Mark Higginson

How attention flows on the web


27 September 2014

Keeping an eye on which universities use which web trackers tells me a lot about the sector as a whole and about what individual institutions are up to. I keep a complete list and track changes.

Every university apart from Bristol uses Google Analytics.

Total trackers in use by 126 institutions rose from 202 back in March to 471 by September.

This rise was due in large part to the increased use of advertising trackers. 58 universities were using 146 trackers related to online advertising in its various guises.

The most popular tracker related to advertising was Doubleclick, used by 38 institutions.

It remains to be seen if this was related to Clearing specifically and whether many of these trackers will be removed. Alternatively it may represent nearly half the sector making budget available to sustain ongoing advertising.

Advertising tracker use is related to league table position. The median value for tracker use occurs at the 87th position in the table.

Amazingly nearly a quarter of UK universities run no other trackers besides Google Analytics. Nothing to assist with usability testing or any kind of conversion optimisation.

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