In 2016, we came in alongside one of our partner agencies to assist a college (now university) with digital marketing efforts, specifically their Google Pay-Per-Click campaigns and some Facebook ads. Over 5 years later, we still have a thriving relationship and are helping to boost their enrollment through digital ads and strategy. Here’s what we did and what those efforts created.
Stage 1 – The Audit
Another company had previously set up Google Ads and had been running them for the client. Unfortunately, the campaign was set up incorrectly in an intentional attempt to hide data from the client (on a side note, this is a tactic commonly employed by broadcast media companies that have moved to digital and companies touting their “proprietary software.” If you cannot see all the data, including keywords, clicks, and costs in Google Analytics, that’s a big red flag – you should not be dependent on the agency to see how you are doing with no checks and balances.). So, while we could not see the details of what they had done, we could see some of the data, statistics, and issues at hand based on what we were provided in reports.
Because the college did not have access to their old Google Ads account, we recreated the account from scratch based on best practices and some of the previous data that we did have access to. We also implemented additional changes to the account including:
- Removing wasteful keywords
- Keyword research to find additional opportunities
- Added ad extensions
- New ad text relevant to specific keywords in corresponding ad groups
- Implementation of proper tracking
Stage 2 – Immediate Campaign Changes
The recommended changes were implemented and results were seen almost immediately. When we sent the first report to the client after a month of running ads, the reply we received was “It’s great to see so much improvement! How did you to it?! We’re spending about the same amount…?”
With approximately the same amount of budget, we saw increases such as:
- 407% increase in impressions
- 1,014% increase
- 120% increase in CTR
Measured conversions were also seen for the first time (there were 2 compared to 0 in the previous months). All of this data was based on the reporting provided by the previous agency.
So, while two conversions sounds like nothing (and it really isn’t anything), it was proof that something was working. However through further digging, we found that the way conversions were being tracked was just wrong and incomplete. While early indication was good that things were on the right path, the next step was to get that running right. We found alternative paths that people were taking that weren’t being tracked, additional subdomains not previously disclosed, and other important tracking points. Conversions were reconfigured through Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics to truly measure the success of the campaign, and to create conversion data to be utilized in optimizing campaigns to make sure we were attracting the right people not just users.
As of 2021, the Google Ads campaign alone sees over 100 conversions per month.
Stage 3 – Additional Campaigns and Consulting
Shortly after beginning the Google PPC campaign, we began working with the college to create Facebook ads and Instagram ads to target prospective students and their parents. This also evolved to LinkedIn ads for graduate students. The end result was an increase in site traffic and overall reach, and ultimately a significant increase in applications due to a multi-faceted approach with multiple touchpoints and greater brand awareness.
The college also went through multiple significant changes throughout the engagement. This included a name change with a corresponding URL change and moving to university status (amongst other major changes). During this period we consulted with the university from a digital perspective for their communication strategy, development of strategy for SEO, and worked with the agency handling their website development to ensure a successful transition and continued growth.
And the future only looks brighter. As we continue to partner with the college, now a university, we continue to bring strong results and help ensure growth the the acquisition of new students with a comprehensive approach to student acquisition. Are you with a college, university, or paraprofessional organization looking to grow? Send us a note and let us know, and we’ll let you know how we can help you grow…