How Failing to Account for Targeting Tools Sabotages Your Media Budget Planning

When Storylift works with schools to set benchmarks and KPIs for upcoming campaigns, one of the most frequent mistakes we see clients make in budget allocations is underestimating the true cost of channel crossover between search and PPL. Most companies try to measure the efficiency of their advertising dollars by using some derivation of the “ROAS” metric. For educators, Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) is generally calculated by the number of enrollments or starts a school gets for every dollar spent on an advertising source. This seems elegantly simple at face value, because it would appear effective to compare, for example, the number of enrollments you achieved against your paid search dollars spent.

“…Because it fails to account for how organic, paid search, and pay-per-lead (PPL) programs cannibalize each other’s markets.”

Relying on this metric, however, can cause us to significantly underestimate the true costs of these enrollments (especially paid search). Why? Because it fails to account for how organic, paid search, and pay-per-lead (PPL) programs cannibalize each other’s markets.

All three of those channels compete for consideration of individuals who have already exhibited intent markers (e.g. searched for “how much do nurses make”) regarding their willingness to go back to school and study a certain field. When this happens, all of your advertising dollars are overlapping on the same keywords. It’s a massive money drain for you, and a redundant marketing approach for your ideal candidates.


Wasted Dollars in Action

For example, when a potential enrollee decides they want to start searching phrases like “how much do carpenters out of school make,” all three organic, paid search, and pay-per-lead channels compete for consideration of individuals that have made their willingness known to marketers. It’s easy for you to know they want to go back to school – these potential candidates are actively looking.


What About Social Media?

However, with social media, everything changes. Now, you can target the “top of the funnel.” Through personal attitude and preference information available in social media, you can suggest a school program to a user that might not have even considered going back to school. You can get out ahead of their thinking process and have a positive effect on the choices they consider.

When targeted correctly, your social campaigns can be one of the only lead channels that do not cannibalize your other digital channels. This is a more segmented and targeted approach to marketing that won’t eat up your advertising dollars across the board.

Too many companies improperly evaluate the true cost of their other digital channels. Even more importantly, they fail to recognize how many targeting tools are at their immediate disposal. Social content should not only precisely target specific candidate segments, but it should also supply tailored content and messaging that is going to resonate with a particular user. Social media isn’t just about posting pictures, graphics, or pithy quotes anymore. Instead, it’s about meeting people exactly where they want to be met, appealing to their age, demographics, background, and affinities so they can enjoy a custom-tailored digital experience.

At the end of the day, your recruitment content should not only inspire users but also show them how they can act on that inspiration.

To learn more, check out our e-book entitled Hitting the Mark in Social Media Recruiting.