Before starting any type of ROI calculation, it is important to understand two limitations. There will always be a portion of ROI that is impossible to track and attribute to digital advertising. For example, let’s say I see ads for a particular law program on my Facebook feed that captures my interest. I decided to click on an ad to explore a little further — but I do not fill out the request for information (RFI) form. Weeks later, I am reminded of the program after seeing a remarketing ad while browsing the web. I figure, it’s now or never, so I decide to get started on my application. Digital advertising without a doubt played an important role in my application, but because I did not fill out the RFI form on the landing page there is no way for the advertiser to know this.
The recruitment cycle may take months — even years. Let’s say that we ran digital ad campaigns from January to June in order to increase applications for the August start date of a law program. With such little time allowed for lead nurturing (2-7 months), it is important to understand that it will be common for leads received from January-June to matriculate into applications and enrollments for fall of that year, the next year, and beyond.
Keep in mind that there are short-term and long-term ROI metrics, and that you are never really finished calculating ROI — you should be revisiting this metric year-over-year. It is certainly helpful to understand the direct ROI of digital ad campaigns on the August start date, but it does not tell the full story of ROI — and that cannot be truly calculated for years down the road.
Also, remember that an effective ROI measurement of international recruitment efforts is based on two categories:
Hard returns are the number of leads generated by a given activity, website page views, inquiries, enrollees. If you are already our client, then these are the inquiries you get on your profile.
Soft returns include brand awareness, presence in new platforms, student engagement, and partnerships.