Donovan Group Insights

Engagement Through Analytics: Utilizing Data in School Communication Strategies

There’s one question every school team should ask themselves: “How can we communicate better with our audience?” School communications always have room for improvement; knowing where to begin with those improvements can be the tricky part.

If you need to revamp your communication strategies, start by looking at the data. What appears to be a bunch of numbers, graphs and percentages is actually your ticket to understanding how engaged your audience is when they see your content. And, you’ll establish a solid plan for optimizing your communication strategies.

Why data analytics are so important

When you create communications, audience engagement should always be top of mind. Every message needs to engage audience members in some way, whether you’re asking them to take action or simply enjoy a fun, lighthearted video. Engagement is one of your main goals, and every goal should be measurable. That’s where data analytics come in handy.

You don’t have to guess how engaged your audience is. Data analytics allow you to measure exactly how engaging your communications are by providing concrete numbers and percentages. By tracking clicks, watch time, page views and more, you’re able to pinpoint what’s working and what’s not, which helps your team refine their communication efforts in all the right spots.

Data analytics are incredibly helpful tools for improving your communications over time. When the numbers are lower than expected, you can trace them back to a specific email, video or social media post, which will help you understand why engagement has been flagging. By looking at the numbers, you gain a clearer idea of what needs to change in your communication strategies. Once you identify areas for improvement, your team can take meaningful strides towards the type of content that resonates with your audience.

Looking at the data brings you closer to your overall goal of creating content that students, staff, families and community members find valuable and enriching. The numbers say a lot about what people enjoy the most, what information they look for and what brand voice evokes a positive reaction. Rather than guessing what people want, data analytics show you exactly what people want. This positions your team to create messaging that generates more engagement.

How to leverage different types of data

You can access data analytics for almost every communication channel. For emails, you can track how many people open your messages and click through any included links. For your school’s website, you can track page views and the average time spent on each page. Wherever engagement is happening, there are ways to measure and quantify it.

Here’s how you can leverage data analytics to optimize content on various platforms:

Social media metrics

Social media platforms like Facebook, X, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube have some of the most readily available data analytics. To see how engagement is doing, simply log in to check the number of likes, shares and comments on a post. You can also track the number of followers over time, as well as how many people see your posts in their news feeds.

Likes and shares can help you determine which topics or types of content your audience prefers the most. For example, if posts with photos or graphics get more attention, try incorporating these visual elements into more of your content. If a post receives negative comments or reactions, you might consider altering the verbiage in future communications. Identify what your audience responds well to, then amplify those strengths in your messaging.

Website analytics

There are multiple ways to measure engagement on your school’s website. You can track page views, which indicate how often people visit a certain web page. The average time spent on a web page can reveal much about the perceived value of that page’s content. You can also measure the overall flow of traffic to your website over the course of time. In general, website analytics tell you whether students, staff and families are able to find the information they’re looking for, as well as which information is perceived as valuable or not.

For instance, a quick look at your website’s analytics might reveal that some pages are only getting a couple views per month. To make the content more visible, you could improve its readability or make the pages more visually appealing. You could also increase traffic by linking to those pages on other platforms. If people are spending a short amount of time on certain pages, this could mean they’re having a hard time finding information. Consider re-organizing parts of the website to make it more user friendly.

Video views and watch time

You can measure a video’s performance on any digital platform, whether you shared the video through social media, a web page or an email newsletter. Many times, school teams will measure engagement based on the number of views a video gets. However, what’s more important is tracking a video’s watch time because this reveals its ability to grab and hold a viewer’s attention. Moreso than views, watch time tells you how many people thought the video was interesting and worth their while.

When it comes to measuring engagement, school teams should mostly keep an eye on a video’s watch time. If watch times are consistently short, this usually means that viewers are quickly losing interest in the video’s message. There are many video production techniques that can help boost engagement, such as making shorter videos, using shorter clips, making dialogue short and concise or putting the most important information at the end of the video.

Feedback surveys

Polls, surveys and questionnaires provide tons of data that can help refine your school’s communication strategies. While the data analytics on social media, videos and websites are still very helpful, feedback surveys allow you to directly ask audience members what’s working well and what needs to change. Rather than solely analyzing numbers, create opportunities for students, staff, families and community members to voice their thoughts and opinions about your school’s communication efforts.

In these surveys, ask questions that allow you to assess the engagement levels for various types of content. Ask your audience how satisfied they are with the information they receive and the frequency of communications via email, text, printed letters and different social media platforms. Be sure to include a section where they can leave additional comments as well. You can then use the survey results to steer your communication strategies in the right direction.

Event attendance rates

Attendance rates can tell you much about the effectiveness of your print and online communications. In order to achieve a great turnout, first you have to engage your audience through content that promotes the event. A low attendance rate could mean that not enough people heard about the event, or the marketing materials didn’t grab their attention. Take a second glance at your school’s promotional content to see how you can improve it for the next event.

What’s the data trying to tell you?

Data analytics are more than a set of numbers, graphs and percentages. They tell the story of how much your content is engaging the people in your school community. By analyzing the data, you’re taking the first step towards a stronger connection with students, staff, families and community members. Engagement starts with the data!

Leave a Comment