Evidence, Impact, Metrics

Gathering evidence, understanding impact and using metrics

  • Status of this blog

    This blog was used to support the Evidence, Impact, Metrics work which took place in 2010-2011. After the completion of this work, the blog was closed and no further posts will be made.

Feedback from Second Workshop

About This Document

A workshop on “Institutional and Social Web Services: Evidence for Their Value” was held in Birkbeck, University of London on 7 December 2010. This workshop was the second in a series of three which were organised as part of UKOLN’s Evidence, Impact, Metrics activity.

The workshop Web site is available at <http://blogs.ukoln.ac.uk/evidence-impact-metrics/events/workshop-on-institutional-web-sites-evidence-for-their-value/>.

A recent Cabinet Office press release announced a “Clamp down on Government websites to save millions”. This described how “As part of the Government’s efficiency drive, all of the existing 820 government funded websites will be subject to a review looking at cost, usage and whether they could share resources better”. The expectation is that up to 75% of existing Web sites will be shut down and the remaining sites would be expected to cuts their costs by up to 50% and move onto common infrastructures.

This decision was based on a report published by the Central Office for Information (COI) which found that “across government £94 million has been spent on the construction and set up and running costs of just 46 websites and £32 million on staff costs for those sites in 2009-10”. The most expensive Web sites were uktradeinvest.gov.uk (which costs £11.78 per visit) and businesslink.gov.uk (which costs £2.15 per visit).

Are University Web sites next in line? How can we provide evidence of the value of institutional Web sites? How can we demonstrate that the investment in providing Web sites delivers value and a positive ROI? And can we develop a methodology and an appropriate set of metrics which can validate such claims?

This workshop session will address these issues. The workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to describe current activities in these areas and listen to a number of case studies.  During the workshop participants will hear about a methodology which relates the evidence of usage of services to the value provided by the services and explore how this methodology can be used to reflect institutional needs and priorities. The implementation of this methodology in an institutional dashboard will be described. The workshop will conclude by exploring ways in which such approaches can be embedded within an institution and the benefits which can be gained from using shared approaches across the sector.


User Feedback

A total of 14 evaluation forms were returned which asked participants to summarise the action plans they intended to take when they returned to work and recommendations to be made to colleagues. A summary of the responses is given below.

Form No. Responses
Personal Action Plans


  • Check out some of the outsourced services LSE are using.
  • Check out Ranjit’s dashboard offering.
  • Get proper Twitter stats.
  • More iTunes detail.


  • Review use of metrics, particularly looking at how to measure success against benchmarks & goals.
  • Will probably talk to SiD once I’ve identified these in order to access outsourcing vs. doing it in-house.
  • Need to work more closely at social media metrics.


  • Follow up on iTunes U talk.
  • Investigate Mediacall.
  • Continue down dashboard route.


  • Review our plans for sharing / publishing Google Analytics reports with the institution. Take on board Ranjit’s recommendation for how often to report and when.
  • Investigate Mediacall.
  • Continue down dashboard route.
  • Look at costing some of our web services.


  • Meet with other web-related staff to discuss our strategy in light of the issues raised at this event.
  • In particular explore the “dashboard for senior management” idea (of course!)


  • Consider developing a strategy for media service.
  • Would like to re-visit blog posts.
  • Will contribute to UK Web Focus blog.


  • Discussions about Dashboard with the team.
  • Clarify how FOI requests are satisfied.


  • Little specific at present time. However likely to spend some time reflecting on contents of the day and in discussion with immediate colleagues.


  • Look into SiD’s dashboard.
  • Work more closely with our Digital Marketing people who look at GA & SEO, etc.
  • Try & gather some data + metrics about our sites & social media usage.


  • Audit of resources / expenditure.
  • Map this to outcomes.
  • Map outcomes to benefits.


  • Talk to our media service managers about some issues arising from talks.
  • Look into international Web pages and institutional strategy.


  • Write up the main points of the workshop and upload them in my team internal blog.


  • Thinking very carefully about proving evidence of any promotional work (e.g. campaign monitoring).
  • Considering issues of cloud vs hosting (e.g. for blogs/documents).
Action Plans For Colleagues
Form No. Responses


  • More emphasis on value in working methods


  • Feed back to colleagues on other institution’s experience of iTunesU.


  • Ask questions about the kinds of data that we can be gathering now & going forward – and actually identify it + start gathering it!.
  • Do some (simple) calculations to prove the cost effectiveness of some online services vs offline.


  • Visit UKOLN/UK Web Focus blog.


  • Consider how we react to social media + the values involved.


  • Dashboard.
  • Digital marketing should be part of pour team (contentious).
  • Use metrics gathered to try and save out IYS (?).


  • Consider again setting up institutional blogging site.


  • More debate about cloud provision and metrics.


  • More strategic consideration of gathering evidence) both for our own purposes and those of projects we work with/evaluate).

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