Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | July 12th, 2019

Ways to track your marketing spend, optimize your campaigns and find an ROI for your graduate student recruitment campaigns

ROI graduate student recruitment campaignsOne of the biggest questions that universities have about their marketing is related to its effectiveness. How do you know if your marketing spend is making a difference?

If you’re not sure if your recent spike or dip in interest, leads or applicants is related to your advertising, the competition, the economy or something else, you’re not alone. Gauging peaks and valleys and determining the root causes of what’s going on in your funnel can be difficult and often cryptic. Assuming that your marketing campaign is based on a sound strategy and tied to your enrollment goals, the next most important thing you can do related to your spend is to track it carefully so you can use data to optimize your campaigns for greater success.

But what data should you be looking at to gauge ROI? Here are the key metrics that can determine if your efforts are moving the needle.

Digital advertising is measured in 3 key ways (that matter to you): Cost per Click (CPC), Cost per Lead (CPL) and Cost per Acquisition (CPA) – or seated student. This translates to: how much did you spend to get someone to click on your ad, convert into a lead, and then turn into a seated student?

In higher ed digital advertising, you often can’t get a true CPA until you have your final seated class. At that point, you can do a match-back process utilizing your reporting dashboard to see how many seated students came from your marketing. But since that may happen at the end of the year, the CPC and CPL are what you should be measuring and optimizing throughout your recruiting season.

Your digital agency will know what is typical by channel (i.e. LinkedIn vs. Facebook vs. retargeting) and can advise you on whether your campaigns are working or need to be adjusted – monthly, weekly or even daily. It is typical to start with a higher CPC which will lower as your campaign becomes more efficient. This often translates to a lower CPL because the people who are clicking on your ads are more qualified leads.

If you take it a step further and use a sophisticated campaign optimization platform that ties in with your CRM and aggregates all of the data in real time, you can get even smarter with your spend. When you can track every program inquiry back to not only a specific marketing campaign, but also to a particular image, message and ad size, you can powerfully optimize your campaigns and match your enrollment data back to your marketing efforts to prove ROI at the end of the year.

If you’re looking for an agency that is well-versed in digital campaign optimizations, GPRS is your partner. Our proprietary lead optimization system, GP InsightsTM, shows your real-time campaign data and can even display industry benchmark data showing how your peers and competition are trending. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to give you a demo.