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The challenge

After discontinuation of support for the Google search appliance, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) replaced Google site search with another search tool.

The primary goal for the new site search at BCIT was to help site visitors find the content they need, quickly, without having to make multiple searches.

The results were unsatisfactory resulting in frustration for users, even with extensive customizations to the interface. Ongoing negative feedback and limited options for improvement led BCIT to look at other site search products.

The solution

The team at BCIT and Funnelback worked together to implement Funnelback for Higher Education.

The faceted navigation, people search and related searches were important factors in creating a positive search experience for the team and website visitors.

The result

stats

  • 19% decrease in search refinements
    • 23% drop for returning users
    • 22% decrease for mobile users
  • Visitors that use site search have 5x the goal value or non-searchers (2.4% increase in per-user goal value from search users)
    • Site search users have a per-user goal value of approximately $114, compared to the site average of $23
    • By multiplying the increased dollar value by the total number of search users, BCIT has seen a solid return on investment.
    • Site visitors using Funnelback search are meeting more of BCIT’s business goals.

By the numbers

The approach

The BCIT web services team started their comprehensive research process by evaluating 30 different search solutions and decided on Funnelback after comparing the results of a test indexing of their content.

Funnelback’s Curator tool empowered the team to customize results in the style that matched BCIT’s existing results. The web team at BCIT promoted results to the top of search results pages that answered the most searched terms over the previous year.

The test managed to blend program, course and other content, providing consistently better search results for both academic and other searches. Alan Etkin, BCIT web analyst reports, “We ran a detailed comparison looking at results across 30 search terms, and Funnelback – with basically out-of-the-box indexing – provided better results for 26/30 of the terms.”

Distinct from the earlier solutions, Funnelback allowed BCIT to promote results and appear with the same styling as other organic results.

The knowledge that visitors who use site search are more valuable to the institution has already had a significant impact on their business goals and results.

"When we rolled out Funnelback, we kept the same look and feel of our previous customized interface, so any change in user experience was based on performance, and not design/usability.” - Alan Etkin

The result

Continuing to monitor key metrics in Google Analytics, the team saw that over the first six months with Funnelback, site search users have a per-user goal value of approximately FIVE TIMES the site average - approximately $114, compared to $23.

Site visitors using Funnelback search are meeting more of BCIT’s business goals. The team saw a 2.4% increase in per-user goal value from search users since implementation. By multiplying the increased dollar value by the total number of search users, BCIT has seen a solid return on investment.

Using Google Analytics data to segment new and returning visitors to the BCIT site, the team has seen a significant improvement in user experience. The improvement in information discovery has seen an overall 19% drop in search refinements for new visitors and a 23% drop for returning users. For mobile users, a growing percent of site traffic, search refinements have decreased by 22%.

The BCIT team is now committed to driving more traffic to the BCIT site and encouraging visitors to use internal site search as much as possible.

Looking at our most searched terms over the previous year, we checked their search rankings and promoted approximately 50 to the top of the results. The search refinements for many of these terms dropped by up to 60%.

Alan Etkin
Web Analyst, British Columbia Institute of Technology

The client

BCIT’s renowned applied education and training model is significant to the prosperity of the province of British Columbia and Canada. BCIT has established itself as one of Canada’s leading educational institutions in business, technology and trades programs.

After discontinuation of support for the Google search appliance, BCIT replaced Google site search with another search tool. The results were unsatisfactory resulting in frustration for users, even with extensive customizations to the interface.

Ongoing negative feedback and limited options for improvement led BCIT to look at other site search products.

About Squiz

Squiz helps students and staff focus on just the right actions and outcomes - the completion of the very specific, very important, daily-changing tasks that move them along the path to successful outcomes.

It does this by removing any unnecessary friction between the essential back-office systems of record that power your campus and the interactions that matter on their devices and by squaring the circle between your application infrastructure and your real-world student and staff requirements.

Squiz works with over 130 of the world’s leading Higher Education institutions, from Fordham in the USA to the University of the Arts in the UK and Monash University in Australia.

Every market challenge is the same: students have become customers, and they demand more meaningful digital engagement and services from their learning providers.

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