completed goal (however you set up application completion)

Monthly reports for each program: 

12 total (3 variations for each program with the above segments)


How many users?

Widget title:  Sessions

Standard: Metric

Show the following metric: Sessions

How many pages did visitors view on average?

Widget title: Average pages viewed/session

Standard: Metric

Show the following metric: Pages/session

Average Session Duration

Widget title: Average Time on Page

Standard: Metric

Show the following metric: Avg. Session Duration

Where did traffic come from?

Widget title: Source/Medium

Standard: Pie

Display the following columns: Source/Medium [dimension], Users [metric]

Show up to: 5 slices

Popular Pages and Avg. Time on Page

Standard: Table

Display the following columns: Page, Pageviews, Avg. Time on Page

Show a table with 5 rows

Users by City

Standard: Table

Display the following columns: City, Users

Show a table with 5 rows

Users by Day of the Week

Standard: Pie

Display the following columns: Users, Day of Week Name

Show up to 5 slices

Users by Device Category

Standard: Pie

Display the following columns: Users, Device Category

Show up to 5 slices

Users by Page Depth

Standard: Pie

Display the following columns: Users, Page Depth

Show up to 5 slices

What goes into a web/analytics report for higher ed?

Last week, I posted about Key Performance Indicators for independent school and higher ed admission advertising. Those figures can be used together to measure the performance of online advertising efforts and their impact on conversions and overall business goals.

Today, I’d like to discuss how things like those metrics and other insights can be combined into a seasonal, quarterly or annual web report that tracks progress and provides useful insights. Unsurprisingly, it’s difficult to find recent examples of insightful web reports in higher ed. As you know, colleges are increasingly competitive and (aside from conferences, and the like) can be unwilling to share their playbook so how others can copy their success.

When it comes to showing off performance- when hard work pays off – there are often case studies released by partner organizations. For instance, when helping my school plan our use of HubSpot, I referenced the Proctor Academy’s example and got in touch with Scott Allenby, their Director of Communications and Marketing and their Inbound Marketing Specialist (yes, a title at an independent school) Lesley Fisher about their success. They were very helpful and gave insights into their progress.

In other cases, when it’s the routine reporting that can ultimately to these changes, there is less information available. At FCS we’re doing well in terms of improving our performance in key areas, I’m still not sharing inside information that could be helpful to our competitors.


What I can share, and what there are many examples of, including a great guide on, is an example of things to include in a web metrics report.

Those guidelines can be very helpful and I think a lot of schools could incorporate a lot of those examples. One issue in transferring the report to indy school/higher ed world, which may not have been an issue for government agencies, is that the report is long. Yes…in 2016, eight standard (letter) length pages is too long. The report I made for Fall 2014 was 12 slimmed down slides and that was too long. When making anything it can be easy to write more than necessary because it interests you but chances are the report is written for people that have only a small fraction of the interest or the responsibility that you do. While it’s nice to have more details available, it seems most useful to have highlights up front as other may not have time to examine smaller details (or watch a 40-minute video on making that report). That being said, individual circumstances vary and the applicability of this advice subject to a school’s individual needs and should adjusted in length depending on the level of breadth and depth required (program-specific web/admission information, etc).

Keeping in mind that these everything online is subject to change and individual circumstances (what YOUR school finds important). Also, these are only excerpts and the examples are dated and don’t include advances this academic year (sorry, competitors).

Comparative numbers can be “period compared to last” unless otherwise noted. The numbers for your likely primary audience (defined as a segment in GA) can be included alongside total numbers.

Examples of points to include in a web report

Main website: (# of sessions by filtered audience, users, pages/session, avg. session duration, % increase in sessions/session duration compared to last quarter, and new sessions). Include why traffic may have changed. This page can include a daily visits to your website with annotations explaining spikes in traffic.

Search: What people search for on your site. Thankfully I added Google Custom Search to our site. This could lead to navigation changes or notes that your audience may prefer searching for their terms rather than navigating.

Path/User Flow Analysis: This could be an entirely separate report so keep it simple. Start with the standard landing page as the start.

Engagement: Mention bounce rate on key pages this period compared to last.

Referrals (where traffic came by referral source including details on social sources)

Behavior (most popular pages, and notable changes in device used)

Geography (notable mentions regarding where your audience is physically)

Notable sections (Changes to pages that affect target audience, including UX (simplifying Admission sections, altering the workflow for users, etc), and future work in those areas.

Campaigns: # and % increase of important measurements, # of conversions due to ads vs. other efforts, % increase in important campaign-related metrics/micro-conversions (time on site, page visited), results (ex. event registration increase, event attendance increase, increase in admission inquiries, etc). Consider adding a goal flow analysis screenshot starting with source/medium for the campaign page for a conversion you’d like to highlight.

NB: This section often includes the sources of conversions (discussed in a previous post) doesn’t necessarily need to include all of a campaign’s constituent parts (email campaign details like email open/click rates) or details of digital advertising KPIs).

Mobile (top-line figures to be cognizant of changing ways your audience experiences your website)

Other web

YouTube: Top videos by views, avg. % viewed

Facebook (new fans, impression breakdown, use by day (to inform future posting)

Twitter and Facebook (most engaging posts (different examples (top shared, clicked, post views, etc depending on type)

Summary including and issues and next steps to work on.

Things to note

It’s important to have your audience in mind. Do all the recipients of the report care about each section equally? Of course not. Should you report cover the basics for the areas of your responsibility and top-line figures that people you report to would be interested in? Of course. I’ve found that since I began assembling reports like this (starting with Cision in 2012), that good internal reports lead to interesting questions that can be answered later in depth (how do those who create an admission account differ from website visitors who do not?) or discussed in a formal presentation (like the follow-up to my report).

These reports can be made in addition to providing customized dashboards (like this one I created that could answer the above admission question) or reports shared regularly.

A note to regular readers: yes, a year ago I did say the sort of ‘vanity metrics’ recommended above aren’t enough. That’s still true but I meant that in terms of having a full grasp of improving the user experience and taking steps to improve your performance, these numbers are necessary but not sufficient for a complete understanding on your part.

In terms of a report, they’re necessary preface to a larger conversation. The changes you made that led to X larger change can be discussed in response to larger questions. Remember: think of your audience first: they often want a bird’s eye view, not necessary your view from the thickets.

The difference between placement and other ad targeting options

If you clicked on this link you probably either have a steady understanding of the basics of PPC (AdWords) digital advertising. You’re probably hoping this post has some specific information about what effective placement targeting is for independent schools or higher ed. Unfortunately I can’t tell you that. It depends on your specific situation and how much you’re willing to spend (or reallocate from print ads).

I can share some evidence that I know the basics of AdWords through my re-certification (which I’ve noted would be a problematic qualification in isolation (without the related experience in managing effective digital campaigns for my school)) and some notes on managed placements (usually manually- or batch-selected websites on which to pay to have display ads).

I can tell you that I’ve found success in using managed placements, choosing websites that our prospective parents are likely to visit normally or visit in the course of choosing a school. Once you have some experience with different targeting settings, you may find that having granular control over what websites you’d like to advertise on (and even how much you’re willing to bid for your ad(s) on that site.

The placement targeting option below will choose a group of websites on or related to the chosen topic.


There is middle ground between the largely automated and primarily manual options, there’s a middle ground that entails choosing topics and keeping a close eye on the performance in the Display Network-> Placements tab and adjusting bids and excluding placements that don’t make sense for your needs. The Daily Egg post is correct in that that approach means a lot of manual work. Here’s more on that option. Best of luck!