Marketers Can No Longer Justify Media Budgets Without Delivering Quantifiable Marketing ROI

No More Crossed FingersBusinesses of the 21st century are streamlined in both budgets and resources. As a result, spending without proof of marketing ROI is no longer an acceptable practice.

The History Of Marketing Campaign Measurement

Blind Belief: In the early days of my career, “it all works together” was a phrase we commonly used to explain the performance of cross-channel marketing plans. Sure, we had no means in place to evaluate the success of each channel. But it didn’t matter. We believed every element of the campaign was necessary, and that was enough.

Excitement About Quantifiable Tracking: As digital marketing became more prevalent, performance tracking became easier. Marketers calculated impressions, clicks, conversions, open rates and anything else we could quantify. Campaigns were optimized based on this information, and we felt good about the impact on performance. But when campaigns fell short of their objectives, we often just blamed it on incomplete tracking.

Focus On Last-Click Attribution: More recently, with tracking tags and pixels, marketers started tracking the last source before a conversion. Sure, last-click attribution didn’t tell the full story. But it was better than any other tracking system we’d ever had, so we fully adopted it.

How Last-Click Attribution Impacted Media Campaigns

With the last click of a consumer journey tracked, it was very easy to prove the value of media channels that were active inquiry generators. But top-of-the-funnel channels did not appear to perform as well. Consequently, channels driving conversions were adopted in volume, frequently at the expense of brand awareness drivers. As a result, the lift provided by awareness campaigns was lost, and campaign performance did not achieve its full potential.

Despite the broad adoption, most marketers have realized last-click attribution tracking on its own is not a proper measurement of campaign performance. Last-click attribution assumes only one touchpoint occurs before the conversion, and we know that is not accurate.

Why Cross-Channel, Multi-Touch Attribution Tracking Is So Important

Cross-channel marketing attribution tracking allows marketers to demonstrate the value of everything they do. By providing timely, insightful and actionable data with which marketing campaigns can be holistically (versus channel-by-channel) optimized, attribution tracking also assists in the effective optimization of marketing efforts.

With a realistic attribution model in place, marketers can understand how well a holistic marketing program is achieving its objectives plus how significantly each component is contributing to the success. This information allows for successful campaign optimization and the achievement of better results with less time and effort.

Ultimately, cross-channel attribution boosts marketing ROI.

Sparkroom Can Help You Set Up Cross-Channel, Multi-Touch Attribution Tracking

It’s easier than ever to get started with cross-channel attribution tracking because Sparkroom now offers it for free within our Sparkroom performance marketing technology. That’s right – free! Currently in beta, the cross-channel, multi-touch digital attribution dashboard within Sparkroom technology connects pre-lead and post-lead data to provide a holistic view of campaign performance.

If you’re a current Sparkroom client, just ask your account executive to help you get your cross-channel, multi-touch attribution dashboard enabled.

Not yet a Sparkroom client? Click here to request a demo of our award-winning Sparkroom performance marketing technology.

Remember, every day without cross-channel attribution tracking is a day you’re wasting marketing effort.

What to learn more about attribution tracking? Click here to download Cross-Channel Marketing Attribution: From Comprehension to Deployment to Predictive Planning, a whitepaper published in partnership with LeadsCouncil.

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Can You Guess the Top 3 Converting Higher Education Media Channels?

In 2016, 80% of all higher education conversions came from just three media channels. Do you know which channels drove such significant volume? Read on to find out.

#1 Converting Channel for Higher Education: Internal Website

The internal website channel is historically the strongest first-party channel in terms of share of voice (SOV), conversion rate (CVR) and share of conversions (SOC). It did not disappoint in 2016. Last year, according to the Sparkroom 2016 Year-End Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review, almost one-fifth of all leads and more than two-fifths of all conversions came from school websites.

The SOV and CVR were flat year over year (YOY). Meanwhile, the share of conversions grew by 3.6% from 2015 to 2016, which means the internal website channel is more important than ever. Schools that are successfully optimizing their website content and user experience with strong SEO efforts will reap the rewards in the years to come.

