February 14, 2017

How to Spot a Quality Digital Advertising Report

When it comes to the depth of digital data on the success and costs of your campaigns, there’s a Mariana Trench full – but you might not feel that way when you dive into your campaign reports. Between the acronyms, charts, graphs, and bullet points, it can be hard to determine what’s actually relevant to your school’s goals – seeing the return you got on the investment you made.

So how can you ensure that you’re getting the highest quality digital report with the clearest picture of your campaigns? Ask yourself these five questions to see if your latest digital report has key data that is critical to campaign success.

Does the report include relevant performance metrics that speak to my school’s goals?

Performance metrics are critical to understanding whether your marketing strategy is successful or not. There are a slew of metrics that measure performance for education – so which are the best? Well that depends on the goals of your campaign. Establishing your goals with the team before campaigns start will help make report analysis more focused and relevant. Want to see how many inquiries your ad spend produced? Cost-per-acquisition is a key metric, especially if it splits out different inquiry-generating conversion points like form submissions versus live chats. Interested in whether the inquiries generated are the highest quality each week? Then your firms should be providing insights from your CRM data on how ad-driven inquiries are converting to interviews and enrollments down the line. By ensuring that performance metrics are always presented with a tie to your school’s goals, you’ll know that you’re getting the data you need to execute the correct strategy to drive growth.

Does the report include the targeting that was used for each ad campaign?

Targeting for your campaigns is not a one and done discussion. Google says that the average college student experiences 10,000 digital touchpoints before enrolling somewhere. And with each touchpoint bringing unique messaging and intent, it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle if your targeting isn’t spot on and data-driven. To ensure you’re on track, your digital reports should always highlight what keywords, audiences, behaviors and/or interests your campaigns are targeting. By having information on performance among these groups, you can get insights into the personas you’ve already established respond to your messaging or potentially discover entirely new groups of potential students. This data is critical to ensure your ad budget is not only being spent efficiently, but effectively toward the goals of your overall marketing strategy.

Does the report include a transparent look at costs?

Speaking of budgets – a crucial component of any digital report is cost. We believe 100% transparency in the cost of campaigns is the only way to determine success. Meaning, you know your return on the spend you put in. You should know how much your clicks, and by extension your inquiries, cost and the breakdown of your budget by digital platform and tactic. Knowing this information helps to make informed decisions about where to spend budget – by allowing better analysis of where the most cost-efficient starts are coming from. As more digital channels and avenues to place advertising pop up, transparency in costs is critical to ensure your funds aren’t being spent fraudulently. If costs on digital reports aren’t shown or don’t look quite right, make sure to ask for a full, in-depth look at how, when, where your budget was spent.

Does your report include recommendations for performance improvement and new ideas?

Data is the lifeblood of any digital report – but what insights you glean from that data are just as important. We’ve all been given pages of charts and thought – well now what? A good digital report will not only present the facts but also recommendations on how to improve your education marketing efforts based on that data. That goes both for campaigns going well and not so well. If a tested tactic isn’t producing, you should see the reasons why and expectations of how to move forward based on that knowledge. The second component of good recommendations is new ideas. New platforms and tactics to reach your audience are always developing – and implementing them is critical to staying ahead of the competition.

Is your report customized to your campaign and do you receive regular updates?

Every campaign is different, and your reports should be created to meet those needs. Campaign performance reports should always be 100% custom – featuring the exact information you want to see in the format you want to see it. The benefit of custom reports is not only so that information is the most easily digestible for you, but also for any team members or board members with which you have to share the data. The frequency of reports is also critical – information should be shared proactively on a regular basis. Having to ask for reports, or not seeing data on performance for months raises questions about the quality of the campaign. And when inquiry volume today can affect start goals six months from now, getting routine detailed updates is paramount.

Want to discuss what you are seeing in your digital reports? Reach out to us and we’ll be happy to talk it over!

Want more marketing insights? Subscribe for updates!