Measuring enrollment leads with a Facebook cross-publisher conversion lift study

This premier culinary college used a Facebook cross-publisher conversion lift study to measure ad campaign performance across channels, and drove an 11X lift in incremental leads by combining Facebook ads with search.

11X

Lift incremental leads from combination of Facebook and search

9X

Lift in incremental leads from Facebook alone

3X

Lift in incremental leads from search alone

 

Their story

Food is life

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is a world-famous culinary college with locations in New York, California, Texas and Singapore. Offering master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, food business management, hospitality management, culinary science, applied food studies and wine management, it aims to develop leaders in food service and hospitality. Conferences, leadership initiatives and consulting services have made it a think tank of the food industry.

Their goal

Optimizing cross-channel ad spend

CIA wanted to verify the incremental impact of Facebook ads on driving leads compared to ads on a search publisher’s platform, and to optimize its cross-channel ad budget based on the results.

Their solution

Testing paid social versus search

CIA had always invested more in search ads than in paid social ads. But it wanted to investigate whether increasing its Facebook ad spend would be advantageous. So, to better analyze and optimize its investment strategy, CIA and Mason Interactive, ran a cross-publisher conversion lift study. The study measured the conversion lift from Facebook ads and search, both alone and together, and validated their incremental performance against a reporting tool and attribution model.

The team built video ads and photo ads with messaging aimed at enticing potential students to learn more about CIA’s degree programs and to enroll. CIA delivered the ads in Facebook News Feed, Facebook Stories, Instagram feed and Instagram Stories to core audiences, Custom Audiences and lookalike audiences. CIA also activated campaign budget optimization, allowing Facebook to automatically distribute the budget to the top-performing ad sets in real time.

The cross-publisher conversion lift study was set up to measure how many people in a test group who saw ads on Facebook went on to submit a request for enrollment information, and how many people in a control group who did not see the Facebook ads submitted such a request. The team conducted the same measurement for ads in search by using a similar test group who saw ads there, and a control group who did not. The team repeated the measurement with test and control groups who had seen ads on both channels, and groups who did not see ads on either channel.

CIA and Mason Interactive compared the results from the study to CIA’s internal reporting tool, and confirmed that CIA’s first-touch attribution model represents the incremental outcomes driven by both Facebook and search with great accuracy. CIA now feels confident about measuring its Facebook and search incremental performance with one unified reporting tool and attribution model.

Their Success

Cheers to great results

CIA determined the success of its December 4–31, 2019 campaign using a Facebook cross-publisher conversion lift study, which revealed that treating Facebook and search as a unified marketing force drives even better outcomes than either platform alone:

  • 11X lift incremental leads from combination of Facebook and search
  • 9X lift in incremental leads from Facebook alone
  • 3X lift in incremental leads from search alone

 

Participating in this joint study has reaffirmed our decision to invest in Facebook advertising alongside our search engine marketing. The team at Mason Interactive has been a true partner, helping us to navigate the ever-changing landscape of paid digital media and acting like an extension of our own team. Together, we’ve advanced the efficiency and effectiveness of our paid media efforts.

Scott LucenteDirector of Digital and Online Media, The Culinary Institute of America