Internal Website SOV vs SOC vs CVR - By Quarter 2015-2016 - Sparkroom Data

#2 Converting Channel for Higher Education: Affiliate Data Lead

Despite a lower than average conversion rate, affiliate data leads secured second place when ranked by share of conversions in 2016, because it is easy to scale third-party vendor campaigns. Almost half of all inquiries and one-fifth of all conversions generated in 2016 were from this channel.

The affiliate data lead SOV was down just 3.9% YOY in 2016. Considering all the talk about transitioning away from third-party sources, this is not much of a regression.

Meanwhile, the conversion rate for affiliate data leads strengthened. Averaging 3.0% in 2016, the affiliate data lead CVR was essentially flat to the average 2.9% rate achieved in 2015. But with maturation still to come (the data was pulled in early February), this conversion rate will rise further over the prior year’s rate. What’s more, the 2016 conversion rate increase was due to performance at the end of the year. Affiliate data lead conversion rates were relatively flat from Q1 2015 to Q2 2016, fluctuating only between 2.7% and 2.9%. But the conversion rate for both Q3 and Q4 2016 was above 3.0%. Due to flourishing interest in high-quality affiliate data lead sources, we expect to see the conversion rate continue to sneak up in 2017. Download the Sparkroom 2016 Year-End Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review to read more, including details about the average CPI and cost per conversion.

Affiliate Data Lead SOV vs. SOC vs. CVR - By Quarter 2015-2016 - Sparkroom Data

#3 Converting Channel for Higher Education: PPC

The PPC SOV was 14.3% in 2016, just slightly higher than the share achieved by this channel in 2015. This minimal growth is demonstrative of the limited opportunity for continued scaling within this channel as intensified competition persists.

From 2015 to 2016, the conversion rate for PPC inquiries fell from 10.0% to 9.0%. Although the 2016 conversion rate will rise as leads continue to mature, a 10% YOY decline is significant. Furthermore, looking quarter by quarter, there is clearly a downhill trend, which may be a sign of saturation as institutions expand their investment in this channel.

Despite the conversion rate slide, PPC was a top converter and took third place with 17.2% of all conversions in 2016.

Paid Search SOV vs SOC vs CVR - By Quarter 2015-2016 - Sparkroom Data

Click here to download your free copy of the Sparkroom 2016 Year-End Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review, which includes a chart that shows the performance of all channels on page eight.

Sparkroom Can Help You Maximize High-Converting Channels

Are you getting as much as you can from the top three higher education channels? Fill out the form below for a free audit of your enrollment marketing campaign. We’ll take a look under the covers to see if there are optimizations that can boost your conversion volume, potentially even while reducing spend.



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Last-Click vs. Cross-Channel Attribution (and Why Cross-Channel Is Far Superior)

Last week, I attended the UPCEA Annual Convention in Chicago and found myself discussing attribution a number of times. I realized, after a couple of conversations, that there is confusion regarding the types of attribution available and the value of each. This post looks at last-click versus cross-channel attribution to explain the benefits of seeing the full picture.

What is last-click attribution?

There are endless methods for calculating attribution. Because it is the easiest, last-click attribution has been the most popular for quite some time. Last-click attribution gives 100% attribution credit to the very last touchpoint before a conversion. By doing so, it fails to give any credit to top-of-the-funnel efforts.

Last-click attribution does not show you the full picture of your marketing performance because it doesn’t consider the impact of or lift from branding efforts. In fact, optimizations based solely on last-click attribution can sometimes negatively affect performance. But we’ll get into that later.

What is cross-channel attribution?

Cross-channel attribution evaluates every touchpoint from impression to conversion to determine whether or not it supported the student journey. As a result of this data, which includes both branding and demand-generation efforts, the most popular paths to inquiry are identified.

Cross-channel attribution shows how significantly each component of a marketing campaign is contributing to the success of the global campaign. This information allows for effective optimization of marketing efforts leading to better results with less time and effort.

What can go wrong when you optimize solely with last-click data?

Because last-click attribution data hones in only on the final touch and does not look at the full consumer journey, optimizations based solely on this data can remove top-of-the-funnel branding initiatives that deliver an un-measured but impactful lift to bottom-of-the-funnel, inquiry generation efforts.

I talked with Ross Bucholc, director of search marketing at Sparkroom, to learn how last-click attribution optimizations can impact search campaigns.

