We are in the middle of the holiday season at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t take a look back at the past few months of web traffic:

Here’s a look at the stories we took down.

previous homepage stories

Floralia was up on the homepage for a very, very long time. It was our first experiment with a microsite and was VERY well-received by the College of Business.

The stories currently linked on the homepage include:

Creating great writers: A feature about EVERYTHING Writing at Oregon State: from a new partnership with a nonprofit in east Oregon, to the new low-residency MFA in Bend, to talented students choosing Oregon State over world-class programs like Iowa. Big things are happening for writers here.

Rocking outdoor education: My big summer project: A feature about the Adventure Leadership institute here at Oregon State and the impact its made from the very start with prominent climber Willi Unsoeld

Making it happen: A great student story about Joyce Madriz: an undergrad biology student following her dreams! This story is also up in Spanish.

Amphibians are crashing: A Terra story about herpetology, which I don’t even understand, so you’ll have to read to find out more!

On a wing and a dare: Another great Terra story about drones. Drones are such a hot topic now, and the dudes in our office obviously love them.

On the video side, we gained 471 subscribers and lost 124 subscribers for a net gain of 347. We currently have 5,658 subscribers to the Oregon State Youtube channel. “Welcome back to Oregon State”, our “short tour” campus video has 141 likes and only one dislike, counting it as our “most engaged” video.

And here’s a look at our top videos:

top videos

Darryl says: In this time period, we saw a nice bump in views in comparison to our last report.

The Welcome Back video was inspired by a video that an improv group created. It was one of our top performing videos, and in a very short time and little to no promotion at all. While edgy, the video inspired over 100 likes and multiple comments within a week of posting. The amount of time we spent creating the video was minimal as well, we spent a couple hours planning the idea of the video, a day to shoot and just a couple hours to edit.

The Bass fishing video we created generated an impressive 18,883 views due to an interesting viral video that recommended our video as a follow up to watch. Most of these views originated from Brazil, which leads us to believe that the recommendation must have been localized to that country.

Our Beaver Nation commercial, as mentioned in the previous report, is also performing well and we continue to receive good feedback on it. We also finished up our 1-minute version of this video, using similar visuals yet a unique take on messaging.

Other videos in this timeframe include the Fire video and two accompanying profiles. While they don’t have many views, we fully intend on pushing the piece out to different sources. We also recently finished up our campus recruiting video for the OSU Cascades Campus, a fun video with all the spirit of Central Oregon.

My first blog post comes in the form of our brand new 30-second institutional spot. This is the commercial that will be played during sports broadcasts and ad buys for the Beavers. The team contributed to production of the commercial with collaboration from the OSU Marketing team.

I want to offer some of my favorite things about it, coming from a behind the scenes perspective.

  1. This was produced in-house. Everything minus the color and audio mastering was shot by us, coordinated by us and directed by us. We are super proud of that.
  2. This is not your typical university commercial. When we say institutional spot, we definitely don’t let that get us down. We set out with a specific vision to be more than the epic voiceover, crane shot kind of university commercial.
  3. Our version of “epic voiceover” comes in the form of Dr. Cheldelin in 1965 where he reads part of the Oregon State creed to a new incoming class during his convocation speech.
  4. And our version of the crane shot comes in the form of the hyperlapse. Those timelapses of Reser, the Memorial Union and Weatherford are kind of like a timelapse that move far distances.
  5. Every single shot has a story. For example, Kegan and I spent an entire day on a research vessel out 5 miles from the coast to get a single shot that shows up at about 0:23 in the commercial that holds for less than a second. Needless to say, we did not get seasick but we did have delicious fish and chips.
  6. Slow motion is awesome. We included several of our favorite slow-mo shots in this commercial. The Korean Dancers or the pouring hops are probably my favorite.
  7. We leveraged existing footage. I would say a good portion (30-40%) was footage that we already had and could use. Our philosophy going in was to ask ourselves, “Can we get a better shot?” If the answer was “yes”, then we arranged a shoot. That said, we were able to essentially recycle what we had and that saved us a whole lot of time.
  8. Distribution is a whole other ballgame. I thought when we were done, I’d just send the files over and magically the commercial would play on TV. Not that easy. TV networks are vast and distributing to broadcast systems is not just a copy paste operation.
  9. We like to include people we work with in our work. At 0:24, we had an intern hop on a bike for us and at 0:27, you can barely make out Colin’s dad, who is a vet at the university.
  10. We worked hard on this. Overall, I’d say we went through over 10 revisions and just as many different music choices. From conception to finish, we probably spent 3-4 months on this project while juggling dozens of other projects. Everyone put in so much to these 30 seconds; I can’t help but be proud of the work that we were able to produce and happy when I see it on TV.

