Our March Madness Bracket by Audit Score

April 7, 2015 Brad Perry

Congratulations to the Duke Blue Devils on their amazing season and the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball national championship. They proved on the court that they are indeed 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 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 each school’s basketball teams can play ball, we wondered if their digital teams 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 websites marketing technology was 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. The audited sites are listed here:

School University Site Athletic Site
Albany http://www.albany.edu/ http://www.ualbanysports.com/
Arizona http://www.arizona.edu/ http://www.arizonawildcats.com/
Arkansas http://www.uark.edu/ http://www.arkansasrazorbacks.com/
Baylor http://www.baylor.edu/ http://www.baylorbears.com/
Belmont http://www.belmont.edu/ http://www.belmontbruins.com/landing/index
Buffalo https://www.buffalo.edu/ http://www.ubbulls.com/landing/index
Butler https://www.butler.edu/ http://www.butlersports.com/landing/index
Cincinnati http://www.uc.edu/ http://www.gobearcats.com/
Coastal Carolina http://www.coastal.edu/ http://www.goccusports.com/
Davidson http://www.davidson.edu/ http://www.davidsonwildcats.com/
Dayton https://www.udayton.edu/ http://daytonflyers.com/
Duke http://www.duke.edu/ http://www.goduke.com/
Eastern Washington http://www.ewu.edu/ http://www.goeags.com/landing/index
Georgetown http://www.georgetown.edu/ http://www.guhoyas.com/
Georgia http://www.uga.edu/ http://www.georgiadogs.com/
Georgia State http://www.gsu.edu/ http://www.georgiastatesports.com/
Gonzaga http://www.gonzaga.edu/ http://www.gozags.com/
Hampton http://www.hamptonu.edu/ http://www.hamptonpirates.com/
Harvard http://www.harvard.edu/ http://www.gocrimson.com/landing/index
Indiana http://www.iub.edu/ http://www.iuhoosiers.com/
Iowa http://www.uiowa.edu/ http://www.hawkeyesports.com/
Iowa State http://www.iastate.edu/ http://www.cyclones.com/
Kansas http://www.ku.edu/ http://www.kuathletics.com/
Kentucky http://www.uky.edu/ http://www.ukathletics.com/
Lafayette http://www.lafayette.edu/ http://www.goleopards.com/index-main.html
Louisville http://louisville.edu/ http://www.gocards.com/
LSU http://www.lsu.edu/ http://www.lsusports.net/
Maryland http://www.umd.edu/ http://www.umterps.com/
Michigan State http://www.msu.edu/ http://www.msuspartans.com/
Mississippi http://www.olemiss.edu/ http://www.olemisssports.com/index-main.html
NC State https://www.ncsu.edu/ http://www.gopack.com/index-main.html
New Mexico State http://www.nmsu.edu/ http://www.nmstatesports.com/
North Carolina http://www.unc.edu/ http://www.goheels.com/
North Dakota State http://www.ndsu.edu/ http://www.gobison.com/
Northeastern http://www.northeastern.edu/ http://www.gonu.com/
Notre Dame http://www.nd.edu/ http://www.und.com/
Ohio State http://www.osu.edu/ http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/
Oklahoma http://www.ou.edu/ http://www.soonersports.com/
Oklahoma State http://go.okstate.edu/ http://www.okstate.com/
Oregon http://uoregon.edu/ http://www.goducks.com/
Providence http://www.providence.edu/Pages/default.aspx http://www.friars.com/
Purdue http://www.purdue.edu/ http://www.purduesports.com/
Robert Morris http://www.rmu.edu/ http://rmucolonials.com/
San Diego State http://www.sdsu.edu/ http://www.goaztecs.com/
SMU http://www.smu.edu/ http://www.smumustangs.com/
St Johns http://www.stjohns.edu/ http://www.redstormsports.com/
Stephen Austin http://www.sfasu.edu/ http://www.sfajacks.com/
Texas http://www.utexas.edu/ http://texassports.com/index.aspx
Texas Southern http://www.tsu.edu/ http://tsuball.com/
UAB http://www.uab.edu/home/ http://www.uabsports.com/index-main.html
UC Irvine http://uci.edu/ http://ucirvinesports.com/fanzone/TogetherWeZot/index
UCLA http://www.ucla.edu/ http://www.uclabruins.com/
UNI http://www.uni.edu/ http://www.unipanthers.com/
Utah http://www.utah.edu/ http://www.utahutes.com/
Valparaiso http://www.valpo.edu/ http://www.valpoathletics.com/
VCU http://www.vcu.edu/ http://www.vcuathletics.com/landing/index
Villanova http://www1.villanova.edu/main.html http://www.villanova.com/
Virginia http://www.virginia.edu/ http://www.virginiasports.com/
West Virginia http://www.wvu.edu/ http://www.wvusports.com/
Wichita State http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/ http://www.goshockers.com/
Wisconsin http://www.wisc.edu/ http://www.uwbadgers.com/
Wofford http://www.wofford.edu/ http://woffordterriers.com/
Wyoming http://www.uwyo.edu/ http://www.gowyo.com/
Xavier http://www.xavier.edu/ http://www.goxavier.com/

Before we dive into the brackets and reveal our Final Four, we wanted to look at some general trends across the 128 websites.

Among the 64 schools in the tournament, the average website had 23 tags. Leading the pack were the Wofford Terriers with 53 tags.

So what are the schools using their tags 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).

What tags are being used?

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.

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 a consistent basis. We also wanted to know if schools with more students or bigger endowments outperformed there 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.

We found that athletic sites received higher audit scores than .edu counterparts. We also see that private schools outperformed their public counterparts.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for- The LCG/Observe Point Bracket. In order to make it to the Final Four, schools were evaluated using a different metric each round.

Second Round
Observe Point Audit score (university .edu site)

Third Round
Observe Point Audit score (official athletics site)

Sweet 16 %
Pages Tagged (university .edu site)

Elite 8
Pages Tagged (official athletics site)

Congratulations to Southern Methodist University, Xavier, Wyoming, and Northeastern!


About the Author

Brad Perry

Brad Perry has been Director of Demand Generation at ObservePoint since June 2015. He is, in his own words, “unhealthily addicted to driving marketing success” and has demonstrated his unrelenting passion for marketing in various verticals. His areas of expertise include demand generation, marketing operations & system design, marketing automation, email campaign management, content strategy, multi-stage lead nurturing and website optimization.

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