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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Clicks that Count: Achieve and Measure Online Success with Google Analytics & Adwords (Google Analytics Custom Dashboard Workshop)





Tech Level: 

Basic Excel Skills

Date & Time: 

April 11, 2012 - 1:30pm - 5:00pm


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Archives & Museum Informatics EIN: 77-0708617; GST / BN 887978914


Since its introduction in 2005, Google Analytics has become "the most widely used website statistics service, currently in use on around 57% of the 10,000 most popular websites" ( Even though "GA" is renowned for its ease-of-use and full-featured functionality however, the challenging question remains: "How can I use the data to improve my website and further my organization's goals"?

In the first section of this Google-oriented joint workshop, the Smithsonian Institution's Web Analytics Analyst Brian Alpert will discuss the basic practice of using web analytics to improve a website, highlighting an Excel-based "custom dashboard" based on data exported directly from Google Analytics. This dashboard enables Smithsonian's web practitioners to use trended data to discern actionable trends and insights, articulate the impact it is having on their organization, and further articulate the steps being taken to correct or improve the situation.

Smithsonian Institution Archives' Catherine Shteynberg will extend the discussion by presenting a case study illustrating how the Archives came up with the goals, strategies, tactics, and finally, measurements that drive their Google Analytics dashboard. Consideration will also be given to a broader analytics approach, using other techniques to gain insight pertaining into other, non-web program elements.

Another Google product that seems daunting to many users is AdWords. Google offers an in-kind program including free AdWords advertising for nonprofit organizations. Participating nonprofits have a monthly budget of $10,000 per month but most nonprofits' marketing professionals don’t come close to reaching this cap. The ad spend depends on many variables, including the number and kind of campaigns you create, the number of people who search for the chosen keywords, and whether or not Googlers choose to click on your text-based ads.

Balboa Park Online Collaborative's Senior Editor Maren Dougherty will conclude the workshop with an overview of how to create and track effective AdWords campaigns. The session will start with the basics of developing keyword lists, creating campaigns, and evaluating ad performance using Conversion Tracking. Participants will then use their museum’s upcoming events or exhibitions to develop new ad campaigns.