  • Spend reduced for non-branded campaigns. Non-branded search campaigns are more expensive than branded campaigns because there is more competition, the inquiry volume is lower and the cost per inquiry is higher. But non-branded campaigns target prospective students early in the funnel when they are just starting to look at education options. Prospective students often click on a non-branded ad then days later (often as many as 30-60) click on a branded ad and convert. Last-click attribution tracking does not show this pattern. Therefore, optimizations based on last-click data might reduce the emphasis on and budget for non-branded campaigns.
  • Research days get cut. Saturdays and Sundays are considered the “research days” in search marketing, when prospective students search non-branded terms to learn more about their options but then wait until later to submit an inquiry. Optimization based solely on last-click attribution can result in research days being removed from a campaign. But if your campaigns are not live, someone else will get the research traffic. And that school might get the inquiry that follows as well.
  • Device attribution is not measured correctly. Mobile, tablet and desktop devices are used very differently. Tablets usually deliver the lowest inquiry volume and therefore the smallest budgets. Ross believes tablets are a research device, and he’s excited to have more cross-channel attribution data to see if he’s right. If so, tablet campaigns might be a new opportunity to drive low-cost brand awareness for higher education institutions.

How do you get cross-channel attribution data?

To get cross-channel attribution data, you need to connect pre-lead and post-lead data. In a very simplified manner, this takes three steps:

  1. Set up pre-lead tracking. All of the marketing touches from impressions to inquiry need to be tracked and tied together. Google Analytics does a great job of this.
  2. Set up post-lead tracking. Your CRM is probably already set up to track all of the touchpoints from inquiry to start.
  3. Connect pre-lead and post-lead tracking data. You can now do this within Sparkroom performance marketing technology. Our cross-channel, multi-touch attribution tracking solution (currently in beta) connects pre-lead and post-lead data so you can see the full enrollment journey, evaluate campaigns and make strong optimizations based on full-funnel performance.

From the first touch to the last click to post-inquiry performance, Sparkroom pulls it all together.

The cross-channel, multi-touch attribution dashboard within Sparkroom performance marketing technology provides industry-leading campaign tracking, analysis and optimization. It links third-party data sources with school data sources to combine pre-lead and post-lead data into a single view. Sophisticated visualizations allow users to analyze the impression-to-enrollment performance for enhanced campaign optimizations.

Cross-Channel Multi-Touch Attribution Tracking within Sparkroom Performance Marketing Technology

Cross-channel, multi-touch attribution tracking within Sparkroom performance marketing technology lets you:

  • Visualize the most common student journeys across digital channels
  • Understand which combination of marketing channels best leads prospects to inquire, enroll and start
  • Assess the holistic performance of digital marketing campaigns
  • Find out which channels are the openers, influencers and closers
  • Realize the value of branding and other top-of-the-funnel campaigns
  • Better optimize campaigns by maximizing ROI based on more than last-click data

Already a Sparkroom technology user? This new feature is available to you free of charge. Contact your account executive to get started.

Not yet a Sparkroom technology user? Click here to get a demo of our award-winning software, including our new cross-channel attribution dashboard, today.

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Just Released! The Long Awaited Sparkroom 2016 Year-End Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review

The highly demanded Sparkroom 2016 Year-End Review was published yesterday and is filled with lots of valuable information regarding the inquiry generation and student recruitment activities of higher education institutions. Highlights from this report are detailed below.

Inquiry Volume Was Up in 2016, Led by Online Programs

Total inquiry volume rose 2.4% in 2016 with the bulk of the increase coming from online programs. There was strong YOY volume expansion during the first two quarters, but then volume slipped during the second half of the year.

The volume changes for online and campus-based leads varied dramatically, as shown in the chart below. Online programs experienced volume growth each quarter while campus-based lead volume was down YOY beginning with the second quarter of 2016. Click here to download the report.

2016 YOY Higher Education Inquiry Volume Change By Quarter

Conversion Rates Held Steady in 2016

The average conversion rates across all leads was 7.4% in 2016. A rate of 7.7% was achieved in 2015, but additional maturation of the inquiries from late in the year should get the 2016 rate at least even with that.

Conversion rates for online programs were superior to the rates for campus-based programs in 2016. The average conversion rate for online programs was 8.0% in 2016 compared to 8.2% in 2015. For campus-based programs, the average conversion rate was 7.0% in 2016. Click here to download the report.

