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October 17, 2011 Digital Media Solutions

How a Premium Pricing Strategy Led To a 30% Decrease in Cost Per Start

One of the most difficult balancing acts in enrollment marketing is helping clients meet very specific enrollment goals while at the same time fairly compensating affiliates for tailoring campaigns to achieve those goals.  We now have a powerful tool to help our clients do just that.

Using the recently released pricing groups feature in Sparkroom performance marketing technology, our team can now work closely with our school partners and affiliates to execute premium pricing strategies, designed to target specific areas to drive up inquiry volume.

For a recent test case in September, we were struggling to reach volume goals for a specific campus for one of our clients. During a 10-day period, with 3 days of advanced notice, we customized a Premium Pricing Strategy that offered 120% normal CPI for this specific campus. The results were as follows:

  • 294% increase in volume as compared to the previous 10-day period
  • 600% increase in application rate
  • 30% decrease in cost per application
  • Volume from top quality segment increased by 377%
  • 5% increase in contact rate

It’s important to note that these results were not just a result of increasing the price per inquiry; they were only made possible by the detailed analytics that the Sparkroom platform offers. For example, how do you choose which providers to offer the premium pricing to? How long should the premium pricing window run? How do you manage invoicing and reconciliation with vendors?

By using the real-time analytics in the platform, we can identify narrow segments that are falling behind on their enrollment goals, as well as the affiliates that are best suited to fill the void. Sparkroom pricing groups then allows users to customize inquiry prices based on combinations of specific characteristics such as campus, program, zip code, and a series of other criteria, and offer affiliates a slightly increased CPI to deliver volume to those segments that need it most. Using the dashboard, we can then track the impact of these campaign changes in real-time, adjust accordingly, and automate reconciliation.

Ultimately, we were able to dramatically improve quality along with volume during this test.  There is no doubt that this test was a success and this strategy will continue to become a bigger part of our business, providing benefits to our school partners as well as the affiliates they work with.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, LLC (DMS) is the leading global martech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand direct and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers. DMS deploys a robust database of consumer intelligence and leverages massive proprietary media distribution to provide customer acquisition campaigns that grow businesses. Continuing to experience explosive year-over-year growth, DMS has been continuously recognized on the Inc. 5000 list, securing its sixth consecutive ranking in 2019, and the Entrepreneur magazine 360 list. Earlier this year, DMS announced it is anticipating becoming a public company under a reverse merger deal with Leo Holdings Corp. Named one of America’s “Best Places to Work” by Inc. magazine and awarded the Excellence in Lead Generation Award by the LeadsCouncil, DMS brings together some of the industry’s most knowledgeable people, efficient processes and sophisticated technology across the digital marketing spectrum. For more information about DMS, visit Keep up with DMS news at and connect with us on LinkedIn at

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