If you haven’t yet experimented with Google Insights, it’s definitely worth a look. It combs through all Google searches for specific terms and produces reports based on time and volume. For example, you can see if there’s a peak of interest for the terms “oregon colleges” and “university admissions” and you might plan your Web marketing around what you find.
Based on a blog post about the importance of sports in higher ed, I decided to run the following terms through Insights to see if Coach Craig Robinson’s high profile DNC speech affected results: Oregon State University, OSU Basketball, Oregon State Basketball, Craig Robinson. Notice a bump on August 26 on this graph, one day after the coach shouted “Go Beavs!” in his orange necktie as he introduced his sister Michelle Obama. What this tells us is that there was definite increase in searches for our university as a result of that event, and probably a bump in new viewers to our website. If we can learn to react fast and even plan for such opportunities, we might be able to convert some of this new traffic into measurable metrics.