According to the recently released Sparkroom Q1 2016 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review, social media has finally emerged as a robust inquiry generator. This channel's inquiry volume share of voice was up almost two-thirds year over year and is a clear example of the impact technology is having on channel mix and campaign performance.
Facebook advertising is a significant contributor to the volume growth and winning performance of social media within higher education inquiry generation. According to Akeel Haider, vice president of audience marketing at Sparkroom, "There are four primary factors driving this growth ― incremental native advertising opportunities, adoption by more brands, audience reach and improved targeting and tracking capabilities."
The Sparkroom Q1 2016 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review also reports strong volume growth overall for the period. With volume up two percent year over year, the first quarter of 2016 brought in more volume than any other quarter since Q1 2014. While this suggests the potential for a strong year, it is important to note that this growth is heavily focused on campus-based inquiries. Campus-based volume was up eight percent year over year, a meaningful and welcome change from the five percent drop experienced the year prior.
Largely due to strong performance at the start of the year, according to the report, conversion rates were higher in 2015 than in 2014. Conversion rates for the second half of the year were down for all program formats, with rates for campus-based programs remaining significantly above the rates for online programs.
Third-party sources brought in slightly more than half of all inquiries generated during the first quarter of 2016, consistent with recent quarters. Internal websites drove the bulk of first-party inquiry volume while maintaining a double-digit conversion rate. Though small in share, inbound call volume also experienced tremendous growth ― more than tripling year over year, with calls generated through paid search almost doubling. Both phone sources have conversion rates greater than 20 percent.
The Sparkroom Q1 2016 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review covers trends in the inquiry and student acquisition activities of higher education institutions for the period of January-March 2016. Inquiry volume, conversion rates, channel mix, cost per inquiry, program distribution, degree-level distribution and expectations for the remainder of 2016 are addressed with the objective of helping higher education marketers adapt to the continually changing marketplace. The Sparkroom Q1 2016 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review is available for download at Sparkroom.com/
Sparkroom, a leader in performance marketing, provides full-service, data-driven marketing and technology solutions designed to measure marketing effectiveness in relation to customer acquisition efforts. Sparkroom services address the full customer lifecycle, with a focus on delivering higher-quality prospects and better conversion rates. The Sparkroom Marketing Services team focuses on the strategic development and management of media plans that incorporate a variety of performance-