How Higher Education Marketers Drive Enrollment During the Holiday Season

November 6, 2019

How Higher Education Marketers Drive Enrollment During the Holiday Season

Editor's Note: Pavels Kilivniks, Senior Insights Analyst at LinkedIn, co-authored this blog post. 

With the holiday season fast approaching, you might be planning to hit the pause button on your LinkedIn advertising campaigns. After all, the year is winding down and holiday gatherings and festivities will soon be in full swing. Why spend when prospective students are not in the mindset to engage, right? 

Turns out, the winter holiday months are some of the best for Higher Education advertisers on LinkedIn. According to our data, engagement on the platform in December is comparable to engagement in the other months. While this may seem counterintuitive, it makes perfect sense. Professionals who are busy throughout the year find themselves with time during the holidays to immerse themselves in what matters most. And prospective students don’t forget about their school decision just because the holidays are upon us. 

Go dark during the holiday season and you could lose quality leads, the lower Cost Per Lead (CPL) you’ve earned to date, and serious momentum. 

Schools see a 25% increase in lead-to-enrollment rates 

Our data shows that in the final months of the year, Higher Education marketers reach high-quality, engaged members who are highly likely to enroll. Numerous prospective students who submit lead forms during the holidays are actively narrowing their options and getting ready to choose the schools they’d like to attend. In fact, compared to the rest of 2018, schools advertising on LinkedIn saw a 25% increase in lead-to-enrollment rates in the final months of 2018.*

Stay active during the holidays for a New Year advantage 

While the high end-of-year lead-to-enrollment rate is a compelling reason to keep advertising during the holidays, it’s not the only one. Marketers who advertise year-round on LinkedIn outperform those who do not. A prior LinkedIn study found that these marketers see major gains in CPL efficiency over time

Capitalizing on this effect during the holiday season is how you set yourself up for the gift that keeps on giving. In other words, investing in advertising at year’s end will position you for success in the New Year. 

According to our latest research, Higher Education marketers who pulled back on their advertising in the final months of 2018 paid 52% higher per lead in 2019​ than marketers who continued investing throughout the holiday season. Put another way, those who kept advertising generated 152 leads for the same price the marketers who pulled back paid to generate 100 leads!

That’s not all. The brand exposure and engagement you drive in the year’s final months boosts your down-funnel impact in future months. Higher Education marketers who actively advertised on LinkedIn October – December 2018 helped drive an 8% higher enrollment rate January – March 2019.*

Learn from the best by embracing always-on marketing

In addition to the significant performance gains you’ll see by remaining active throughout the holiday season, you’ll maintain your Campaign Quality Score. LinkedIn works on an algorithm called a Relevancy Score that rewards marketers who produce highly engaging content with lower Costs Per Click (CPCs). When you pause a campaign, the Relevancy Score resets. However, if you maintain an always-on presence, you’ll reap the rewards of all the momentum you’ve already built up.

Plus, the biggest white-space opportunity tends to present itself during the holidays when other marketers slow or stop their advertising. That makes it the most wonderful time of the year for a competitor aiming to gain an edge over your school. Conversely, if you maintain your advertising momentum during the holidays while your competitors take a break, you’ll own the advantage come January.  

Make this a holiday to remember

As you plan for the holiday season, consider the gift of highly engaged prospective students who are still pondering their school choices. Rather than disappear on your audience, you can usher the year out with a bang and help boost enrollment rates come the New Year. Keep your advertising momentum in full swing and you’ll make the holidays a time to truly celebrate! 

*LinkedIn internal data