June 14, 2012, 10:52 AM

Loyola University Chicago gets high marks for search marketing

Targeting search keywords to educational tracks brought in more students.

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Getting into a top university isn’t easy, but it can be just as hard for college administrators to find the right student applicants. With a better way to target search marketing campaigns for its educational tracks, Loyola University Chicago has increased its number of leads from paid search ads and produced sharply higher conversion rates, the university says.

“We now have the winning combination for long-term growth,” says Nicole O’Connell, director of enrollment marketing at Loyola University’s Chicago campus.

Loyola last December worked with search marketing services firm WSI Digital Marketing to deploy a new search marketing platform, Kenshoo Enterprise, that includes tools for adding and managing keywords for its paid search marketing campaigns. By researching the conversion rates associated with particular keywords, Loyola’s enrollment marketing team and WSI were able to improve the university’s spending in paid search campaigns within two months for each of its various colleges. As its paid search ads brought in more quality leads, the university realized higher conversion rates while reducing its cost per acquisition

“Leveraging Kenshoo technology, enrollment marketing was able to optimize and recommend budget reallocations based on monthly campaign results to continuously improve the efficiency of our pay-per-click advertising budgets as measured by cost per lead,” O’Connell says.

The university’s School of Education enrollment marketing campaign, for example, cut its cost per acquisition by 50%, O’Connell says. And the enrollment marketing campaign for the Quinlan School of Business cut cost per acquisition 35% while increasing its conversion rate 58%, she adds.

Overall, Loyola increased its leads from search marketing 413% and reduced its cost per lead by 36% during the first two months of using the Kenshoo system, the university says.

Encouraged by that performance, Loyola will rely even more on paid search in future campaigns. “We plan to vastly expand our pay-per-click program during the next fiscal year,” O’Connell says.

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