How Open Colleges improved their acquisition strategy using data analytics and technology

Data and analytics are shaping the way businesses in the education sector make decisions to enhance their marketing strategies, as well as boost student academic performance.


Leading online educational institutions like Open Colleges are now utilising data to improve student acquisition tactics, onboarding processes, increase student-faculty engagement and student graduation rates, which now at 20% is significantly higher in comparison to their competitors. With more accurate data in place, marketing teams can focus on tracking and analysing the end-to-end user journey, to ensure their strategy and activities are clearly aligned with their business objectives to boost student numbers.

How do you utilise data to improve marketing activity?

Rakesh Vemu, Head of Digital Acquisition at Open Colleges says he’s able to analyse historical and real-time data to identify high value leads and prioritise them to be contacted through their sales call centre. By analysing user behaviour via their website, Open Colleges can successfully re-design campaigns and optimise media activities appropriately. Additionally, they utilise Google Analytics 360 (GA 360) and Salesforce to capture offline activity generated by online marketing channels. They also get a more holistic view of the customer acquisition funnel, which is usually a blind spot caused by offline interaction. This is further refined by a customised attribution model developed by Datalicious. “The integration between these two platforms has been hugely powerful for us as it allows us to understand the impact our online marketing channels have offline, through our sales call centre.”

How is data being used to capture more market share?

Deep level insights from the right data sources can help a business redesign several marketing activities to ensure they target their audiences at the right time, through the right channel and with the right message. Rakesh and his team at Open Colleges use insights to implement cross-channel suppression, reduce media wastage and expand their reach further. Their budget is then reinvested into tactics that help drive their marketing KPIs.  “With reduced marketing budgets year on year, we needed to find a way to minimise media redundancy and reach newer people to sell our courses to”. Another way Open Colleges is exploring to expand their share is by forging partnerships with other brands in the market and to use their data for acquisition purposes.

How does a business use data & technology to overcome obstacles?

Datalicious has been helping Open Colleges utilise key features in GA 360 by leveraging IDs within the platform with lengthy expiration dates to enable the ongoing analysis of paths throughout the entire conversion funnel. Their marketing team can then see how prospects move along touchpoints from the awareness stage all the way through to them showing strong signs of action, where they intend to apply for a course.

Open Colleges understand data and technology provide valuable insights that can be derived from the resources and expertise available with the right data partner, which is a core strategy for Rakesh and his team. “Time constraints are involved in finding the right talent and the issue of costs associated with running these actions can be hard to implement, so we look at leveraging this expertise from the industry to fill in those gaps.''

What’s next?

Advances in technology and finding the right expertise to drive further student acquisition is high on the agenda for Open Colleges.

For Rakesh’s team, a smoother user experience can help increase student acquisition and customisation of marketing tactics. The work they’ve done to date on segmentation has put them in a really strong position to further leverage on the infrastructure they have. This year, they’re looking into finding more of their best customers, which include individuals looking to upskill and advance in their professional career or those looking to get back into work after some time away. These new segments will allow Open Colleges to leverage and customise on adverts as well as websites and landing pages using A/B testing tools such as Google Optimize 360. This can in turn help supercharge their test and learn process and personalisation strategy.

If you’re looking to improve your segmentation or targeting efforts, and utilise other data sources, contact us so we can help you get the most out of your marketing activities and boost your business’ ROI potential.

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