American Public University Yields Over 52% Reduction In Cost Per Action for Enrollments


A well-respected American university recently partnered with Genius Monkey in an effort to promote specific degree programs and boost enrollment numbers. The university was also struggling with a specific degree program, and after seeing initial results from the branding campaign, they came to us to help support them with that “niche degree,” as well.

The university reached out to Genius Monkey for help with boosting student enrollment through greater brand awareness. They began running display ads with Genius Monkey, then added video ads, followed by retargeting tactics, and saw positive results within the first two months.

The Challenge

The university approached Genius Monkey to help expand their footprint through greater brand awareness. They wanted to incorporate a programmatic platform that would find and target appropriate audiences, and potentially increase enrollment numbers.

The university had three primary campaign goals:

  • Boost Brand Awareness Boost Brand Awareness
  • Expand their Digital Footprint Expand their Digital Footprint
  • Increase Enrollment Numbers Increase Enrollment Numbers

Our Solution

Genius Monkey started with a general branding campaign for the university’s online division. We leveraged multiple creative sets to A/B test performance. Display image ads were very successful in the first month, and in the second month we added a video component. We also added a retargeting plan to the mix in order to build a pool of individuals we could deploy with program-specific campaigns in the future.

By serving their highly-targeted ads to a spectrum of channels, the university could generate vast attention for their brand and educational programs, and in turn boost student enrollments. To achieve this, Genius Monkey crafted an advertising plan that would:

  • Build a strong campaign foundation using targeted display ads
  • Add-in video ads after first month to support the display ads with a richer media
  • Incorporate a strong retargeting plan to follow up on the prospecting efforts of display and video

The Results

We initiated a degree-specific campaign, and less than a month later, the program had extremely strong results with the branding campaign, which the university attributes to the plan put into place with Genius Monkey.

Their CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) for enrollments yielded a 25.6% reduction within the first month and a 52.86% reduction from the initial CPA cost by the end of month two. Currently, in a down enrollment market the enrollments are up 2.73% in the states where Genius Monkey is running, but down 5.74% in the states where the campaign is not running.

  • 25.6% reduction in CPAs for enrollment during first month
  • 52.86% total reduction in CPA by end of month two
  • 2.73% increase in enrollments in states where campaign was running, compared to a 5.74% decrease in enrollments in states without campaign ads


By delivering high-performing ads via display and video, followed by strong retargeting efforts, Genius Monkey was able to successfully engage highly-targeted audiences of potential students. The result was an overall boost in university brand awareness, as well as a marked increase in enrollments. This shows the powerful impact of well-designed and carefully-delivered programmatic ad campaign.

The university found incredible value in the customer path-to-conversion data and continues to work with Genius Monkey in an effort to find additional ways it might package their campaign data to help provide insights on a macro level.

By combining quality ad content with our programmatic precision targeting, Genius Monkey helped this American university client expand their online presence and get prospective students to quickly fill out website forms, which helped boost enrollment numbers.