If you liked our 30-second spot, I’d encourage you to check out the Beaver Nation website where you can view our 1 minute spot, which is completely different in feel with new voiceover and great animated elements.


Over the last year or two we have been working to get our google analytics profiles under control. When they were initially setup there wasn’t much future thinking involved. At the time it wasn’t the go to metrics source for our sites, so I am not surprised that it was developed a bit hastily. We don’t yet have a perfect picture. We are still gaining access to analytics on several key sites, but now we can at least put out the first OSU Big Board. Essentially a list of the top 50 used sites at OSU.

This list is based off page views per day. There are some notable caveats to this list that I will try to highlight after. For comparison the OSU Home Page or front page comes in at 47,893 page views per day. All data was averaged from September 1st, 2012 and June 30th, 2013.

1. “Online Services” – 154,664 – This is the backbone of the university. I will surmise that this will forever be the most used online entity at OSU. All audiences use this for various reasons. Class registration, schedules, grades, transcripts, employee benefits, pay information, general account information.

2. OSU Main – 32,085 – Includes the top tier links for OSU and all of the audiences specific landing pages. Also includes a few micro sites. This is essentially everything that makes up OSU’s homepage except for the front page itself.

3. Course Catalog – 28,212

4. Ecampus – 13,885

5. Admissions – 11,261

6. OSU Search – 7,107 – Search results pages and a small amount of people that go to the search page instead of using the toolbar.

7. Housing and Dining Services – 4,705

8. Extension Service – 3,938

9. Calendar – 3,807

10. College of Public Health and Human Sciences – 3,522 – Credit them for having a single site that contains most of their college pages/entities. It is a larger site to manage but benefits from greater exposure for all parts.

11. OSU Cascades Campus – 3,288 – I expect to see this grow as they become a full four year university.

12. College of Business – 3,007 – Again benefiting from a single site for most of their departments and programs.

13. Financial Aid and Services – 2,687

14. Information Services – 2,082

15. College of Engineering – 2,038

16. College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences – 1,968

17. College of Veterinary Medicine – 1,886

18. Office of the Registrar – 1,785

19. News and Research Communications – 1,715

20. Human Resources – 1,521

21. College of Pharmacy – 1,506

22. Computer Help Documents – 1,408

23. Business Affairs – 1,284

24. Graduate School – 1,253

25. Campus Map – 1,236

26. Career Services – 1,205

27. College of Science – 970

28. Oregon 4H – 929

29. Employment Opportunities – 890

30. College of Education – 885

31. OSU Foundation – 879

32. Research Office – 858

33. College of Agricultural Sciences – 845

34. New Student Programs and Family Outreach – 790

35. Student Computing Facilities – 787

36. Summer Session – 647

37. Facilities Services – 634

38. Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life – 560

39. College of Liberal Arts – 529

40. Student Leadership and Involvement – 500

41. Business Centers – 489

42. Visit OSU – 478

43. Commencement – 445

44. Brand Guidelines – 434

45. Transit and Parking Services – 412

46. Academic Affairs – 409

47. Counseling and Psychological Services – 388

48. Administrative Leadership – 361

49. Powered by Orange – 312

50. Memorial Union Program Council – 311

Notable Exclusions

There are several sites that we don’t have access to that seem like they would get a lot of traffic. Those include the Alumni Association, International Programs, the College of Forestry, OSU Library, Student Health Services and of course our Athletics site and several other academic related departments and programs. Applications like Banner, Blackboard, MyTime and others are likely very heavily used but because of their third party status we aren’t able to integrate our profile.

