View-Through and Click-Through Conversions: Why Both Matter for Higher Education Marketing

Jason TewDigital Advertising AnalystOctober 29, 2020
View-through and click-through conversions measure how students engage with your digital marketing
View-through and click-through conversions can show you how prospective students are engaging with your campus and which activities are influencing their enrollment.

The campus partners we work with spend millions of dollars a year to influence the enrollment journey of their prospective students, so we want to make sure we know exactly which digital marketing efforts are most effective at moving students forward in that process. Conversion tracking and attribution helps us accomplish this, but these measurements aren’t part of a one-size fits all model. A blend is needed to correctly understand a student’s journey all the way from inquiry to enrollment.

Using view-through conversions or click-through conversions is one common way to break out conversion metrics. Each of these conversion categories is explained below.

View-through conversions

View-through conversions occur when a digital ad is viewed by a user and they complete a conversion action later. A user may view a display advertisement of a program your institution is offering, then later complete an RFI request through an organic search. That would be labeled as a view-through conversion for your display advertisement.

Click-through conversions

Click-through conversion measures users who click through an ad and complete a conversion action. For example if a user clicks on a social media ad and registers for an information session, that would be recorded as a click-through conversion for the social ad.

There are some nuisances that exist between different advertising platforms. The length of time (or conversion window as it is often referred to) varies by not only platform but also by conversion category. That’s something to be aware of when analyzing and comparing multiple advertising platforms.

Accurately measuring conversions relies on a blended approach

It is important though to understand that neither of these conversion metrics should be examined in a bubble. Both categories tend to play off each other, providing valuable insights where the other category may have gaps.

For example, click-through conversions tend to place an emphasis on channels with higher click-through rates. It tends to be better suited for efforts lower in the marketing funnel. View-through conversions, in contrast, help deepen insights into awareness and impression-based channels that occur higher in the marketing funnel. Examples of this may be video or display which tend to have lower click-through rates, but higher impression counts.

By using a blended approach, you can create a more complete picture of what digital interactions a user had, giving the proper credit to the various marketing channels that may have helped them convert along the way. While a click may produce a website visit, prospective students are interacting with campuses and programs across a multitude of devices and marketing channels, something you will want to account for by using click-through and view-through conversion metrics in tandem.

Why should campuses care about both view-through and click-through conversion metrics?

Deciding to pursue a higher education degree, whether that be for undergraduate or graduate school, is an important life decision. The modern prospective student’s journey is long, including tens if not hundreds of digital interactions with potential institutions. All those digital interactions play a role in moving a student from prospect to enrolled student.

For understanding how all your marketing tactics work in tandem, click-through and view-through conversion categories are invaluable metrics. With insights from both conversion categories, your team can ensure they don’t overvalue any one channel or marketing tactic and ultimately generate better budgets and optimizations that work throughout your entire marketing funnel.

Watch my discussion with RNL’s Scott Jeffe

I talked with Scott about these metrics and other digital marketing topics in this episode of RNL@Home.

Let’s talk about your digital marketing and enrollment strategies

In the current environment, it’s more important than ever to optimize your digital marketing for student recruitment. If you are interested in partnering with RNL to craft a comprehensive strategy for your campus or program, contact us and we’ll set up a time to talk.

About the Author

Jason Tew

Jason Tew works with RNL's partner colleges and universities to optimize their digital advertising strategies and monitor the performance of those campaigns to maximize ROI.  His responsibilities include data analysis, conversion tracking, performance reports, and...

Read more about Jason's experience and expertise

Reach Jason by e-mail at Jason.Tew@RuffaloNL.com.

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