Modernize student journey mapping to stop wasting budget


A versatile online learning system and industry leader in affordable online learning for adults, with a network consisting of more than 2,100 top colleges, universities, and other organizations.


Like many organizations in the higher education space, the institution had made the common error of using a one-size-fits-all approach to their digital marketing, emphasizing the last-click approach to measurement. Last click attribution modeling leaves enormous gaps in understanding the entire student’s research process and fails to capture the elements that are truly responsible for driving inquiries and enrollments, which hinders the ability to make budget allocation decisions across marketing channels.


Statwax worked closely with the institution’s internal teams to map out their specific goals and opportunities – for enrollments, revenue, and growth. One of the key activities to this was to analyze past digital and traditional performance and student feedback on hundreds of program offerings and partner schools.

We then paired years of Stawax’s proprietary historical higher ed data with an audit of existing marketing efforts and website behavior. By overlaying these data sets, we were able to pinpoint the traffic sources, landing pages, and any other prospective student touchpoint that is most and least likely to drive inquiries.

The result was a truly customized attribution model unique to the learning institution’s student buyer journey. This allowed us to put the marketing budget into the digital channels that, when working together, were the true force in driving inquiries – ultimately helping improve return on ad spend (ROAS) across all advertising platforms by 48%, alongside a 32% decrease in cost-per-enrollment.


While capturing the very last step a student takes before becoming an inquiry is the easiest route, it misses endless earlier marketing touchpoints students engage with on their path to inquiry. In turn, the last click approach encourages misallocation of marketing budget because it discredits lead drivers in those earlier engagements. The only way to budget efficiently for student inquiries, is to modernize higher ed attribution to reflect the student journey. Not sure how to get started?

Let’s talk about attribution models that work well in higher education, and how to create one that lines up with your goals.

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