I will update this information a couple times throughout the academic year. We will include data on sites that move up and down this list and try to identify indicators for that movement.



This is a quick video tour of our new office space. It is also a test run of a new toy that Justin put together. He picked up the new GoPo HERO3+ and built a motorized brushless gimbal. Which of course means, a thingy that helps keep the camera stable and smooth while you move around.

The test turned out well. He tossed on a warp stabilizer in premiere for kicks, but honestly I think it wasn’t worth it. You can see a little bit of the warp side effects when you first come down the stairs. Otherwise it provided a really smooth hyper stable shot. This isn’t our first venture into “steadicams”.  We tried something called a Cowboy, which was borderline a scam. We went with an actual steadicam, but the lack of uber forearm strength has really limited our abilities. This contraption is very lightweight making it easy to get the shot. You can also do it 4 or 5 times over, which we all know is what we really need to get it right.

Toss that on top of the freaky high quality image that you can get from the newest Go Pro Hero3+ and you have a pretty sweet rig. Next we need to take it out to the track or in the field somewhere to give it a real test.



Santiago Uceda presented at the UCDA conference

Santiago and I had the honor of presenting the closing talk at this year’s University and College Designers Association (UCDA) conference in Louisville, KY. Here are the slides from our presentation on content marketing and the role that designers can play. So glad we had the chance to share some of our talented team’s work and showcase some of the great content marketing efforts that other companies and schools are doing. Five OSU staff members were able to make it this year.

Teresa Hall from University Marketing also presented a session on how Your Brand is More Than Just a Pretty Logo.

– David

This next June will mark seven years from when I started working in the Marketing Department as an intern. From there transitioning to where I am today in Web Communications.

During that time rumors about moving offices always seemed to persist. Every other month there was a different remodeling, renovating, redesigning or re-something idea floating around. There is nobody to blame really. Universities are notoriously slow and cumbersome when it comes to things like this. Toss in the fact that most of the people in our department are dreamers and you end up with an ever evolving sense of possibilities!

Well it finally happened. Essentially we kicked out the Geospatial Services group in the basement of Adams. They definitely got the crappy end of the stick on that one. I feel for my friends in that group. I will miss the ever-present smell of toast, wafting down the hall, in the morning. After they moved we went to work as a team. Cleaning, painting, laying new wood floor (pretty hoss for a bunch of web geeks), putting up the trim and eventually putting together what can only be described as an Ikea office showroom.

Immediately as you come down the stairs you see our chalk wall of productivity. This is space for Dave to layout our current and upcoming projects. Think wall sized gantt chart


If you turn to the left you will now see our cozy little living room space. I envision doing some of the more mundane tasks while lounging on the couch half asleep. It is a little hard to see but we also have the most glorious rug. It has a moose-like animal on it. I feel like it is a work of art and have a hard time stepping on it. Callie picked it out and will receive a 5% per month pay increase for excellent rug taste. At least that is what would happen if I had any say/control over such things. For the greater good it is probably best that I do not.


Here is a good look at the general office setup. We all get our own desk space and grid like shelving unit. You can add cubbies, drawers or cabinets to fit your own personal style. We certainly haven’t figured everything out with this new environment, but that will come with time. We might also end up hating each other, it is hard to forecast. Either way I feel like it will work itself out.


Lastly, we have a nice section for our interns. Since over the years they have done most of the work around here we figured they should also get a nice clean work space. If you are a bright person and want to continue doing all of our work as an intern shoot us an email, we are pretty much always hiring.


I forgot to get a picture of our new video editing suite, but it is also pretty incredible. It will be a big asset for our projects and random youtube video watching abilities (always during lunch…).  Below is a list of things we have learned mixed in with things that I think we will have to conquer as a group.

