March Madness at LCG/ObservePoint

Congratulations to the Duke Blue Devils on their amazing season and the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

On the court, Coach K’s squad proved that they are the number one team in the land. Getting into the big dance is no easy feat. Each of the schools in the 64 team field put in countless hours in the gym, in the film room, and on the road. The results of their hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears were showcased over the past two weeks.

While we know that the school’s basketball teams can play ball, we wondered if their websites were also ready for prime time. Basketball is front and center every March, but university websites are working and public facing each and every day. We wondered, “Who would be the last schools standing if their website’s marketing technologies were put head to head?”

In order to quantify Return on Marketing Investment (RoMT), ObservePoint and Lima Consulting Group (LCG) used ObservePoint’s Audit Score along with several other key metrics such as percent of pages tagged, number of duplicate tags, average load times, and java script errors. We audited both the official university and athletics websites of each of the 64 teams in this year’s tournament. What follows are some insights from those audits and the results of our own LCG/ObservePoint Bracket.

Let’s start by looking at tags.

Who’s using tags and how many?


We see that among the 64 schools in the tournament, the average website had 23 tags. Leading the pack were the Wofford Terriers with 53 tags. Oklahoma State pulls up the rear with only 7.

So what are the tags being used for?

While almost all of the schools in the tournament are using Analytics, Social Media, and Advertising Tags on their websites, only 84% of the schools are using a tag management system (TMS).  Even fewer are using other types of marketing technology. The chart below breaks down the percentage of schools using tags by category.


Which tags are being used the most?

The tree map below gives an indication of which tags these universities are using and how thoroughly they are being implemented. The top number in the tree map box represents the number of schools using the particular tag; the bottom percentage represents the average percent of pages containing the tag. We can see that Google Analytics is deployed by all 64 schools in the tournament and on average is deployed on 54% of website pages.

Can small schools compete?

The top notch resources and facilities of the nation’s largest schools make it challenging for smaller programs to compete at the elite level on the hardwood. We wanted to know if schools with more students or bigger endowments outperformed their smaller, less endowed counterparts in the online space.

As we can see in this chart, there is no clear correlation between resources and Observe Point audit scores. Both large schools and small schools seem to be on an even playing field. There is much room for improvement for all.


How do university (.edu) sites compare to their athletic counterparts? Is there a difference between public and private schools?




















We found that athletic sites received higher audit scores than their (.edu) counterparts. We also see that the sites of private universities outperformed the sites of public universities.



And now, what we have all been waiting for…..

 The LCG/Observe Point Bracket

We put the teams head to head using different metrics in each round.

For the second round we used the ObservePoint Audit Score of the university’s (.edu) site.
The third round was decided using the ObservePoint Audit Score of the school’s official athletics site.
The Sweet 16 and Elite 8 were determined using “percent pages tagged” on the (.edu) and athletics site respectively.

Here’s how the regional brackets shaped up















In the Midwest bracket, Northeastern had a scare in the first round but cruised through the competition to earn a spot in the final four.

Xavier came out on top in the West bracket, narrowly beating out Harvard in the Elite 8.



In the East, Wyoming smashed the competition with high audit scores in both sites and an incredible percent of pages tagged.

SMU faced a stiff challenge from UAB in the round of 32, but it was smooth sailing to the final four after that.

And your your winner of the 2015 LCG/ObservePoint Bracket Challenge is……….

Xavier University!

Congratulations to Xavier University on your website’s superior performance! While your men’s team ended its season at the Sweet Sixteen, your online marketing and IT teams cut down the nets.

86-Audit score for
86 -Audit score for
98% pages tagged for
99% pages tagged for

For everyone else, there’s always next season.