Average Higher Education Inquiry Conversion Rates - 2015 and 2016

Despite Efforts to Grow It, First-Party Volume Share Stayed Flat

In 2016, slightly more than half (53.7%) of volume was generated by third-party sources. This share was down just 0.7% from 2015, despite the industry-wide drive to grow first-party sources. The split between first-party and third-party sources vacillated throughout 2015 and 2016. Advertisers achieved the record first-party share of voice in January 2015, with 51.0% of all inquiries coming from branded sources. Click here to download the report.

Higher Education Inquiry 2016 Share of Volume - First Party vs Third Party

Expectations for 2017

The Sparkroom team believes the upcoming year may look very different than the past few years in terms of higher education inquiry generation. With the current political climate, many are anticipating revisions to higher education regulations that result in an increase in higher education marketing expenditures. In addition, we expect schools will continue to seek opportunities to scale first-party lead generation efforts, including an expansion of social media marketing due to the channel’s continual targeting enhancements. Click here to download the report.

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We’ve Connected the Dots ― Attribution Tracking Now in Beta

Announcing Cross-Channel, Multi-Touch Digital & Inbound Call Attribution Tracking

Campaign optimizations are only as good as the data on which they’re based. That’s why we are beyond excited to announce that we have connected the digital and inbound call touches across the entire student journey. Now you can link performance data from the earliest impression all the way through inquiry, enrollment and beyond.

The award-winning Sparkroom performance marketing technology gathers, translates and reformats data produced from multiple sources to provide holistic views of your campaigns. Our performance dashboards bridge the gaps where the competition falls short because we bring together more data to show a more complete picture.

Cross-Channel, Multi-Touch Digital Attribution Tracking

― Now in Beta

From the first touch to the last click to post-inquiry performance, Sparkroom technology provides industry-leading campaign tracking, analysis and optimization. Our new cross-channel, multi-touch digital attribution dashboard links third-party data sources (like Google Analytics) with school data sources (like CRMs) to combine pre-lead and post-lead data into a single view. We display this data through customizable visualizations that allow for simplified analysis of impression-to-enrollment performance.

Cross-Channel Multi-Touch Digital Attribution Tracking from Sparkroom

The new Sparkroom cross-channel, multi-touch digital attribution dashboard lets you:

  • Identify the most common student journeys
  • See which channels are the best openers, influencers and closers
  • Understand which marketing efforts, including top-of-the-funnel branding channels, best combine to drive inquiries and conversions
  • Analyze the holistic performance of digital marketing campaigns (not just the last click!)
  • Use cross-channel attribution to optimize marketing performance
  • Maximize efforts across the complete marketing funnel

Click here to learn more about our cross-channel, multi-touch digital attribution dashboard or request a demo of Sparkroom performance marketing technology.

Inbound Call Attribution Tracking

― Now in Beta

For years, the tracking of inbound calls was managed through significant manual effort. An inbound call generated from a click-to-call search ad, web page or offline media would be entered into the CRM by the person receiving the call. As a result, the data was prone to human error. Not anymore, thanks to inbound call attribution tracking within Sparkroom performance marketing technology.

We’ve integrated with call tracking systems to connect pre-lead call data with post-lead data and provide the feedback loop needed to track the performance of inbound call campaigns. Now, Sparkroom technology users benefit from automated inbound call tracking that enables immediate performance analysis of call data. This new feature has ended the days of delayed, manual work to match conversions across various systems.

Inbound Call Attribution Tracking from Sparkroom

While providing a more complete, more accurate view of performance, inbound call attribution tracking within Sparkroom performance marketing technology resolves a pain point felt by many in the lead generation industry.

Are you at LeadsCon this week? If so, stop by Meeting Room #1 or email info@sparkroom.com, and we’ll connect you with one of our team members out in Vegas to get an onsite demo of our new dashboards and tracking capabilities.

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Sparkroom Named Best Agency & Top Innovator in Education

LeadsCouncil awarded Sparkroom with gold and silver LEADER awards for the third year in a row. This year, we received the Gold LEADER Award for best marketing agency in education and the Silver LEADER Award for most innovative company in education.

