The Los Angeles Film School

How thorough strategy development and a 3x volume growth leads to a lasting partnership.

We’ve been a client for several years now. They’ve been so great to us that we now think of them as more of a partner than just another client.

Since our main focus is SEM, we can’t tell you how refreshing it is to work with a scrappy, knowledgeable team that, just like us, is actually willing to put in the effort required for reaching performance goals. They clearly understand that a long-term partnership is one of the most important outcomes of a client’s success. Since day 1, the team was committed to growing in tandem with us, and we’ve both managed to flourish through their leadership.

James Winstead
James Winstead

VP of Marketing

Challenges & Issues

The Proof

2017 vs 2016

2018 vs 2017

2018 vs 2016

2018 vs 2019

Solution Process

1. Account Foundation

Our relationship with LA Film began with a deep analysis of their business and PPC account. We first learned the ins and outs of all the degrees they offer. LA Film offers over 10 different programs, all have unique features and selling points. A particular challenge was the division between campus-based and online degrees. They are treated separately and have different budgets and goals. We had to account for this challenge when developing our strategy and account structure.

2. Account Structure

General Structure

Account structure was very important for the LA Film account due to the complexity of their various programs. Prior to our management, the account had most of its programs in the same campaigns and the majority of the keywords were focused on film degrees, which is the school’s main offering. This didn’t allow for programmatic optimizations, reporting and budgeting. We devised a program-based structure in which every program was isolated into its own campaign.

Special emphasis was placed on the breakout between campus and online programs. This way, we could optimize, report, and budget for each program separately. We also employed device and match type breakouts at the campaign level. This gave us the ability to accurately optimize and track each device as well as tier our bidding for different match types. Generally, education accounts want the majority of their leads to come from exact match keywords because they produce the most conversions on the back end. Furthermore, the new campaigns had more granular ad groups, which created the opportunity for custom headline 1s and promoted higher quality scores. Addressing the previously unorganized structure was a crucial step, since this structure made it impossible to optimize and budget across different programs.

Geo Additional Breakout

Another problem the business was facing was leads from geo locations with low CVR. Essentially, the further away from LA the lead was, the lower the CVR. In order to address this issue, we broke out all campaigns again into 3 geo categories:Local (California), National (rest of the states) & International (other countries). This allowed us to easily allocate the most budget to the Local campaigns and maximize impression share in those campaigns. Whatever money we had left over was put into the National campaigns and a small percentage of the total budget was driving international traffic from select countries. Compared to all of our custom breakouts, we can safely say that the LA Film account has one of the most tailored structures, since highly specific problems require highly specific solutions.

3. Optimizations

We started the campaigns on manual CPC, which a lot of agencies overlook in exchange for automatic bidding strategies. But starting with AI will almost certainly increase your CPL in the beginning. Starting on manual CPC allows for a progressive ramp up process and gives the AI plenty of data to use in the future. It also provides the most control in the early testing stages of campaign launch.

Over time, we transitioned campaigns from manual CPC to TCPA strategies. At this stage, all of the campaigns are on automatic bidding which has historically led to massive growth. However, we still have to consistently steer the AI in terms of daily budgeting and spend mix for each program. We regularly eliminate poor performing keywords from the campaigns as well. As mentioned earlier, we optimize all programs separately and have individual budgets for each one. The LA Film team is very strict about this. It’s almost like we’re managing 10 accounts!

4. Data Integration

The next step for the account is to have flawless data integration between the front-end (Google Ads & Bing Ads) and back-end (Sales Force). We needed to track the keyword, match type, device and which geo campaign the leads came from. This was done using a tracking template with custom parameters. Everything was done manually in order to preserve optimal formatting. After our tracking system was implemented, we started collecting very valuable data on every lead which came in. This allowed us to see CVRs, optimize the various segments and allocate budgets accordingly.

5. Lead Quality

We’ve had 2 years to collect data for LA Film, and we drew a great deal of meaningful insights from our findings. For example, we found out that leads from exact match keywords have by far the highest CVR and lowest cost per start. Hence, we’ve pushed as much money as possible towards exact match traffic. Other important observations from the data integration related to the performance of individual keywords, device, programs and seasonality. We continuously optimize based on these findings, which is a key component of our success. The ultimate goal is not just more leads but more enrollments for the lowest possible cost!

6. Funnel Optimization

Once again, LA Film has a great internal marketing team that has taken great care in optimizing their funnel and landing pages. We’ve consulted them whenever they needed additional insights and tips. We also provide traffic data that helps them build content on the landing pages and optimize them to improve their relevancy and performance. We work alongside them by frequently providing data and creative ideas.

The Results

The Proof

2017 vs 2016

2018 vs 2017

2018 vs 2016

2018 vs 2019

“Since our main focus is SEM, we can’t tell you how refreshing it is to work with a scrappy, knowledgeable team that, just like us, is actually willing to put in the effort required for reaching performance goals. They clearly understand that a long-term partnership is one of the most important outcomes of a client’s success. Since day 1, the team was committed to growing in tandem with us, and we’ve both managed to flourish through their leadership.”

James Winstead

James Winstead

VP of Marketing

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