Are you tracking and analyzing the right metrics in your school’s enrollment funnel?
The words “data” and “metrics” tend to overwhelm people. But I’ve got a marketing secret to share with you: The metrics you should be tracking aren’t that complicated. And when you leverage a full-funnel approach to higher ed enrollment, you don’t need overly complex data to generate valuable insights that can help you meet your goals.
4 Enrollment Funnel Metrics to Track
Let’s start by reviewing four key metrics every school should track in their enrollment funnel. If some of this information seems obvious, consider it validation that you’re on the right path:
- Digital spend consists of money spent on digital marketing initiatives—primarily ads on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This metric is measured in dollars and enables schools to assess return on investment (ROI) and determine how to allocate funds most effectively.
- Leads are prospective students who have shown interest in a program or university and are measured by the number of people who have filled out a request for information (RFI) form, made a call, or sent an email. We recommend breaking down leads by program, source, campaign, and seasonality. When schools track leads, they can be more strategic about their marketing efforts.
- Applications are a prospective student’s formal expression of interest in a program or university. While completed applications is the easiest metric to track, more detailed analytics can also show applications that were started but not completed. Like leads, applications should be broken down by program, source, campaign, and seasonality. Knowing who has applied to a program helps schools calibrate marketing initiatives and drive applicants to enroll.
- Enrollments or registrations indicate that a student has signed up for a program or certificate. These financial transactions change an applicant’s status to registered or enrolled and are measured by the number of completed enrollments. Again, enrollments should be broken down by program, source, campaign, and seasonality. People who make it to this part of the enrollment funnel are the school’s actual students—the measure of how well they are fulfilling their mission.
Analyzing Enrollment Metrics
Once schools understand the basic metrics to track, taking the next step to analyze the data isn’t as intimidating. Here’s what the data can tell you:
- Conversion rate. A conversion rate shows schools the percentage of prospective students who have converted from leads to applicants and applicants to enrollments.
- Consideration period. This metric reveals how long it takes prospective students to progress from lead to enrollment. It’s best to break it down by lead→applications and applications→enrollments to gain even deeper insights.
- Cost per lead and cost per enrollment. While these numbers aren’t as essential as the conversion rate, understanding cost per lead (CPL) and cost per enrollment (CPE) helps schools plan next year’s budget and marketing strategy more effectively.
Evaluating Funnel Performance
Finally, schools can use the data and analyses to evaluate their performance from two primary perspectives:
Historical. Did the school perform better than in the past? Generally, institutions will want to make term-to-term comparisons. Enrollment patterns vary depending on the time of year, so examining—for example—Fall 2021 compared to Fall 2020 will provide the most valuable insights.
We also recommend drilling down deeper into each term to clearly understand trends that emerge during a consideration period. If, for instance, June and July application numbers are trending downward compared to the previous year, schools can take away that they need a bigger push in August to meet fall enrollment goals.
Benchmarking. How is the school performing compared to the rest of the higher education industry? This question can be difficult to answer because the information isn’t readily available in one place. At MindMax, we’re happy to share benchmarking insights based on industry knowledge and our work with colleges and universities across the country.
Tracking enrollment funnel metrics and effectively leveraging that data doesn’t need to be complicated. However, sourcing the data can be challenging. At MindMax, our Enrollment Intelligence (EI) platform simplifies that process, providing schools with a customized dashboard that pulls the most critical metrics for higher education marketing and enrollment activities. Contact us today to learn more about this solution.