As a Senior Account Manager at ESM Digital, there are some common questions I have been getting from my clients over and over again. So, if these digital marketing thoughts have crossed your mind, you’re not alone!
I’m worried about the recent data privacy issues, especially around Facebook. Should I be concerned about the future of social media?
If you’ve been wondering what the backlash over the Cambridge Analytica drama will be, you’re not alone. Despite the bad press lately, Facebook remains a core place for advertisers to reach their audience and it is well worth the investment. Most colleges and universities depend on social media for some, if not most, of their inquiries. For instance, when one of my clients introduced Facebook and Instagram into their media mix, their lead volume increased 59 percent and their cost per lead (CPL) decreased 44 percent.
The good news is that until a major competitor enters the market, Facebook (and subsequently, Instagram) will continue to be the place people go to connect and engage with family and friends. And advertisers aren’t backing down either. As long as your performance doesn’t dip and your competitors are also sticking it out, there’s no reason to panic.
There will continue to be changes to Facebook and other channels like Google to create greater transparency and meet regulator demands. As a marketer, I welcome the opportunity to adapt and find creative solutions to these challenges.
If organic reach is declining, will I eventually have to pay for everything?
Like Google, Facebook constantly changes its algorithm. Most recently, in January, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced they were making changes to show users more updates from family and friends, and less from company pages and advertisers. That means as a brand, your page content is getting pushed down in the News Feed. Being the optimist that I am, I believe this opens up a window of opportunity to make your page more relevant and engaging for your community. Make it less about the KPIs (key performance indicators) and more about building an online community that your students and graduates are proud of. And with that focus in mind, you might be surprised by the boost in engagement and therefore reach. Instead of baiting your users by explicitly asking for users to like, comment, or share the post, focus on posting content that’s relevant and engaging – and the authentic engagement will follow!
I’ve seen firsthand how we were able to increase organic engagement 46 percent and organic post reach 20 percent over the previous month. This was done by working closely with the school to get more local and user-generated content (such as reposting or sharing photos students took themselves).
Cost per lead is good to know, but what about cost per start?
Both metrics have a time and place. While it’s important to track leads, cost per lead, and even cost per network on a weekly and monthly basis, it’s also important to look at metrics that prove the worth and ROI. We understand that while keeping a reasonable cost per lead is important, it’s even more important to evaluate the number of starts attained by those marketing dollars. We can even break the data down in various ways depending on your goals. For example, looking at lead-to-start conversion rates by program or by campus is valuable for some schools while others care more about the cost-per-start by channel or by program.
I want to prove the value of view-throughs. Can we track them back to an actual person?
This is a common frustration, but unfortunately, the very nature of view-throughs means the lead didn’t click and offer their information; they were only served the ad and may have clicked and converted on another ad or channel. It is, however, understood that by seeing the ad, it assisted the person in making his or her decision to fill out a form. We often see a high number of view-through leads on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn where users aren’t actively searching, but rather are getting served ads because they are within the targeted demographic. However, there are ways to go beyond standard conversion tracking reported by the engines. Cookies and tracking of all avenues where your leads engage with you (such as through an online chat provider or texting with your admissions team) can help you get a more complete picture of the student journey.
If you have had similar questions or one of yours wasn’t addressed in this post, contact us and we’d be happy to discuss your challenges and how we could partner with you to help solve them.