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5 Essential Optimization Tools for Education Marketers

October 25, 2018 Digital Media Solutions

The ability to analyze and optimize campaigns, making rolling adjustments for continued performance improvements is key to the success of education marketers. In this article, we dive into five essential tools that help empower education marketers to maximize their digital campaigns.

Essential Education Marketing Optimization Tool #1:

Lead Hygiene

Essential Education Marketing Optimization Tool

Filtering out unqualified prospects before they even reach your admissions team is a quick way to boost lead quality at the onset of a campaign. While education marketers can work with lead vendors to add qualifying questions (i.e. prior college experience for a degree completion program), unqualified leads can still sneak in. But if you have validation rules within your lead management platform, you can block all but the prospective students that match your qualifications from reaching your admissions team.

Checking for duplicates is another common form of up-front validation that can be performed in many lead management tools, as long as duplicate rules (what data points to match on) and time frames are clearly defined.

Up front lead hygiene validations allow your admissions team to spend more time focusing on qualified prospective students instead of unqualified individuals.

Essential Education Marketing Optimization Tool #2:

Robust Capping Functionality

Many lead management systems offer some type of capping capability, allowing you to dictate the volume of leads you’ll accept from vendors during a specified time period, but some have more robust functionality than others. Aside from the typical monthly capping functionality, some lead management providers offer additional functionality, including automated daily capping.

The ability to set daily caps is key for ensuring vendors don’t deliver disproportionately high volume at the beginning of the month, which could create a backlog and make your admissions team less effective. Monthly lead pacing should be checked regularly so cap adjustments can be made to ensure lead flow is as consistent as possible.

Essential Education Marketing Optimization Tool #3:

Detailed Paid Search Analysis

According to the DMS Q2 2018 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review, paid search tends to be one of the top-performing sources of higher education prospects, as these prospects may be further along in the funnel and more actively searching for a school or program. The right analytical tools can take paid search campaigns to the next level, allowing for detailed analysis and optimization at the keyword level.

Aside from standard Google data that provides front-end tracking of keywords that drive the most volume at the lowest costs, some lead management platforms enable marketers to tie in milestone data, enabling marketers to accurately track cost per application, enrollment or start at the keyword level. This type of detailed analysis can better inform your paid search team, empowering them with the data to bid up, bid down or cut certain keywords based on their conversion performance.

Dayparting analysis is another way to ensure paid search spend is maximized, as certain hours of the day or night may provide minimal or no enrollments. Removing those time blocks could be a quick way to reduce inefficient paid search spend.

Essential Education Marketing Optimization Tool #4:

Comprehensive Vendor Performance Analysis

Quality can vary significantly from one lead vendor to another, but simply looking at a cost per enrollment (CPE) for a particular vendor as a whole could result in a missed opportunity. Some vendors may excel in a certain program area, despite overall sub-par performance. Conversely, top performers may not perform above average for all programs or campuses.

The ability to easily slice and dice lead data in a variety of ways allows you to work with your vendors on making adjustments, including price or cap changes and the programs included on each vendor’s allocation.

Essential Education Marketing Optimization Tool #5:


Many education marketers, especially those offering primarily campus-based programs, know the importance of geotargeting.

Many education marketers, especially those offering primarily campus-based programs, know the importance of geotargeting. But many education marketers fail to refine their geotargets as much as they should. It’s a common practice for education marketers to set up radii around campuses, but not dive deeper into analyzing geo-based performance.

Use of a  tool that easily allows for detailed mapping and zip code level analysis could lead to additional optimization opportunities. There may be pockets within your accepted radius that provide strong volume but generate few enrollments. Finding these pockets is the first step in getting inefficient zip codes removed from your accepted list.

Sparkroom Offers All of These Features and More

The level of analysis outlined in this article may sound overwhelming, but with the right tools in place, it doesn’t have to be. Sparkroom performance marketing technology, a proprietary technology of Digital Media Solutions that is also licensed by a long list of education marketers, gathers, translates and reformats data from multiple sources to provide holistic views of marketing performance. Connecting pre-lead and post-conversion data, Sparkroom allows enrollment marketers to easily draw insights and optimize campaign performance. Click here to request a Sparkroom demo.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: DMS) is a leading provider of technology-enabled digital performance advertising solutions connecting consumers and advertisers within auto, home, health and life insurance plus a long list of top consumer verticals. The DMS first-party data asset, proprietary advertising technology, significant proprietary media distribution and data-driven processes help digital advertising clients de-risk their advertising spend while scaling their customer bases. Learn more at

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