Case Study: Paid Growth for Lighthouse Labs
Increase in Ad Click-Through-Rate
Increase in Content Downloads
Cost Per Free Course Signup
Lighthouse Labs offers part-time and full-time programs specialized in web development and data science.
When they pivoted to fully online courses during COVID, we were tasked with rebuilding their ad strategy to match their new digital reality.
We were able to approach it in a way that not only matched, but greatly surpassed their previous performance targets.
Digital Marketing Manager
“I can’t say enough about Mike and the entire team at Flywheel. They’re professional, highly communicative, extremely knowledgeable, and proactive in not only bringing ideas to the table, but in driving the entire business forward within the digital realm. It’s a pleasure working with them, and I highly recommend Flywheel as an agency for any business looking to expand their online presence.”
Between March and June 2020, COVID-19 sparked a shift in many educational businesses. For Lighthouse Labs, they had to pivot their in-person-based education model online to meet the new needs of prospective students. With the switch to online classes, LHL could no longer rely on their city- and event-based marketing mix.
By going online, LHL’s target audience opened up to students all over Canada. But they had a reduced number of channels, reduced budget, and reduced ability to produce new creative (we were all stuck at home). So we had to maximize the assets we had.
Our mission was to increase applicant volume while maintaining benchmarked acquisition costs on a reduced budget. The pandemic wasn’t going to put a hold on LHL’s classes — so we needed to transform their online ad funnel.
We established KPIs and objectives relevant to the funnel stage associated with each campaign.
In the awareness stage, CTR increased by over 30%, which contributed to an overall 20% increase in link CTR account-wide. Changes in the consideration stage drove content downloads at an increase of over 74.4%, at a highly scalable $6.15 per lead. We saw this large increase in content downloads despite only a 5% change in budget.
At the bottom of the funnel, applications increased by 13.2%, and there was a significant reduction in CPA by 17% compared to the same period in the previous quarter since LHL runs on a quarterly sales cycle. Our overall performance allowed LHL to continue to scale their paid marketing efforts profitably during the pandemic and beyond.
To capture the online market during COVID-19, we had to shift the overall ad strategy to meet the new budget and audience. We focused on creating a new, sophisticated account structure that no longer targets local areas but still meets the long decision cycle of LHL’s students and differentiates from “typical” online courses. We made changes across their entire funnel, including awareness, consideration and decision.
Before COVID-19, LHL’s paid advertisements targeted a specific geographic audience: people who were interested in coding and lived within 25 kilometres from a Lighthouse campus. Since online classes did not require students to attend physical classes, we had to segment away from geographic targeting.
To achieve this, we opened up the geographic area and instead segmented our awareness campaign into niche occupations and behaviours that also indicated their interest in technology, coding, and data. For example, specifically reaching out to designers, marketers, and other relevant segments.
Last, we reframed the top of the funnel by leveraging Lighthouse Labs’s free online courses. By positioning these courses as our segments’ starting point to prospect’s journey in data or development, we were able drive highly efficient leads ($6.15 per, previously about $15 per). Retroactive analysis showed about 10% of bootcamp applications took this course beforehand, making these signups highly profitable.
Awareness ads focusing on niche occupations
Pre-COVID-19, LHL’s ads were broken into two stages: awareness and decision. The decision stage focused on urgency and course information. However, we identified a need, especially during COVID-19, to add a consideration stage that focused on providing info around financing and credibility.
In this new stage, we focused our ads (and our KPI) on LHL’s email-gated content downloads. Not only did these content pieces capture new subscribers, but the pieces, including curriculum & financing packages, COVID-19 scholarship opportunities, student outcome reports, and even free coding courses (see below) provided crucial context for prospective students in making a decision.
Consideration ads using scholarship hooks and email-gated free content
Once the consideration phase was created, we were able to make our final decision retargeting drive even more course applications by creating audiences specifically for people who downloaded multiple content pieces or started an application. These audiences were made using the Facebook Pixel and conditional, event-based audiences.
We used the creative to highlight start dates, testimonials, and even more financing information to make sure every possible hurdle to applying that a student had was addressed.
Decision ads focused on urgency and addressing objections
Reach out to start a conversation about how we can help grow your business online.