  • Temperature: It is pretty impossible to please everyone. It seems like it is boiling lava hot or frigid. Still have to find that middle ground.
  • Music: I like to blare my music loud and I have been known to listen to a new hit jam 10 times in  a row. You can assume that nobody else on the planet would enjoy that.
  • Assembling that much Ikea furniture sucks. We need special interns just for that.
  • Using a nail gun makes you feel like a tough guy.
  • Smells: You can use your imagination here. There hasn’t been any big problems yet, but it seems like an inevitability at this point. Somebody is going to bring in some sort of stinky egg lunch and the whole office will notice.
  • By moving to the basement we have taken small steps in eliminating all contact with other humans. Sometimes stray customers from parking services happen by, but someday I am confident we can get that to zero incidences. 
  • Having this space has spurred the idea of doing potluck breakfast once a month. The first one was fantastic, I gorged myself on bacon products. The only downside is knowing that I have to wait a full month until the next one. 



July and August were all about getting rid of the (awesome) commencement stories we worked so hard on in the spring and replacing it with awesome content that could see us through the summer and straight into school. Here’s a look at the stories we took down.

previous homepage stories

Stories up on the site at this time include:

Floralia: I can’t get rid of this beautiful site we (and by we, I mean Kegan) created. I still love it so much. The site features a quick story I wrote, video by Darryl and lots of HTML5 moving photos & other awesome bits and pieces.

Board of Trustees: This homepage feature is a link to our new leadership page for the Board of Trustees. We’ll keep it updated as we go through the confirmation process, but will probably remove it from the homepage pretty soon? We’ll see.

Making an Impact: A young-alum story about a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova.

For the Sport of it: Did you know Oregon State had a winning bass fishing team? Me either. This story by Colin explains…

Creating great writers: A feature about EVERYTHING Writing at Oregon State: from a new partnership with a nonprofit in east Oregon, to the new low-residency MFA in Bend, to talented students choosing Oregon State over world-class programs like Iowa. Big things are happening for writers here.

SMILE!: A feature about Oregon State’s SMILE (Science & Math Investigative Learning Experiences) program, which encourages underserved youth to see themselves as scientists.

As for video views, Bollywood Dance the Harlem Shake are KILLING it right now. Maybe we should just dance our way into the school year.

top 10 videos

We were also really proud to release the new Beaver Nation commercial, which our team as well as Marketing has worked so, so hard on.

top 5 new videos

A lot of this traffic was thanks to a big push on social media. Here are a few of my favorite comments we received.








Releases about our scientific research remain our highest viewed:

top news releases

Thanks so much for reading this post and the last one. Now that we have our format down, you’ll be seeing these every two months. One thing everyone was interested in was seeing a traffic report comparing our colleges. Ask and ye shall receive:


My takeway from these numbers is that strong content breeds page views. Summer has been a bit slow for us all, but I’m finally feeling more in the swing of this still-new job (I passed the six month mark this month – woohoo!) So I think September and October will bring us a wealth of new content, fun new projects and learning experiences all around.


Each time a homepage story is uploaded, one is taken down. When it is, we make sure to take a look at the analytics of the stories we remove. Here’s a look at the pageviews of previous homepage stories:

previous homepage stories

Many videos are also attached to these homepage stories. Here’s a look at the analytics from the most popular videos on our YouTube channel currently.

top videos

The takeaway: people like dancing. People also like research and scientific things …just not as much.

The Oregon State Experience video has been a great hit with multiple audiences. Here’s what one prospect says about it:

I’m from Brazil and my dream is to study and live in the U.S. I’ve been searching and comparing some universities, and after reading about it and know a little about the university, I had no more doubts… My choice is Oregon State, and I’m already starting to get ready to try my admission for 2014!

And here’s a current student’s view:

I chose to go to Oregon State and I am from New Jersey. My four years at Oregon State have transformed me from a shy and unmotivated individual into the person I am today. I am poised to be a huge part of the theme park industry and I have OSU to thank. I will miss Corvallis and Oregon so much after I leave. But everyone should know that OSU has a place for them and is a great, stress-free place to live 🙂

top new videos

The takeaway: Between The Trees was an experimental video we produced during commencement, and it’s gotten a good amount of traffic. Maybe experimentation is good. It also makes sense that a popular athlete, Stephanie McGregor, got the most views of any of our commencement videos.

