This experiment is part of a series of tests to boost uptake of the Centre’s training services performed in 2022, using data for evidence-based management. It built on earlier findings regarding the right digital-marketing mix required to increase training outreach and the role of free self-guided distance-learning courses in stimulating the uptake of fee-based services (see the previous experiment here).
The scope of the experiment was limited to the promotion of the Centre’s free self-guided distance-learning courses, in particular the following 7 courses
The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for measuring the results of the experiment were
The experiment also used a data-driven marketing funnel to compare the results of the promotional activities on the different channels
Two tests have been conducted, focused on leveraging data analytics and digital marketing channels to enhance the Centre's training outreach and improve the effectiveness of their promotional activities.
In the first test seven flagship free self-guided distance-learning courses were selected or developed from the Centre's existing portfolio. These courses were promoted to specific target groups or personae based on their interests, education, keywords, job roles, and organizations. The promotion was carried out through various digital marketing channels, including social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and email newsletters using a CRM application called Active Campaign. The test aimed to expand the participant universe and provide the Technical Programmes with a stronger knowledge base on how to develop and raise awareness of their free self-guided distance-learning courses.
The second test focused on promoting the entire portfolio of free self-guided distance-learning courses offered by the Centre. It aimed to increase participants' awareness of the courses and boost outreach. The experiment involved three digital marketing channels: social media (organic posts), email newsletters, and the eCampus platform. The promotion was carried out through a single social media post on the Centre's Facebook and Instagram pages, an email sent to subscribers of the Centre's newsletter, and by inserting a link to the portfolio of free courses on the eCampus pages of the selected flagship courses.
5.1 Test 1: Promotion of selected free Self-guided distance-learning courses to further investigate other channels for increasing training outreach and other possible segmentation variables
The results of the first part of the experiment show that targeted outreach campaigns specific to given distance-learning courses further drive up demand.
Look at the following graphics to see the trend of enrolments triggered by the digital marketing campaigns per week.
A closer look at the number of enrolments by course sheds further light on the effectiveness of digital marketing. As the next graphic suggests, there is a correlation but no causality: enrolments go up in all courses as a result of the campaign but the topic of each course still makes an important difference.
Learn from the next graphics the impact of different digital marketing tools at a higher level of resolution in each step of the marketing funnel.
The results show that the conversion rate of social media organic posts was very high (35%), followed by LinkedIn Ads (17%). In terms of absolute numbers, 2,254 new enrolments came from Facebook Ads and the cost of a new enrolment was very low (€0.31). In terms of awareness, Facebook Ads were very effective with more than 2 million people seeing the post at least once or receiving the emails.
As a result, we can state that it is important to coordinate and integrate different promotional channels. In this case, promoting first on Facebook Ads and then organically could have helped to expand the audience interested in free SG DL courses through paid promotion and then increase the engagement and conversion rate.
5.2 Test 2: Promotion of the ITCILO’s portfolio of free self-guided distance-learning courses
The results of the second part of the experiment show that centralized digital marketing boosts awareness and response rates, although effectiveness varies from channel to channel.
Look at the following graphic that compares the results of single course and the portfolio promotion: when the green bar is almost fully extended means that performance was far above average. This is the case for the promotion of four of the single courses, and of the portfolio promotion. Tracking and increasing views is important as, in general, a higher number of page views can lead to increased traffic to the ITCILO website.*
The above graphic compares the results for the promotion of the portfolio of the free self-guided distance-learning courses (test 1) with those for each individual course (test 2). Considering the views/number of people reached (FB: 5.3K, IG: 443), engagement (FB: 225, IG: N/A), likes and reactions (FB: 46, IG: 26), comments (FB: 1, IG: 0) and shares (FB: 10, IG: 0), the Facebook post promoting the portfolio performed well in relation to the results for the individual free SG DL courses posted organically. However, ITCILO presence on Instagram could be improved.
Results differed from course to course. The differences in numbers of people reached and engagement in the posts promoting the individual courses (which were published within one week, one post at a time) confirm that the principal driver in stimulating demand continues to be the course topic.
The results of the tests lead us to conclude that:
6.2 Recommendations and future experiments
ITCILO can investigate how to:
Original paper by: