A fellow colleague at another university e-mailed me about conversion rates for PPC campaigns. He said he had trouble finding anything online about higher ed PPC conversion rates, so I asked him if I could republish my e-mail response in case it might be of help to you. Also, if you have PPC conversion rate info of your own, please share it in the comments below. Thanks!
Hi Rob –
I found you through BlogHighEd, and was wondering if you had any information to share on a topic that I am currently investigating – pay-per-click search engine marketing.
In addition to an imminent complete website overhaul, I’ve been tasked with developing a pilot PPC program, and I’ve not been able to find any data related to PPC in the Higher Ed vertical.
I posted to the educause mailing list asking if anyone had positive or negative experiences with the various companies that work in this space (Network Solutions, Clickable, Yodle, ReachLocal, etc.), but I did not get any responses. Have you had experience in this area?
Also, I’ve read that across all PPC marketing, the average conversion rate is 2% – but I’m guessing that is heavily weighted towards consumer product sales, and not Higher Ed inquiries/applications. Any thoughts on what might be reasonable in terms of performance expectations after the initial couple moths of keyword honing?
Any information you can provide would be very, very much appreciated. If you are aware of other fellow Higher Ed colleagues who might have expertise in this area, I would be very grateful if you could pass along this email.
Yeah, 2% is on the low side. But, since PPC is based on competitive bidding and geo-targeting, conversion rates really depend on which programs are being marketed, where and when. It also depends on whether you are doing display and/or extended network ads. We’ve had campaigns that have had conversion rates as high at 13.75% and as low as 1.57%. Our overall campaign conversion rate since October 2008 is 4.03%. However, this last fiscal year, we increased the number PPC conversions even though we decreased our conversion rate, so it really depends on what you value more, the number of leads or the conversion rate. But I would say with some confidence that you can do much better than 2%.
Hope that helps and good luck with the upcoming campaigns!