Paid Search mistakes – Education Industry, UK

‘If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree you will spend your entire life believing that it is stupid’ – Albert Einstein

When planning a campaign it is important to be clear on what you’d expect from it. Several paid search campaigns fail to meet managers’ expectations and are considered inefficient. Most managers consider this a campaign failure and reduce funds or terminate the campaign altogether. But is this always a systemic failure or a case of wrong expectation setting?

The end goal of most education campaigns is to generate as many leads as possible. Most paid search campaigns resonate this goal, by using keywords and ad copy to target people who are most likely to convert. What most businesses fail to acknowledge is the process people follow in getting to the conversion stage, and the role paid search plays in that process.

It is widely acknowledged that a customer goes through four major stages; awareness, consideration, intent and then to conversion. It’s then realistic for a customer, in some cases to go through all four stages in just a few seconds or over the course of several weeks, depending on the product type and user behaviour. Many paid search campaigns usually aim at generating leads. While that may be the end goal of every campaign the contributions of every channel can be different. Take a look at the purchase funnel from Google below:
The above funnel reflects the role of paid search in the education sector particularly in the context of the UK. This study shows that paid search is mostly effective in either driving intent or causing people to see your products/services as a potential solution to their problem(s). This data is significantly different from the education market in France where paid search is most effective in building awareness. In Canada paid search plays an important role in building opinion as opposed to Brazil where it is known to influence the buying decisions of customers.
So how does this fit in with your paid search strategy?

If operating in UK, you are likely to get better results by using paid search to drive intent and measure the impact through other channels.
Based on the facts here are some recommendations which might help improve your ROI.
Use paid search to drive intent.
Remarketing with display network can be set to generate leads as the study shows that display network performs really well in shaping decisions.
Measuring the ROI of paid search just by looking at raw stats may not be sufficient. Run a paid search campaign and see if it shows a difference in ROI through multiple channels. This is a long process and may take weeks if not months to gather results.

You can prepare this report for your website as well. Speak to your paid search specialist to see how a customised report can help you build a sustainable competitive strategy over time.

Rick Tobin
Managing Director

Over 20 years dedicated PPC experience working with some of the world's biggest brands.

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