May 1 has come and gone, and the proverbial full circle is complete. Higher ed marketers are now able to see what campaigns have led to the fruit-bearing deposits whose marketing seedlings you planted a year or so ago.
If you’re laughing out loud right now, then you’re one of the admission and marketing professionals who knows all too well that higher ed isn’t an industry where things like ROI and marketing attribution are always easy to decipher. With ever-changing technology and evolving enrollment needs, planning another year of digital marketing is more challenging than ever.
So how exactly are schools measuring the impact of their marketing channels properly and easily?
One way is through Carnegie Clarity™. Clarity is an advanced tracking tool that collects user data and website behaviors in order to accomplish several things, one of which is marketing attribution. But unlike most analytics tools, Clarity is different because it allows you to track anonymous and known users and then actually append all of those website behaviors to their profile. This means at a glance you can see all the engagement a single user has had beyond first or last touch.
For example, if a prospect engages with a Display ad, later a Facebook ad, and eventually returns to your site organically and signs up for a visit, all three of those website interactions and the behaviors are tied to that user, allowing you to paint a more holistic picture of the journey that led to that conversion. What’s more is all of this user data is represented in a dashboard format, allowing you to view, analyze, and share with numerous stakeholders easily. Even the most sophisticated CRMs and analytics tools require manual effort to query and sift through all that data, leaving you with inaccuracies and a headache—not to mention a huge attribution gap, since most tracking tools only track last touch conversions.
One client in particular is using Clarity’s attribution feature in addition to their CRM to glean insights on their accepted students and all the marketing touch points. We’ve segmented their accepted MBA students and the various marketing campaigns those users have interacted with at some point in the last year via UTM parameter segments. With Clarity, this particular niche MBA program was able to determine that 78 of their accepted students clicked on an ad campaign at some point in their journey. Unlike other tools that have an attribution window of 90 days, Clarity can look back as far as the Clarity tracking was on the site and tie those various interactions to the profile. That’s key for higher ed, as the average search journey for an MBA degree is nine months.
Furthermore, they can see that 81% of those students clicked on a PPC campaign, 20% clicked on a Display campaign, and 9% clicked on other campaigns like e-mail and local media buys. But why do those exceed 100%? Because of segment overlap! This means many of the accepted students who engaged with a campaign actually clicked on two or more campaigns. This is important because, again, most analytics tools and CRMs only capture single source attribution, and first touch and last touch do not paint the full picture for the interactions in the middle. But all of this must be considered when planning a holistic marketing campaign.
Aside from being the ultimate attribution tool, Clarity can do much, much more. You can generate personalized content right on your website, providing a relevant, custom experience to prospects to nurture them deeper through the funnel, without requiring access to the CMS.
Additionally, audience segments can be used as the foundation of your outbound marketing efforts through e-mail, Display, and Facebook. This allows you to customize your audience in a highly targeted way and market to them based on programs of interest, stages in the funnel, and more outside of your website.
So if you are like one of the many admission folks who are scratching their heads this time of year, trying to determine which marketing efforts may (or may not!) be impacting your enrolled students, let’s talk. We can help you plan smarter by providing clarity into the channels that impact your students most.
Angie can be found on twitter @angiemayward