Chelsea Samantha

Thrifty data: Using Student Search Behavior to best spend your budget​


Data is king. In digital marketing, where everything can be tracked and measured, data can help inform marketing strategies and create ever-more personalised student experiences throughout the recruitment process.  

“Data is a key metric we use to ensure we are leveraging our resources wisely. Data can inform us of market opportunities as well as potential obstacles.”, says Marci Mazza, LPC, Executive Director of Enrolment, National Louis University. 

Data can also help save costs by determining which marketing activities are delivering the most value and are worth spending our resources on — a dilemma that has persisted since the old days of newspaper and television ads. 

As the age-old saying goes: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. – John Wanamaker  

We usually know that marketing efforts are bringing in results, but as to which campaigns those successes can be attributed to is not as clear cut.  

Data in digital marketing should have solved this problem, but it has also introduced a new one: the reality is that the insurmountable amount of data we now have access to makes it incredibly easy to get lost in the weeds of data analysis.  

There are too many data points and points of engagement. It is harder to master managing this data, than collecting it in the first place.  

So, what’s the way out of this data saturation, and how can you harness data to best spend your marketing budget on student recruitment? 

One answer would be to invest in cross-platform, real-time tracking. This would allow you to identify the most effective marketing channels and campaigns on an aggregate level so you can allocate your resources accordingly.  

“Data helps to inform how we prudently allocate recruitment and marketing spend throughout the fiscal year.” – Marci Mazza, LPC, Executive Director of Enrolment, National Louis University. 

Additionally, proper analytics can also help calculate Enrolments per Referral (EPR) and bring more clarity to your marketing spend at a more granular level.  

By taking the number of visitors each of your marketing channels generates, and matching it with the number of students enrolling in the coming year, you can: 

  • Compare the impact of different marketing channels on student recruitment 
  • Estimate the marketing cost per student 
  • Calculate the additional number you can reach with a given marketing and recruitment budget 

Tracking the conversion of visits generated by each channel to information requests, which are then logged into your CRM system, can also allow you to eventually track students from the first time they get in touch with the university to when they receive their confirmation letter and register on campus. 

Ultimately, data can help you squeeze every penny of our marketing budget by helping you understand your audience and ensure that the right messages get to them. Most importantly it can show you which half of your marketing efforts are wasted.  


Related articles:

Segmenting and targeting international students

Increase lead conversion to boost enrolments

Use insights from data to enhance recruitment strategies

Building a digital presence across international student journey touchpoints




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