Trying new things can be both a luxury and a headache. But status quo rarely moves us forward. In the long run, the new things we try become go-to tactics that move our work into alignment with goals and strategies.
One place where Ohio State has potential to engage our alumni, donors and friends? Streaming live events on the Web.
Live web streaming plays directly into the Advancement goal of enhancing audience segmentation and analytics to deliver the right messages to the right people. There are two parts to this goal: measurement and analysis, and content creation and personalization. Streaming is rich media content, and each online event is an opportunity to measure and analyze how users interact with us. Do our audiences watch the event live, follow on social media or view the archived version at a later date? Or do they ignore the event entirely?
Web streaming isn’t cheap, but when it is promoted and tracked accurately, it can deliver stimulating, relevant content to the right audience. Engaged audiences help Advancement staff learn new things about what users want in the digital space.
The recent “Symposium on the University President” was a chance to share strategic, high-quality content while tracking audience interest in Ohio State’s online offerings.
The symposium–an August panel of current and former university presidents from across the country, convened by the Board of Trustees–helped frame Ohio State’s search for a new president. Streaming the event live on the Web gave us an opportunity to try new tactics. A variety of channels were used to get the word out, but one of the most effective and trackable turned out to be a reliable standby: broadcast email.
To track who was most interested, we divided our alumni/donor email distribution lists into six categories based on work Edelman Consulting did with Advancement in 2011. We then used those lists to measure specific audience segments’ interest in this type of programming. Each email message to each segment contained the same content, and was sent out at the same time of day, but used different links created specifically for each group. These links synced up with Google Analytics, the online link tracking and measurement tool. This approach allowed us to see that alumni identified as Life-Learners were most interested in the symposium, followed by Enthusiasts and Connectors.
As we continue to identify opportunities to learn more about what our audiences are interested in, we can send them more relevant opportunities, thereby increasing engagement with our alumni and friends.