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Measuring Your School’s Marketing Performance

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Making The Grade: How to Measure Your School Marketing Performance

Schools are complicated, challenging organizations to measure—and school marketers have their work cut out for them. Most are held accountable to many different decision-makers, each with multiple, occasionally competing objectives, goals and data points. So it comes as no surprise that, in our 2021 State of Independent School Marketing Survey, 44% of private and independent school marketers said their number one question is “How do I measure the effectiveness of my digital marketing?”

In this article, we offer some tips your school marketing team can use to measure success, understand what’s working and what isn’t, and turn that data into news that school decision makers can use.


Many (if not most) school marketers struggle to understand how their ads are performing, whether they’re connecting with the right people, and how that performance translates into enrollments—a.k.a. ROI. 

If you’re in this boat, don’t worry that you’re “running behind” or have done something wrong. It’s one of the most common issues faced by school marketing teams (and many businesses as well).

Nine times out of ten, this struggle is occurring for one—or both—of two reasons: the data points you’re tracking aren’t directly linked to outcomes that drive your school forward, and/or the technology your school is using has made performance analysis extremely difficult (including SchoolAdmin, Blackbaud, Ravenna, etc.).

As always, building a strong foundation starts with gathering the right data.


When asked whether they know what key performance indicators (KPIs) to track, a fifth of survey respondents said they don’t. The good news is, identifying your KPIs is easier than you think: the trick lies in understanding your objectives.

You may know the clicks, visits, and impressions your school’s website receives. But when these data points aren’t tied directly to outcomes that drive your school forward—such as event attendance, inquiries and applicants—you’re left looking at information that’s unrelated to the thing you’re trying to measure. It’s like having every stat in a football game except for the score, and then trying to determine who won.

A solid, workable measurement plan starts by identifying the measurable outcomes that really matter to your school. Only then does it identify the KPIs that directly support those outcomes. Once you’re measuring the right things, you can organize your channels, tactics, and content according to the different roles they play in driving those outcomes.

Once your objectives and KPIs are in place, your next step is finding a clear, actionable way to gather and report on them.

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