Lessons in engagement from a leading network of higher education institutions.
GUEST COLUMN | by Gifta Monero
When it comes to attracting and engaging with the top talent internationally, Laureate International Universities aims to attract students with personalized messaging and enhanced digital experiences. The international Laureate network offers hundreds of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various specialties, ranging from art and culinary school to engineering and health sciences.
This past year, Laureate was looking to effectively reach their audience of more than 780,000 students and provide them with relevant, engaging online content. Laureate decided to make some changes with their marketing approach and strategy in order to achieve the best results and effectively engage with their key audience. Laureate tapped Adobe Marketing Cloud, including the Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics solutions, to increase requests for information, improve the quality of leads from digital outreach and get detailed insights about their users. The results astounded the marketers and included:
- Increased conversion by 200 percent with keyword-optimized landing page experiences
- Eliminated site experiences that negatively impact conversion
- Boosted lead volume by 358 percent and lead volume by 465 percent by eliminating page distractions and optimizing content placement
One example is a member of the Laureate network, The NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD), in San Diego, Calif. NSAD offers degrees in architecture, interior design, construction management, digital media arts, and other disciplines. This specific Laureate campus was addressing complex marketing challenges such as raising awareness of the school outside of the San Diego area and engaging prospective new students. By using Adobe Target, Laureate wanted to deliver more targeted Web pages based on keyword search of their site. “Conversion went up almost 200 percent with the new experience,” says Gifta Monero, digital media buying manager for Laureate. “We saw an increase from 9.94 percent on the control page to 18.66 percent on the keyword-optimized page. As a result, we could quickly measure the results and had the confidence and functionality necessary to rapidly implement changes.”
Testing with Adobe Target also showed Laureate that adding certain elements to Web pages can cause unintended results. That was the case for the website supporting Santa Fe University of Art and Design—a Laureate network school that offers a variety of undergraduate programs in creative art and design programs. Marketers initially thought art and design students would be more likely to respond to visual content, like videos, and would be more inclined to complete the request for information (RFI) if they had access to more videos. In the end, Laureate learned this was not the case. “Adding video to the landing page actually showed a negative impact on conversion,” says Monero. “Although people might engage with the video, our testing showed us that it ultimately seemed to distract visitors from filling out the RFI.” Additional tests focused on how reducing the number of fields on the request form and limiting the form to one page would affect response rate.
Similar to Santa Fe University of Art and Design, testing revealed that videos distracted visitors on the landing page for NSAD’s new interior design program. Laureate tested multiple landing page variations, including with and without videos, with images above and below the form, and with a call-to-action banner in various colors. A version with the form above the fold, images grouped below the form, no video, and a pink callout yielded a 358 percent increase in lead volume and a 465 percent increase in conversion—illustrating the importance of content and image placement, as well as the benefits of reducing distractions on the page. “As a design school, we had a lot of ideas around what designs people want to see,” says Monero. “Adobe Marketing Cloud allows us to inject data-driven insights into the design process and create experiences that really engage our audience, as well as deliver the best outcomes.”
In the end, the Laureate Universities wants to deliver effective, engaging and relevant materials to their users—a broad spectrum of audiences of design, art, engineering students— and they needed very tailored landing pages and online interactions. The insights gathered using Adobe Analytics proved to be invaluable as well as the results for Adobe Target’s personalized marketing campaigns across various channels.
The next phase of Laureate’s website testing will focus on using geographic capabilities in Adobe Target. Geotargeting will allow Laureate to run different campaigns in different locations and focus marketing messages according to specific segments and audiences. Tests will include sending traffic from a geotargeted banner to a geotargeted landing page that accounts for language, currency, and other location-based features, then testing it against a universal experience. “We’re expanding the role of targeting to better personalize our content,” says Monero. “Testing is a way to find out whether we’re doing the right things for our audiences, and it is something that we will continue to do in the future.”
Gifta Monero is Manager of Digital Media at Laureate, a network of higher education institutions serving nearly 780,000 students in more than 72 campus-based and online institutions of higher education in 30 countries across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.