Commencement was a very important area of interest for us for the weeks surrounding graduation. The stories were as follows (some are still online while others have been removed to rotate new stories in):

•Commencement 2013: Building community (Eder Mondragon)
Eder came from a Hispanic family in the Dales & excelled at OSU. He hopes to go on to serve other communities in need of bi-cultural leadership.

•Commencement 2013: Accelerating his future (Ryan Connolly)
Ryan – a business major – started a company while studying at OSU, and will continue working with it after graduation

•Commencement 2013: Halfway around the world (Alex Gulick)
Alex Gulick was a biology major. She’s headed to grad school, probably, after some high profile internship plans. Her story focused on her international experience and how OSU helped her focus her career goals

•Commencement 2013: ‘Challenge yourself’ (Alfonc Rakaj)
Speaking of high-profile internships, Alfonc interned with the US House of Reps & Scottish Parliament. His story is about being an international student at OSU, finding “family” here and getting as much as you can out of the college experience

•Commencement 2013: Loving learning (Hyung Seok Lee)
Hyung also brought us the international angle. He talked about the INTO Program since he’s part of their first graduating class (the program has been around at OSU for 4 years now). He talked about his transition from being a below average student in South Korea to excelling at OSU.

•Commencement 2013: Moving forward (Alexa Ortiz)
Alexa was a student athlete, a rower at OSU, and studied zoology major. She’s going to vet school at Tuffs in the fall. Her story discusses athletics & trying new things at college

•Commencement 2013: ‘People matter the most’ (Stephanie McGregor)
Stephanie was one of OSU’s favorite gymnasts, but not many people knew that she had a near-perfect GPA in the college of Engineering. She talks about leaving her gymnastics team and her feelings about the future after a solid OSU education

And data on the video component of those stories:

commencement videos

The takeaway: Again, cute gymnasts get lots of views!

News & Research Communications is another area of interest. Here’s the data from May 15-July 1.

top releases

The takeaway: The “Boys will be boys” release was picked up by a variety of high-profile sources, which accounts for the major jump in views. Pageviews are generally strong for research-based news content.

We’ll keep these running regularly from here on out! Thanks for reading!


Floralia website screenshot showing model at the fashion show

Our team came up with a great microsite recently. It was one of those projects that grew organically out of collaboration and experimentation…nothing about it was planned in advance.

Darryl was working on a video for the Spring Fashion Show put on by the School of Design and Human Environment. One of our best kept secrets is that OSU has one of the nation’s top fashion design programs, so it made sense to give this video more of a platform to raise its profile.

Continue reading

video tracking shot via sled
Darryl Lai being pulled by lead sled dog Justin Smith. Both are Web Communications staff members.


You might wonder how the title of this relates to the above photo so let me try and establish the scene. Darryl (AKA “Da-REAL Deal”) squirreled himself into some kind of tiny sled. The reason this tiny sled exists still evades my comprehension. Justin then attached this strange sled to his waist much like a sled dog. This weird setup was an attempt at getting a tracking shot of a cross country skiier. The idea was that the skiier would come at them while justin ran along pulling Darryl on his tiny sled.

The trouble was that it absolutely didn’t work. The motion was so rocky that it really didn’t turn out well. Now I didn’t watch further than the first 30 seconds and they are very good at post processing so maybe it will be usable. However, I kind of doubt it. The purpose of this post is to show you what it takes to make really high quality work (in any field). You have to be excited about the possibility of failure. You have to continue to try new things, take leaps of faith, screw up and hopefully do better next time.

This isn’t supposed to be a warm and fuzzy motivational pitch this is just simple fact. If you want to do anything great (doesn’t matter what it is) you have to try everything. No matter how crazy or weird it might seem. You have to do whatever it takes to get that epic shot.