A case study with Erik Edmonds
Senior Director of Digital Marketing @ Archer Education
Working with QuanticMind, Archer Education was able to:
Reduce CPL by an average of 19% for six Universities
Implement robust campaign segmentation
Employ granular audience targeting strategies
Utilize various bid automation functionalities
The partnership we have is very strong; very dynamic. The QuanticMind platform has been extremely valuable for us and from a customer service standpoint, they have been exceptional. They have played a significant role in the success that we’ve seen with our business over the last couple of years.
The higher education landscape is constantly changing and evolving, yet two things perpetually remain true: sustainable enrollment growth is an absolute necessity and student recruitment grows ever more competitive. To stay relevant and continually engage the next generation of learners, Colleges and Universities know that their key to success lies in the smart execution of multi-touch digital advertising campaigns. With the marketplace so saturated, though, keywords are extremely expensive: searches on degree programs alone consistently cost upward of $50 and diploma-related keywords are close behind. At these high rates of investment, marketers in the sector often find it challenging to spend with the efficiency required to operate profitably.
Enter Archer Education; the performance marketing agency offering targeted full-lifecycle enrollment, recruitment, and retention services for higher education institutions. Archer’s digital marketing team boasts an unrivaled combination of in-house technology, higher-education expertise, advanced reporting, research and analytics that ultimately help its partner institutions reach, enroll, and retain right-fit students.
The digital campaign strategy of each client under the management of Archer’s Agency Services is overseen by Erik Edmonds. “On a day-to-day and month-to-month basis, my team and I are responsible for the Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and Display investment for over 20 Universities,” he elaborates. “We’re primarily marketing Masters-level degrees, whether that’s MBAs (Master of Business Administration), MEDs (Master of Education), or MSNs (Master of Science and Nursing), but we’re not just limited to those: we also do Undergraduate and different certificate-based programs as well. At our core, our goal is simply to drive high-quality inquiries that ultimately apply and enroll in our clients’ educational programs – at the lowest cost possible.”
Crafting a Partnership Driving Peak Performance
As part of these efforts to grow University brands and turn prospective students into paying academics, Archer Education teamed up with QuanticMind back in early 2018 so as to leverage our industry-leading bid optimization technology and engage the expertise of our in-house search marketing savants.
The first accounts Erik placed on our platform were those of six new Universities Archer had secured around the same period. “I remember thinking when we were onboarding these brands that the single biggest area of opportunity would be with bid management,” he explains. “We immediately integrated their accounts with QuanticMind and began identifying areas for optimization. The most urgent need they each had was to lower their respective cost-per-lead (CPL). Before transitioning to us, they were all significantly overpaying for traffic which was negatively impacting their primary KPIs. Bids were being adjusted to the point where they were starting to see uncontrollable gains in CPL.”
Erik and our team of experts worked closely on the creation of a cohesive search strategy that would drive down these costs, placing a focus on robust campaign segmentation, granular audience targeting, and the utilization of various bid automation functionalities. “Our first initiative was to set up separate brand and non-brand bid policies so that we could manage our approach to each independently,” Erik recalls. “All of these online schools have a ground location, and the closer that their traffic is to their location, the higher the conversion rate is, from lead to application. With this at the top of mind, we proceeded to break out non-brand bid policies by area-of-study or by program and then in-state versus out-of-state. This essentially allowed us to set appropriate CPL targets based on backend performance metrics to ensure we’re optimizing around profitable leads, and then really increase our aggression in areas that perform well for our clients and extract incremental volume from other areas without sacrificing profitability as a result.”
Success Breeds Success
The outcomes that these changes generated were remarkable. “We saw tremendous improvement right away. It wasn’t even close”, Erik says. Period-over-period, QuanticMind empowered Archer Education to reduce total CPL across the six accounts by 19% while simultaneously driving more traffic and dramatically increasing lead volume. “The partnership we have is very strong; very dynamic”, he adds. “What we’ve achieved together has been fantastic. I have worked with a number of other bid management tools in my career, and QuanticMind has by far had the best offering in terms of being an additional layer of support.”
The performance uptick we were able to showcase here laid the foundations for future successes and ultimately put Archer Education in a position to win campaign management for 16 additional universities six months later. Erik onboarded their accounts to QuanticMind and quickly there were similar significant improvements to report in terms of non-brand cost-per-leads and increases in lead volume. CPL was cut by a total of 10% for that second wave of new clients.
“The QuanticMind platform has been extremely valuable for us and from a customer service standpoint, they have been exceptional”, Erik reflects. “They have played a significant role in the success that we’ve seen with our business over the last couple of years. Long may it continue.”