Case Study: Education Leads at 10x Efficiency with Facebook Ads

 In Case Studies, PPC and Remarketing

Case Study

 Education Leads at 10x Efficiency with Facebook Ads

Attracting Qualified Students For Higher Education at $15/Lead

Our client is an accredited for-profit college offering degree programs in creative disciplines for students seeking professional careers in areas like film, acting, and dance. The marketing goal is to generate leads from interested and qualified students that already have very strong creative skills.

Bottom-line results

$10-$15

Facebook/Instagram CPL

15K+

Leads Generated in 12 months

250K+

Clicks from Facebook/IG ads

3M+

Prospects reached

The Challenge

The client charged us with lowering the cost of acquiring a qualified student; a target which hovered between $100 – $200 per lead. And at the same time to grow the top funnel in volume so the in house sales team can increase enrollment substantially for the following year.

The OpenMoves team had to develop a sophisticated multi-channel marketing strategy, which included SEO, organic social media marketing, Google Ads, and a heavy investment in Facebook/Instagram paid media. The FB/IG PPC strategy proved to be the primary growth engine for this client, with more than 15,000 leads generated at an average cost per lead of under $15 over the last 12 months.

The Facebook / Instagram Strategy

Interestingly, the outstanding success of Facebook/Instagram media buying was not actually expected during the initial planning phase of the project. Both OpenMoves and our client had initially planned to devote more budget to search than social, and the collective expectation had been for leads to cost between $100-$200/each. When we saw that Facebook was showing signs of greatly beating that expectation, we adjusted accordingly and now the great majority of paid media centers around FB/IG.

What drove this impressive efficiency on Facebook? A few key strategic elements included,

  • Lookalike Audiences with Strong Underlying Data. The most effective prospecting strategy has been Lookalike audiences. Especially important was careful data sourcing at the outset – although the client did not have much digital acquisition data to use for Lookalike audiences, they did have strong data from offline events, creative groups and other lead sources. Carefully collecting, cleansing and grouping this data allowed us to start our FB/IG program with very robust LL audiences.
  • Complex and Layered Audience Strategies. We didn’t simply use LL audiences alone to reach new users. Instead we worked to develop key demographics data about the target audience including age, location, income, and ways to use Facebook’s interest categories to increase audience relevance. Combining all these elements with the powerful Lookalikes described above lead us to precise audience targeting at considerable scale.
  • Powerful and Varied Video Creative. Our client had a major advantage moving into the FB/IG medium. As a school focused on media production, they had the ability to create multiple high-value video ads, focused uniquely on target programs and varied and tested over time. We’ve found for most programs that video outperforms other content types and provides high engagement, CTR, and conversion rates.
  • Robust Conversion Data, Consistent Over Time. Another strength of this program was a clear conversion action, a form-fill, measured correctly by the Facebook Pixel. Because of the scale of the program, Facebook was able to generate substantial conversion data for each AdSet and optimize effectively across factors like placements and bids. By consistently using the Conversions objective and always having sufficiently sized and scaled AdSets, we were able to get the most out of Facebook’s algorithmic optimization processes.
  • Channel + Business Fit. There was simply a great fit between the FB/IG channel and the target audience, business, and goals. Unlike in search, the market has not become saturated/commoditized, allowing for reasonable media cost. The visual ads options on FB/IG allowed our creative message to shine. The audience was there in scale and interest. The inherent nature of social advertising allowed the message to be shared and grow in earned media. All together, FB/IG was simply the right channel for this client.

The Results

Our client had tremendous growth in the 2018 class and is looking forward towards another growth year in 2019. On Facebook Ads in particular, some of the core data points included,

    • More than 15,000 total leads from October 2017 – October 2018
    • Under $15 average cost per lead
    • Some programs had under $10 average cost per lead
    • More than 3,000,000 unique people reached with ads
    • Over 250,000 total website clicks

Target CPL ~10 time less than initially anticipated!

In speaking about the results of the Facebook/Instagram media program, the client’s CEO commented,

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“This education PPC project is an example where all aspects of marketing came together to form a hugely successful outcome. Our client has a great brand and a great business, with a strong overall marketing presence and a great in-house team. It was an fundamentally an offer that people wanted. Combined with a diligent, creative, best-practices PPC project that found product/channel fit fast and executed effectively, OpenMoves found a path to growth about 1,000% more effective than expected.”

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Conclusions

This education PPC project is an example where all aspects of marketing came together to form a hugely successful outcome. Our client has a great brand and a great business, with a strong overall marketing presence and a great in-house team. It was an fundamentally an offer that people wanted. Combined with a diligent, creative, best-practices PPC project that found product/channel fit fast and executed effectively, OpenMoves found a path to growth about 1,000% more effective than expected.

In-Market Audiences