5 Paid Search Metrics for Schools and Education Companies

Due to the competitive nature of digital marketing in the education industry and the higher than average costs per click (CPC), whether it be for small local schools or national higher education providers, it’s essential to know which paid search metrics are important to your company.

Cost per lead (CPL) is one of the most recognized measurements, but your school should also focus on these additional paid search metrics for schools:

Cost per Application (CPA)

While CPL is still an important metric, CPA allows us to see how many people actually start the enrollment process.

Cost per Enrollment (CPE)

Your ultimate goal is to get more students to finish the enrollment process and start your program. Be sure to measure metrics around students who complete enrollment.

Lead to Enroll Rate

In order to be effective with your paid search efforts, school need look at is the Lead to Enroll rate. If you’re bringing in thousands of leads, but few are turning into enrollments, you know there’s a problem with your lead quality.

Enrollment Value

To properly measure the ROI of your paid search efforts, we must know how valuable an enrollment is to you. This can vary significantly depending on what type of education services you provide.  Be sure to know all of the factors to consider when deciding on a value. For example, if you’re a for-profit four-year university, you must take the lifetime value of a student into account.

Call Value

Although we’re living in a digital world, people considering a large investment might feel more comfortable talking to a representative instead of filling out an online form or enrolling on your website.  With several educators to choose from, your potential client has a lot of questions regarding enrollment, costs, programs, and more that your website might not answer.

Paid search can bring in a lot of leads with call extensions, but you need to do the following to maximize this traffic:

  1. Be sure your call center has the capacity to handle this increase in calls.
  2. Properly collect and document caller’s data and attribute it to your paid search efforts, preferably in your CRM.
  3. Know the conversion rate for incoming calls.
  4. Use a call-tracking system to track and/or record calls.

Remember that these metrics are only a starting point. Feel free to explore others once you have these in plan. And let us know in the comments which metrics are most important to you!


There’s power in 1:1 messaging across the student life cycle. See how it influences student recruitment, retention and alumni engagement in our free guide for higher-ed marketers.

Student Life Cycle Nurturing

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