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Increasing Website Traffic at ONS: Webinar Recap Part 2

Is your organisation trying to increase website traffic? You’re not alone. In a recent webinar, Alison Davies, Web Analytics Manager at ONS and Amish Patel, Senior Client Development Consultant at GovDelivery Europe, detailed the process of outlining a new Web traffic strategy following declining Web visits after launching a new site. Hundreds of government communicators across the U.K. and Europe registered and attended the webinar and we were flooded with questions during the session to learn more about ONS’ revamped digital strategy and use of GovDelivery.

So, for those of you who missed the webinar or would like a refresher, we’ve included a 2-part summary of the live Q&A, part 2 is below (go back and read through part 1 here). If you’d like to hear more, you can watch the full recap of the webinar. (The questions and answers have been edited for brevity.)

What information do you capture when subscribers sign up for your GovDelivery alerts. And how do you use this?
Alison: Obviously we collect the email addresses of subscribers. We also have a couple of questions set up, but they are optional. Mostly it’s very basic information around the type of organisation the person works in and then specific questions around persona types (like whether they are expert data users) so we can gauge whether specific messages are engaging specific audience members like we’d expect them to. For example, we have a baby names release out in the next week, which is like one of the most popular things since sliced bread for us. There are specific organisations we’d expect to be looking at this release on the website, but it would be hard to determine in Web analytics whether those people are actually accessing the release. We can track whether they are viewing the content if they are signed up through GovDelivery.  There’s a lot of information we can get from sign-ups and through GovDelivery to this effect. We try to tailor different types of content and emails to find what more people will find useful.

Have you started to use the statistics from GovDelivery as part of your KPIs?
Alison: We look at all the statistics from GovDelivery in our success metrics. Analytics is our day-to-day job so we love having more information to plough through. Subscriber numbers is a massive metric for us because it’s about pushing the service out. We’ve gone from 1,000 to 25,000 subscribers. We also look at unsubscribes to see what we should be adjusting in the design and content of our emails. We use every little bit of the analytics we can.

You mentioned measuring the customer “engagement rate” of your messages; what is that?
Amish: The engagement rate is a statistic found in the GovDelivery reports. It’s a cross-measure. It measures the opens and clicks, whether a subscriber has opened or clicked a message over a 3 month period. It’s described as a percentage of the message recipients and shows how overall people are taking some kind of action from the delivered messages.

What topics have surprised you in how well they did, and are there any that haven’t done as well as you thought?
: Usually any topics with infographics are very popular for us. On the other end, we set up a topic recently for videos and the pick-up on that hasn’t been as good as we thought. Part of the issue could be people not being able to access YouTube at work, but we are still building up our video content.  It’s been growing. It only takes a few minutes to get the alerts out so we’ll continue to test it.

Are there any other organisations that use GovDelivery you still look to for inspiration?
Alison: We’ve always loved the style of the emails Southampton City Council sends out. Even though we’re 150 miles away I’m still signed up for their alerts. Initially when launching our account, we looked at National Audit Office, Met Office and U.K. Parliament and a number other agencies from the states as well for inspiration.  I’ve stayed signed up to several of these organisations, just out of pure interest rather than for research. The Newport City Council where I live recently started using the system, so now I’m signed up for other agencies’ alerts for both home use and work interests.

For the full presentation and Q&A, watch the webinar replay here.