Tracking Applications for Higher Education in Google Analytics

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I’ve worked with several colleges and universities in setting up their Google Analytics account. One of the biggest challenges towards a successful setup is the use of 3rd party application systems. Everyone wants to know what sources, mediums, and marketing activities are ultimately driving applications. However, when using a 3rd party application system like,, or some other 3rd party application system, there is an inherent disconnect between your website, the sources of that traffic, its marketing efforts, and the visitors who completes that application on a 3rd party system.

Your website analytics system uses what’s called cookies to store information about your website visitors. When your visitor goes to another website or uses a 3rd party application system, that website is no longer communicating with the same set of cookies or even the same analytics account. This is technical reason for the disconnect. There are Google Analytics methods for cross-domain tracking but that requires the 3rd party application system to install a completely customized set of tracking codes for your specific account which in the real world, just doesn’t happen.

As a result, marketers have been tracking “early indicators” such a people clicking on the apply now button or some other trigger. But they haven’t been able to track actual applications and tie those back to the various marketing efforts that either drove that application submission or were touch-points in a multi-channel marketing program.

Because of this massive disconnect, we built GAFUSION. It acts as centralized conversion database that gathers information from both sides of the “information table” and uses patented matching algorithms to align user’s website cookie data from your website to the applications being submitted through the 3rd party system. A matching algorithm sounds complicated and like it could result in inaccurate representations. It is complicated, but the simplest way to explain why it’s accurate and can’t physically produce false positives is because we use the visitor’s information as key fields between the two disparate systems. For example, if John smith on your website has an email address of, we know it’s the same john smith who submitted their application through the 3rd party application system.

From there, it’s a matter of matching the required cookie data and other relevant information such as degree program, location of application submission, and any other offline touch-points required to form a single view of your application prospect in our GAFUSION centralized conversion database. Our system then processes the data and formats it for input back into Google Analytics using their originating Google Analytics cookie and session data. Now you have your application submissions, whether it’s from a 3rd party application system or a hand-written application delivered to the admissions office tied back to an originating source of that visit directly inside Google Analytics.

You will have all your applications and all the website activities that generated those applications or were touch-points in the funnel in a single reporting system. This system completely bypasses all the traditional challenges of tracking this information in a revolutionary new tracking method. If you’re not convinced or have additional questions, we have a free trial where you can see your data working before you have to commit. You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.