Smart solutions for lofty goals
At the outset of its digital transformation, CSU set its sights high for student experiences and delivering value to the university. In addition to boosting satisfaction and engagement through personalization, the university wanted to leverage new capabilities to double the number of students applying while decreasing costs by one-third.
At the top of its student acquisition funnel, CSU uses Adobe Advertising Cloud and insights collected with Adobe Analytics to engage students through paid search and programmatic advertising campaigns. Using Advertising Cloud, the university can engage directly with students via search engines and on the websites that they use most.
With Adobe Advertising Cloud Search, CSU uses algorithms for bid and budget management based on previous keyword performance. Ongoing, the university can refine its strategies by balancing keyword inventories, cost, budget, and performance with KPIs for each new campaign. For example, if student engagement is higher on its list of priorities than student acquisition within a timeframe, CSU can adjust its bid strategies and resources for maximum effect. After launch, this approach helped to not only more than double online applications—a 127% lift—but also optimize budgets.
“Implementing Adobe Advertising Cloud was the first step in our digital transformation,” says Jennifer Galloway, Head of Strategic Development at CSU. “When we saw an immediate uplift in conversion, we knew we made the right choice and were encouraged to move forward with the rest of our plans.” Galloway also notes that CSU uses Advertising Cloud to review conversion and revenue data to find the largest opportunities and inform advertising priorities.
Student-centered digital experiences
Once students reach the CSU website, the university relies on Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics to personalize landing page and website experiences according to current and prospective students’ preferences. CSU also partners with Accordant and uses Adobe Experience Cloud to engage with students at each step of the student lifecycle, from application to becoming a student and then an alumnus, to enhance the university experience.
For example, CSU and Accordant are launching a targeted personalization initiative for its admission offer landing page. Once a student receives an offer letter from CSU, the student can click though the letter sent via email and arrive on a personalized landing page. That page displays the student’s name, university course applied for, a unique hero image, and banner text formulated for that individual.
The university also uses Adobe Target to launch AB tests to improve site creative, content, design, and navigation. During tests, CSU can capture intent and behavioral information at each level of its conversion funnel to enhance onsite interactions, as well as retarget students at optimal times through media.
Year over year, the combination of more targeted advertising and personalization has boosted conversion by 346% sitewide, while reducing cost per acquisition by 32%.
“We doubled year-on-year new student enrollments while actually reducing the cost to acquire them by a third by using Adobe Analytics, Adobe Advertising Cloud, and personalization strategies,” King says. “Now, we’re extending into onsite and owned digital assets and looking at how to use additional data points across CSU’s first-party data sets, such as their CRM, LMS, and modelled data to drive an ever greater level of understanding of students’ needs and wants as they engage with the university.”