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  • Working Planet

4X Customer Acquisition for Online Education Company

The Scenario

A globally-renowned education brand was struggling to increase online professional education registrations without increasing the cost-per-student. Their internal team and two agencies had struggled for a year with no results. The program was not as large as their competitors’ and they knew greater demand was out there, but large increases in acquisition cost would break their business model. How could they increase volume profitably?

Our Approach

As always, we started with the financial data, exploring what we could know about the financial value of students and different course offerings, as well as repeat student behavior. We quickly surfaced that the way they were using an average top-of-funnel CPA target was limiting some of their best audiences while spending less efficiently in other areas. Creating a financial pricing model for media based on granular audience values immediately broke open opportunities.

We didn’t stop there. The program had been constructed with campaigns that were very course specific, but we quickly determined that many students signed up for different courses than shown in the ad with which they engaged. Restructuring the campaigns to speak to audiences (as represented by the customized targeting of audiences in different networks) who might make different choices across courses also led to higher monetization of the media, which meant greater reach, more volume but without big increases in acquisition cost.

The Results

In the first year Working Planet more than doubled the client’s volume, but the real significance was that the process we created of value-based audience optimization kept creating stronger and stronger results over time, with massive growth each year within the financial limits of their business model. By year four student volume had grown almost 400% over the first-year baseline resulting in over $50M a year in profitable student acquisition.


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