Sparkroom Gold 2017 LeadsCouncil LEADER Award - Best Marketing Agency Education

Sparkroom Silver 2017 LeadsCouncil LEADER Award - Most Innovative Company

Are we surprised? Not in the slightest. After all, Sparkroom has a long history of providing innovative technology and solutions to higher education institutions across the nation.

Here’s how two of our leaders responded to the news:

I’ve worked with Sparkroom both as a client and as part of the team. From both the inside and outside perspectives, the Sparkroom squad is unmistakably stacked with leaders who understand and anticipate evolving enrollment marketing and management challenges. As a result, they are able to help institutions achieve their most demanding enrollment objectives. ― Marcelo Parravicini, President of Sparkroom

I’ve been working hand-in-hand with college marketers and executives for the past five years. At Sparkroom we tackle every opportunity with a fresh perspective and strategy. We never apply cookie cutter methods because we believe each institution deserves a custom, targeted approach. Rachel Schulties, Vice President of Client Services at Sparkroom

Sparkroom marketing technology and services address the full student lifecycle to help higher education marketers grow their enrollment volume while closely managing the cost of student recruitment. Our full-service solutions are focused on delivering higher-quality student prospects, better conversion rates and holistic campaign performance data to achieve the greatest possible return on investment.

Sparkroom performance marketing technology, a top-choice for higher education lead management for years, received significant enhancements in 2016 including the introduction of campaign dashboards. “The rigorous 2017 roadmap is centered on adding cross-channel and multi-touch attribution capabilities by connecting pre-lead and post-lead data across prospective students’ journeys,” explained Akeel Haider, vice president of strategy and innovation at Sparkroom. “We’re focused on developing features that enable aggregate industry performance intelligence insights and help higher education marketers improve their yield performance.” Stay tuned for software enhancement announcements in the following weeks.

Want to learn more about our award-winning agency and innovative technology? Email Sparkroom at info@sparkroom.com or request click here to schedule a Sparkroom performance marketing technology demo.

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7 Steps to Cross-Channel Marketing Attribution

Cross-Channel Marketing Attribution WhitepaperSpending without proof of effectiveness is on its way out. In truth, it hasn’t been acceptable for a long time.

Businesses of the 21st century are streamlined in both budgets and resources. As a result, marketers can no longer justify media budgets of any size without delivering quantifiable ROI.

Cross-channel marketing attribution tracking and modeling allows marketers to demonstrate the value of what they do. But that’s not all. By providing timely, insightful and actionable data with which marketing campaigns can be holistically optimized, attribution tracking also assists in the effective optimization of marketing efforts. Click here to download our new whitepaper, Cross-Channel Marketing Attribution: From Comprehension to Deployment to Predictive Planning, published in partnership with LeadsCouncil.

Without a doubt, cross-channel attribution is complicated to set up. Though oversimplified, the seven steps below will help you get started.

1. Create your attribution lexicon.

Define your campaign objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs), and make sure everyone is using the same language.

2. Integrate all of your data sources.

Identify one system (like Sparkroom performance marketing technology) to integrate, house and clean all of your marketing and conversion data and translate it, as needed, to ensure the lexicon language is being utilized.

3. Tag everything.

Tracking pixels must be incorporated into the code of every campaign element (display ads, landing pages, email creative, websites, etc.). These pixels power analytics tracking by letting you know when and from where someone has come. In addition, tags can set cookies (code placed on user devices to identify and remember information about an individual). Tags help collect data inclusive of IP addresses, browser information, traffic sources, cookie data and user behavior.

4. Establish a baseline.

Using last-click attribution, establish current performance benchmarks. As you make campaign changes, you’ll be measuring lift in relation to these initial parameters.

5. Build an attribution model.

With so many different approaches available, it’s essential to evaluate methods to determine what will work best for your brand and media mix. Use historical data to test models, and remember your best solution may be a combination of standard approaches.

6. Evaluate your attribution model.

Approximately three months are needed for model training and another three months for optimizations to start impacting campaign results. If you’re not seeing positive performance impact six months after launch, it’s time to adjust your approach.

7. Continually test and optimize.

Even when you see a conclusive ROI from your efforts, you should constantly search for opportunities to enhance your tracking and campaign performance further. Test new channels and monitoring methods regularly and make adjustments as appropriate.

