Consistent ROI of more than 400% on TOFU Lead Generation Facebook Campaign
Learndirect is the UK’s largest provider of skills, training and employment services. It helps people to kick-start their careers with qualifications in everyday skills like maths, English and IT, along with vocational qualifications in a variety of industries. Every day thousands of people up and down the country use Learndirect to learn new skills.
The promotion of the Access to Higher Education (Nursing) course has been given top emphasis throughout our collaboration. This client’s flagship product has assisted countless students in obtaining the qualifications required to apply for degrees in healthcare over the years. The course is vocation focused and equips students with knowledge and competencies specific to nursing as well as components that concentrate on teaching people the study skills necessary for further education.
One of the crucial aspects of this project was our advancement in setting and hitting appropriate targets for the campaign, which ranged from the quantity of leads at the beginning to hitting our monthly sales goals for the course by the end of the collaboration. We started simple and evolved with the client and our partner Karman Digital throughout the cooperation until we reached a point that worked for everyone.
Our Starting Point
Our collaboration began in early March 2022, when the client’s usual model of engagement in Facebook was no longer generating the desired volume of leads at a reasonable price due to a combination of factors globally and in the state of the paid campaign. The campaign on Facebook was originally launched by a specialist on the client side in December 2021 with the objective of generating as many leads as possible for further qualification and processing by the sales team.
The client attempted to manage the sales team’s workload using the daily campaign budget and taking CPL level for granted. Thus, budgets could fluctuate by a factor of 2-2.5, entailing continuous re-learning of the ad sets and making the results less consistent and predictable.
Although small adjustments to the budget won’t cause any harm, frequent significant budget leaps could reset the learning phase of your assets. During the learning phase your Facebook ad campaigns will be at their least effective and results are likely to fluctuate notably. Think strategically. If you can estimate the desired results and how much money you plan to spend based on your historical data and previous experience, shift towards monthly planning (or at least a predictable mode of changing the budget).
During the campaign’s 3 months of self-management, the primary attention was given to one audience comprised of a set of narrow nursing-specific interests paired with some broader ones in one place. As investments in a particular audience increased over three months, so did the frequency of showing the ad to a single user. With only a single winning ad in rotation, the client experienced audience burnout and raising CPL.
Facebook’s audience targeting is more detailed than any other social website. Businesses can target a specific demographic or audience group with each ad they run. If you have sufficient funds for your ad sets to finish learning with 50 optimization events, don’t be afraid to split your audience groups into multiple ad sets based on various interest groups. It will assist you in boosting your outreach and expanding into new prospects for your campaign. You will also benefit from the ability to measure engagement across multiple interest groups, and additional ad customization opportunities will become available. However, if you go too far with segmentation, you may end up with audience fragmentation, which brings with it plenty of new challenges, such as overlapping audiences or longer learning phases. We’ll share how we experienced this issue ourselves later.
In the first three months of the campaign, 97% of the budget was spent on a single ad creative. Several attempts were made to add new ad copies, but by the time we took over the account, they had all gone dark.
What makes a good ad? Attempting to discover a solution to this topic involves extensive research and testing. When marketers uncover it, they typically invest greater and greater money into the ad that exhibits superior results, culminating in banner blindness, also known as ad fatigue. Even the most effective ads suffer from overuse. There is only one remedy for this issue: rotate in new ad copies.
When NN Partners was approached, the client had been running a campaign for three months and had an idea of how their product, sales team, and the pipeline worked. They might have proceeded on their own, but came to us for a qualitative shift based on our expertise. And we needed to provide something different than what had previously worked for the client.
We began our work by conducting our own research on the product, the target audience, and the history of communicating with it. We reworked the features of the product into an offer to attract new clients:
- You don’t need to wait for a specified time of the year to enrol. The course is flexible and learners can attend the course anytime during the year.
- This course allows learners to work towards their nursing careers while maintaining their existing obligations.
- You can spread the cost over instalments and there’s no need to pay the full price to start learning.
- Suits for anyone who has been out of full-time education and would like to go on to higher education. No formal qualifications needed.
