Alumni Online Behavior: Where Are They On Your Site?

An institution’s website is often compared to a billboard on the information superhighway. But the site should be more than a faded, static billboard. Leveraging it as an engaging digital development tool requires an understanding of who is visiting and what they want to see. Do you know your alumni’s online behavior and where they visit on your website?

By identifying and monitoring alumni online behavior across an institution’s website —athletics pages, the alumni association page, academics pages and more — Capture Higher Ed is uniquely able to match demographic data to individual visitors. Here is what we learned when we aggregated FY18 behavioral data from across our advancement division to gain insight into alumni online behavior and where they were going on your site.

Looking at the chart above, we see that athletics remains a strong alumni connector. The athletics website is a clear destination for alumni. Although visit habits will vary depending on institution, the main athletics page is the most visited followed by athletics news, team rosters and game schedules.

The Day of Giving page also commands strong visibility. A full 5 percent of all traffic from alumni identified online went to that page. There is no other page with such a high volume of traffic in such a condensed timeframe.

And, finally, although it represents less than one percent of all traffic, the planned giving site is a vitally important half percent. Identifying alumni visiting the planned giving page provides invaluable data on who is considering a planned gift to the institution today. As we discussed before, success in planned giving is largely a matter of timing.

The Opportunity

The knowledge of where and when alumni engage can allow for more efficient allocation of resources. Knowing the day of giving page receives a full 5 percent of all alumni visits may change the way we see a “cost” associated with that day. While knowing the athletics site is the primary driver of alumni relationships can benefit solicitation strategies throughout the year.

Delivering the right solicitation to the right alum while they are on the athletics site can improve pledge rates earlier in the fiscal year — increasing second ask populations. Proper message timing and location on the website is also necessary to engage alumni who have chosen an online relationship in place of taking a phone-a-thon call, replying to direct mail piece or opening a mass email solicitation.

Is your website an engaging development tool? Find out more about what marketing automation can do for your advancement office.

By Kevin Bauman, Director of Philanthropic Initiatives, Capture Higher Ed