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Google Analytics Case Study: Childtime and Tutor Time Learning Care Centers

La Petite Academy, Childtime, and Tutor Time Learning Centers are the second-, third- and fourth-largest childcare centers in North America. They are collectively managed by a single organization, Learning Care Group, which recently decided to make their websites a major portion of their marketing effort. Learning Care Group increased their online advertising and redesigned websites to better match the message of each brand.

The Problem

To test the effectiveness of the new strategy, Learning Care Group required systematic, meaningful business metrics to identify the ways that visitors used the sites and how the sites grew their business.

They decided to take the approach of three different kinds of online advertising: Internet Yellow Pages, AdWords, and standard media buys.

The Approach

Learning Care Group’s agency of record, re:group, invited Pure Visibility in to provide internet marketing as part of their larger integrated marketing plan. Pure Visibility recommended the implementation of Google Analytics because of its business-focused orientation and detailed data categorization capabilities. There were two major goals in this effort.

The first was to provide accurate data and reporting. The second was to identify the behavior of market segments, particularly the segments coming to the site through online marketing. Our analysis emphasized web-based conversions from their Yellow Page Advertising and Google AdWords advertising. This effort characterized and analyzed the behavior of its website visitors to identify opportunities for improving conversions of both types of leads.

Pure Visibility also added tags to the incoming Online Yellow Page listing data in order to specifically track the visitors from that category. We already had analytics data set up for the AdWords campaigns, so we were able to add the IYP data as a category of referrals, along with organic and PPC traffic.

Three major aspects of user behavior were analyzed, including:

  • Conversion rates from specific parts of the website
  • Conversion funnels using particular content
  • Bail out rates by different types of visitors.

Because the site depended on a complex handshake dynamic with lengthy, non-human readable URLS submitted to an off-site vendor to determine site locations, Pure Visibility created a series of filters to simply categorize the steps in the conversion funnel.

This approach allowed the funnels to be described in meaningful ways to the non-technical users who were trying to determine a simple way to measure traffic in their site.

Results

The most important initial information provided to the client was accurate, differentiated information for incoming traffic. Google Analytics allowed the client to determine explicitly traffic proportions, conversion rates, and the cost per conversion from the different marketing channels.

This clarity in and of itself was a huge improvement over the existing state of the website analytics, which up to that point had been provided as a single block of undifferentiated visitor traffic.

We then went deeper into analytical domains that would tell us who the visitors were and what they did once they got there.

Analytics Helps us Tell a Clear Marketing Story

The analytics tool also allowed us to describe the behaviors of visitors to these websites in terms that the clients, experts in traditional marketing, could easily understand.

First, we identified the patterns of consumers arriving through two key channels: Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) and Pay Per Click (PPC).The behaviors of visitors from these channels on the site tell us both about their expectations and their success in matching those expectations. We found that:

  • Different pages in the website serve different sales cycle stages.
  • IYP visitors converted best from the information dense sections of the site.
  • Paid Search Visitors converted equally well from both the low-density and high-density section of the site.
  • Link titles and menu text did not accurately convey the purpose of those pages to website visitors.

In short, we found that IYP visitors had lower conversion rates on certain clickpaths than PPC visitors. We also found that PPC visitors, while more likely to leave immediately, were more likely to become leads than IYP visitors once they started to move around the site.

These 21st century findings can be applied to traditional marketing philosophies to improve the websites and better serve Childtime and Tutor Time’s parents.

Essentially, we determined that consumers who came from the IYP and PPC channels were at very different stages of the sales cycle, and as a result they behaved in different ways.

Because Paid Directories are more specific and focused in their search structure, IYP visitors coming to the websites had already done some exploring. They understood the lay of the land, and were now considering and narrowing their alternatives before buying.

As a result the client could design pages for a mindset that included:

  • Narrower terms and concept categories
  • Location is probably a more important factor
  • Questions are focused and targeted on topics like safety, curriculum, hours, etc.

Paid search visitors, in contrast, were earlier in the sales cycle. They were curious about everything, but may dismiss a website on a gut whim reaction. We recommended that the client design pages that were for a mindset that was:

  • Still learning about the topic space, so is less picky about the information available
  • Using general terms and searches
  • Comfortable with broad cross-category inclusion
  • Gave access to rapid, low-detail information queries of multiple candidates and concepts

Our entire approach is based on this understanding of how people buy. But one of the exciting things about websites is that, if properly handled, they can be configured to meet the needs of nearly ALL visitors, regardless of their place in the sales cycle.

Analytics Drives Specific, Usable Recommendations

Our recommendations based on these findings were as follows:

  1. Create separate landing pages for incoming IYP visitors and Google AdWords visitors
  2. Create focus and density of content for IYP visitors to help them make a final decision
  3. Change the descriptions of the link titles in order to make them better match the expectations of visitors selecting them
  4. Eliminate one particular internet marketing source whose cost per lead was 500 times higher than any other kind of internet marketing
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