What is the purpose of this? We wanted to bring attention to our offer’s strengths so that we could subsequently tailor our communication to clients’ pain points and primary reasons for purchasing a course from learndirect.
The next natural step was to look closer at our target audience.We based our investigation both on Google Analytics data and 3 months’ worth of campaign data. We discovered the following patterns:
Age & Gender:
Based on Facebook performance data, the majority of our target audience is made up of men and women aged 25 to 54 with a small skew towards those who are 35-44 years old. We noticed that the female cohort dominates at a 5:1 ratio. The explanation for this might be because females are more likely to take up nursing professions (nursing is one of the areas affected by gender disparity). After further analysis, it was found that male audiences converted into leads at much higher rates than those observed in female demographics.
Device & OS:
99.5% of leads were submitted in the mobile app environment. As a result, ensuring a flawless mobile-first user experience while engaging with our ads and the website’s landing page became a consideration.
We were first given a small portion of the campaign budget to test our hypotheses and uncover new working audiences and creatives. We also tried 5 fresh headlines and 5 new creative text copies at this period to supplement the creatives in the rotation.
As a result of this stage we learned the following facts:
- Even old and saturated audiences can be revitalised by rotating in fresh creatives
- 55+ female cohort unexpectedly provided us with the cheapest leads but very low conversion rate
- Male-only audiences did not resonate as expected even when they received personalised messages
- Career, Employment, Distance education – these became our focus of interest in targeting
This was all part of developing a vision of working with the target audience, but there was still a long way to go before we could draw accurate portraits. We set up an interview with a salesperson and drafted a list of questions of interest. By the way, it was one of the best ideas and should have been done earlier! The conversation revealed priceless data about those who booked the course, as well as their major concerns and problems.
As a result we compelled 2 target audience profiles:
We were able to accomplish all of these improvements in one month, and by the end of March, we had earned the client’s trust enough to begin handling the whole campaign budget independently.
Although we were able to meet our target of lead generation at a lower price, once the client had enough time to process our efforts, they made it clear that sales were still below their expectations. Consequently, we worked on improving lead conversions so they would align with the business goals of the client.
We didn’t have any sales objectives initially, only a broad intention to boost sales and figure out how to achieve long-term sustainability in terms of course sales. Finding an acceptable revenue target was thus one of our objectives for this timeframe.
Initiatives for revenue growth that we have developed and worked on:
- Instead of relying exclusively on data from the Ads Manager to optimise the performance, we focused on what happened to the leads once they are transferred to the CRM. And this is where our partnership with Karman Digital came into place. With KD taking care of the client’s Hubspot health, we were able to tap into the data of the sales processes and find valuable insights about:
- Sales cycle length (there is a time lag between a lead and payment in more than 60% of the deals)
- The workflow of lead processing
- Success rate of managers dedicated to nursing course leads
- Opportunity to re-engage leads that don’t respond to sales people
All of the above analyses assisted us in shifting our attention to ROI and sales objectives. And you can see that there was a point where we started to grow in our results (* Interaction ROI is ROI including assisted conversions).
(June - September 2022)
To stay on top of performance, we implemented a variety of analyses and reporting on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis.
Daily – Leads, CPL, Sales, Cumulative ROI
Weekly – Creative and Audience performance
Monthly – Time Lag analysis, overall monthly performance
As a result, we have found out that a number of creatives and audiences have consistently good results for both leads and sales. Thus we decided to build our Evergreen core part of the campaign.
As an outcome of the selection process, we developed our present structure, which includes a permanent evergreen component that we revive with new creative concepts on a regular basis, as well as some room and budget to test new ideas and compare them to our benchmarks.
This approach has been validated in reality, and at the beginning of the summer, we reached a new level of budget planning and expected results when paired with the client’s efforts to optimise the sales process (based on our studies as well).
In just 7 months, we’ve established a steady flow of high-quality leads that are more easily turned into course sales. We have assisted in breaking the client’s sales record and achieved a consistent ROI of more than 400% for 3 consecutive months in a row.
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