Pivoting Toward Lower CPE for Higher Education Client

BY: Level Agency
July 8, 2019

The moment performance lags, Level Agency makes a plan. When one higher-education client saw costs inching up, and enrollments failing to keep pace, our data and media teams created a three-pronged plan to reverse these trends:

  • Adjusting bids based on call-transfer rates
  • Working with full-funnel attribution data
  • Fine tuning audience segmentation

It worked.

When it comes to any long sales-decision cycle, whether in B2B, high-value B2C, or higher education enrollments, Level’s media buying and data expertise gives our clients a strategic toolkit to deliver the right message to the right customers.

Read on to find out why we chose these three tactics.

The Challenge

A year of carefully-managed media and fresh creative had yielded strong performance for one of Level Agency’s higher education clients. But now, costs per lead were rising. And, the leads weren’t converting as well as expected. Our media and data teams put their heads together and collaborated with the client to form a plan that would ultimately push performance even higher than even in previous well-performing quarters.  

The Plan

Watch Call Transfer Rates
After a lead is captured, it is passed to the client call center for admissions. Looking at transfer rate data, we were able to target high-performing program tracks and adjust bids—we can stomach a higher cost-per-lead if these prospects are more likely to ultimately enroll.

Use Full Attribution Data
By implementing full-funnel attribution data, Level could track prospects along the enrollment journey. This complex integration with the client’s CRM measured not only the ad that ultimately lead to a conversion, but also accounts for every other ad that they were served along the way. With that information, Level’s media buyers were able to optimize media spend toward the long-term growth of the business, and not just which channels are driving the best cost per lead at that given point in time.

Fine-Tune Audience Segmentation
Level media buyers also began a more granular process of segmentation, using custom creative for each segment. For example, if a prospect clicked on an MBA image in a carousel ad, they would then be served MBA-specific ads in the future. Level media buyers used aggregate data from these segments to build lookalike audiences, serving them the same program-specific information. Interestingly, this tactic didn’t yield as dramatic of performance results as the others.

The Results

Taking these steps decreased the overall cost per lead for the client by 13% year over year, with the greatest benefits seen through transfer-rate tracking and attribution-data analysis. At the same time, these steps were able to decrease the cost per enrollment, a trend that has since continued. Cost per enrollment is down 10% year over year and falling.

Level Insight

Just because it worked before doesn’t mean it will always work.

That’s why our media and data teams closely monitor campaign progress. If performance isn’t up to client expectations, we dig deeper.

Make sure that you monitor KPIs and test continuously. Current strategies, even winning ones, demand scrutiny. Build strong agency-client partnerships that are able to ferret out potential challenges and work together to overcome them.

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