Columbia Southern University

Lowering the Cost-Per-Lead for Paid Search Campaigns and improving Conversions Rates.

Columbia Southern University Orange Beach, AL


After reviewing historical data in paid search platforms, data supplied to us regarding downstream metrics such as applications, enrolls and starts, and the school’s website for SEO and CRO best practices, Becker put together a strategy for generating more leads for the Houston campus.

Our research found that there was a need for more impression share as well as a need to improve Ad Position within Paid Search platforms. Reorganizing Designated Market Areas within the campaigns that were not yielding results from a Cost-Per-Lead and conversion standpoint was a top priority as well. Additionally, campaigns that currently had low CPLs yet high conversion rates needed more budget allocation.


Becker’s goal was to improve ad positioning and increase impression share for both brand and non-brand campaigns, once achieved we continually made adjustments within both campaigns based on the results. We also wanted to increase spend in the Designated Market Areas that were proving to have a more efficient CPL and Cost-Per-Enrollment, while also decreasing spend in the Designated Market Areas that were higher in CPL and lower in enrollments.

By consistently adjusting the campaigns based on results, we were able to reduce the cost-per-lead while also improving the quality of leads. Becker increased impression share from 32.7% to 60.8%, which placed CSU at the “Absolute Top” for many of the keyword searches for our non-brand campaigns, which resulted in an improved CTR from 2.7% to 5.2%, almost doubling the previous agency’s production. This also improved the cost-per-conversion by 44% for the non-brand campaigns. For the brand campaigns, we increased the impression share from 84.7% to 98.3%, and although the cost-per-conversion went up, it allowed us to get more leads at a lower CPL that were converting at a higher rate, rather than continuing to allocate budget to non-brand campaigns that were not working.

Growth in 1st Year
Growth in 2nd Year
Decrease in CPL