Understanding all facets of a customer journey to drive online leads

Walden University, a global, accredited institution and leader in online education.

Walden University has been an innovator in higher education and online learning for more than 45 years. In 2011, Walden decided to pull down the traditional marketing silos and establish more integrated teams that could quickly adapt to changes in technology.

Since then, Walden’s partnership with Jellyfish has helped to transform how the university engages with prospective students.

The brief

It can take months for a new prospect to mature into a Walden student.  

Due to the long prospect timeline, it is essential to view the customer’s journey across all possible channels in order to find that right moment of conversion. Walden University wanted to revamp the way that they marketed to prospective students, including:

  • Retargeting across screens and devices
  • Integrating search, database marketing, online advertising, and media aggregators
  • Increasing mobile advertising
  • Integrate call-tracking with Google Analytics

Remarketing helps us improve our relevancy with most people as they conduct their research. No matter where a potential student started their journey—on a desktop, tablet, or phone—we can ensure Walden University stays at the top of their list.

Jeff Tognola Chief Marketing Officer

Retargeting: Meeting prospects where they are

By blending AdWords remarketing efforts with a multiscreen approach, Walden was able to meet the prospective student wherever they are in the journey, on whatever screen, to keep the brand at the forefront of their mind.

“More than 60% of Walden prospective students conduct online searches up to 60 days prior to becoming actual prospects,” says Jeff Tognola, Walden University’s CMO.

A typical prospective student’s journey could begin with an online search on their home computer, followed by reading a student blog the next week on a tablet. Another day, the prospect may be reviewing the latest U.S. News & World Report school rankings on a mobile phone. These students engage with the brand long before they ever speak to an enrollment advisor. Once first contact has been made, both retargeting (for display) and remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) are used by the Walden digital marketing team.

Walden banners

Going multiscreen

“Increasing exposure across mobile and being more aggressive than other people in the space is a big reason for Walden’s success,” Tognola goes on, “Now we’re busy testing and optimizing within our mobile environment.”

With Google’s analytics and targeting tools, Walden identified more audience segments and were more ambitious about creating dynamic content for those segments. They can now remarket with mobile banners to ensure the most from each audience.

By accounting for multiple screens, Walden has seen an increase in conversions—particularly for mobile. Walden had 270% more prospective students start their journey on mobile devices in 2013 than in the prior year. 20% of the conversions now come from smartphones, and that number is expected to keep growing. Remarketing costs from mobile are actually about 40% lower than desktop, which makes mobile even more important when managing the digital operation.

Integrating offline data

Jellyfish and Walden University worked in partnership with Infinity Call Tracking to push call data into the Google Analytics profiles. Additionally, Walden University is now able to track in a way that is valuable to their specific business model. After integration, Walden can view both the volume of leads submitted for each individual college and the specific college course details associated to it.

The call integration data provided insight into the relationship between branded and non-branded search and display activity. Custom channel groupings were created within multi-channel funnels for each of the required datasets. 

The increased visibility provided by the Google Analytics account, combined with Infinity Call Tracking, allows Walden University and Jellyfish the ability to make decisions faster and without crucial gaps in their data.

analytics platform
270%increase in new mobile journeys
40%lower mobile remarketing costs
20%of total conversions from smartphones
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