Nothing worth doing comes easy, but having cross-channel attribution tracking in place will make every future decision easier. To learn more, download our new whitepaper, Cross-Channel Marketing Attribution: From Comprehension to Deployment to Predictive Planning, published in partnership with LeadsCouncil.

Click here to request a customized demonstration of Sparkroom performance marketing technology and to get a sneak peek at our soon-to-be-announced cross-channel marketing attribution features.

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Do you have blind spots in your enrollment management strategy?

Here are 5 tips to help you fill in your enrollment management performance gaps

Few marketing or admissions teams have sufficient, actionable insight into the evolving enrollment lifecycle. Without complete visibility into key enrollment performance metrics, the gap between marketing efforts and enrollment outcomes is likely to widen.

Here are five tips from our new ebook, published in partnership with Velocify, to get you closer to seeing your full performance picture.

1. Identify and remove process defects to minimize variability

The close inspection and realignment of operations are required to achieve enrollment management integration and synchronization. This process should begin with a comprehensive analysis of all operational processes and a competitive review. The development of operational strategies should focus on identified enrollment goals, and the execution must be regularly fine-tuned to ensure effective management of recruitment efforts and admissions processes.

Download our new ebook, Mind the Gap Between Marketing and Enrollment: How to uncover and correct the 5 worst performance gaps in enrollment management, to learn more.

2. Integrate your data

Most institutions have disparate technology systems in place to manage the work of individual departments. As a result, data is rarely shared across divisions in a convenient or usable manner, and each team is left optimizing their performance based solely on their own data, which can hinder the higher-level performance. To achieve accurate enrollment insight, data from marketing and admissions (at a minimum) must be integrated into one system to make reports analyzable and insights actionable.

The award-winning Sparkroom performance marketing technology integrates marketing data, automates marketing processes and provides marketing analytics that drive smarter decisions and a more optimized budget. Click here to see how this results in effortless results reporting.

3. Leverage enrollment outcome data to improve marketing spend

Data that illustrates which marketing efforts are driving the highest quality candidates for your institution should be shared between admissions and marketing. Enrollment outcome data can provide marketing with insight into campaign effectiveness. Download our new ebook to learn more.

4. Re-ignite aged leads using lead scoring and data

If a prospective student is inundated in the first 90 days, she may tune you out completely. But it may be possible to re-engage that prospect in a few weeks or months when she is further in her enrollment journey. Data and lead scoring can inform a remarketing strategy to help you re-engage aged inquiries. Request your free enrollment marketing campaign audit to assess your immediate opportunities.

5. Don’t rely on last-click attribution

Analysis of marketing outcomes based only on the last click can be detrimental to the long-term performance of an enrollment campaign. That’s because last-click attribution neglects to account for the support provided by top-of-the-funnel marketing initiatives. If optimizations reduce or remove brand-building activities, the lift they were previously bestowing on bottom-of-the-funnel tactics will be slashed. Inquiry volume and conversion rates suffer when campaign performance is not reviewed holistically. Sparkroom can help you develop a customized, cross-channel attribution solution. Click here for your customized demo of our proprietary technology.

You can create a more predictable path to enrollment by better understanding what is and what is not currently working in your enrollment management approach. Removing the gaps between marketing and admissions is a great place to get started. Download our new ebook, Mind the Gap Between Marketing and Enrollment: How to uncover and correct the 5 worst performance gaps in enrollment management, to learn more.

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The Top 6 Takeaways from the LeadsCouncil 2016 Higher Education Lead Generation Trends Report

During late 2016, LeadsCouncil surveyed higher education professionals to understand industry thoughts about third-party lead generation, lead quality, marketing strategies, enrollment results and more. Listed below are the top six takeaways that all higher education marketers should know. Click here to download the LeadsCouncil 2016 Higher Education Lead Generation Trends report, sponsored by Sparkroom.

1. A greater share of higher education leads are perceived as “quality” than in the past

Approximately one-third (31.4%) of the survey respondents rate more than 40% of their leads as “quality.” This is up from 29.2% the prior year. Likewise, the percent of respondents that felt less than 20% of their leads were “quality” dropped from 46.2% in 2015 to 40% in 2016, which is a positive sign and points toward a future of higher conversion rates. Download the full report to learn more.

What percentage of your lead volume do you consider to be "quality" leads?

2. Finding quality higher education leads is hard

Despite the positive change noted above, finding incremental quality leads is still tough. More than half (57.2%) of survey respondents consider this to be a “difficult” or “very difficult” challenge. Download the full report to learn more.

When you need to increase your flow of quality leads, how easy is it to find the incremental leads?

3. The median CPE from third-party higher education leads is up

Based on survey responses, the median CPE for third-party leads increased by one-third, from $1500 in 2015 to $2000 in 2016, while the median CPE for first-party leads stayed below $750. Not surprisingly, an increasing proportion of people disagrees with the statement, “The lead generation ecosystem is healthy and meets my expectations with regard to overall quality and performance.” Download the full report to learn more.

Rate your agreement with the following statement: "The lead generation ecosystem is healthy and meets my expectations with regard to overall quality and performance."

4. Contact rate is the strongest indicator of higher education lead quality

As expected, “ability to contact” was ranked as the most reliable indicator of lead quality. Consumer behaviors were listed as the next strongest indicator of quality and the top pick for data that survey respondents wish they had more of. Download the full report to learn more.

5. Higher education marketing budgets are being re-allocated toward first-party digital campaigns

Looking toward 2017, survey responses made it clear that third-party data leads and traditional marketing are getting less budget than in the past. Meanwhile, content marketing, paid search, mobile, SEO, email marketing and social media campaigns have growing budgets.

With regard to technology, lead management and marketing automation were most likely to have increased budgets planned. Download the full report to learn more.

6. Confidence with regard to higher education regulatory compliance is higher than in the past

After the higher education regulatory changes of 2011, compliance became a top concern. Since then, lead generation practices have been reformed and confidence levels regarding compliance have turned around. Download the full report to learn more.

Rate the confidence you have in your lead generation partners and your agency partner with regard to regulatory compliance.

Sourcing high-performing leads and quickly evaluating quality is challenging. The best campaigns are built based on a review of school and global data, then carefully monitored and regularly optimized. But, without a doubt, campaign management takes a lot of time and effort.

If you find yourself short on resources, reach out to the experts at Sparkroom. Our enrollment marketing team develops winning, customized student recruitment campaigns by combining and leveraging our decades of higher education and performance marketing experience. Every campaign is uniquely designed based on an analytic review of historical data to incorporate the best cross-device channels and maximize performance while minimizing spend.

Find out what you could be doing better. Click here to request your free enrollment marketing campaign audit.

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3 Tips to Further Align Your Marketing & Admissions Teams

Tight coordination between enrollment management resources is essential to capture prospects on a journey that is increasingly circuitous. Here are three tips to ensure your marketing and admissions teams are aligned.

1. Don’t expect a straight line in enrollment management.

A decade or so ago, marketers regularly talked about the customer journey, referring to a linear path from brand awareness to consideration, intent and purchase. But with the influx of channels and devices, the straight line is all but a distant memory. Marketers who anticipate and plan for an irregular route to enrollment may experience enhanced conversion rates. Download our new ebook, published in partnership with Velocify, to learn more.

2. Take advantage of the enhanced opportunities offered by the new world of media.

The fragmentation of media channels makes it harder to achieve effective reach and frequency, but it also means more opportunity for marketers. Competition for advertising dollars has encouraged platforms to boost their targeting capabilities. Download our new ebook, Mind the Gap Between Marketing and Enrollment: How to uncover and correct the 5 worst performance gaps in enrollment management, to learn more.

3. Make sure your enrollment management efforts are both integrated and synchronized.

An effective enrollment management structure requires the integration of marketing and admissions, as well as a number of support services. But integration alone will not give you the win. To succeed in today’s marketplace, enrollment management efforts must be driven by customer-centric strategies designed to develop and nurture relationships. This can only be achieved through cross-functional team integration and process synchronization. Download our new ebook to learn more.

Are you looking to realign your enrollment management resources to achieve your online program growth goals? Sparkroom can help!

Click here to request your free enrollment management strategy session, and we’ll help you find opportunities to enhance the alignment between your marketing and admissions teams.

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