Case Study: Online College Increases Awareness for Spring Semester with’s OTT/CTV Solutions


Advertiser Overview
• Accredited online college offering bachelor’s and master’s programs
• Sought to increase student enrollments for the spring 2021 semester
• Switched programmatic partners to to improve performance/span> Agency Overview
• Full-service agency focused on data, insights, and strategy
•  Clients include education institutions, national brands, and healthcare
•  Partner of since 2017 on behalf of multiple clients
   and track online-to-offline conversions
•  98.4%OTT/CTV Video Completion Rate
•  3,940 Online Conversions
•  $114.86 Cost Per Action




In the U.S., electronic learning is predicted to grow by $21.64 billion during 2020-2024 (Business Wire). Online schools that hope to capture the attention of the growing number of students seeking to learn digitally can benefit greatly from programmatic advertising. One accredited online college had been using programmatic OTT/CTV advertising, but wasn’t satisfied with their previous provider’s results and impact on key recruitment and enrollment metrics. They worked with their agency to enlist a new programmatic partner to increase high value actions through more advanced targeting and attribution.


The agency, who has worked with since 2017 on behalf of several advertisers, is highly focused on data analytics. They developed a new strategy for the advertiser in order to increase awareness and engagement among prospective students. In order to implement a data-driven OTT/CTV advertising campaign with detailed reporting insights, the agency and advertiser enlisted for custom addressable audience creation, precise household-level targeting, web-based behavioral targeting, and online attribution capabilities.

Ultimately, the advertiser sought to maximize awareness among their target market to drive enrollment for the spring semester. They aimed to achieve a 95% Video Completion Rate (VCR) and also wanted to deliver a low Cost Per Action for specific high value online actions from targeted users, such as application completions. Together, the college, agency, and designed a comprehensive two-month OTT/CTV advertising campaign to accomplish these goals.


To start, the advertiser and agency used’s Addressable Audience Curation tool to build a massive custom addressable audience that aligned exactly with their target profile. The team curated an addressable audience in real-time based on location data and by choosing from more than 500 demographic variables. They generated a custom audience of users with an interest in online education located throughout all 50 states, totaling approximately 11.88 million homes.

Using that household data,’s Addressable Geo-Fencing solution then automatically built target zones around the exact shape and size of each individual property using GPS data paired with plat lines. This enabled the advertiser to precisely reach their target audience at home with large-screen OTT/CTV ads.


Additionally, the advertiser wanted to maximize reach among potential adult students by targeting users based on their online activity. The team implemented Keyword Search Retargeting and Keyword Contextual Targeting, thus capturing users who were actively searching for and reading about online education. With’s cross-device matching, users who conducted searches on their mobile or desktop devices would be served ads on their large-screen OTT/CTV devices. implemented more than 5,700 keywords including master’s programs, graduate degree programs, online university degree programs, accredited online programs, online technology programs, and many more. The team initially set the variable recency at 30 days, meaning the campaign would serve ads to users up to one month after they completed a search or read an applicable keyword. With quick learning after launch, and the agency optimized the campaign by decreasing the recency to two weeks in order to ensure ads were still relevant for prospective students who were actively searching for online education.


While the ads exclusively served on large-screen OTT/CTV devices, cross-device matching also enabled the advertiser to track online conversions for actions taken on other devices of a targeted user. The college wanted to track the number of users who visited the website after seeing an OTT/CTV ad, as well as high-value actions including requests for information, application completions, and “Chat Now” button clicks.


Over the course of the two-month campaign,’s automated and manual optimizations drove significant week-over-week improvements. By blocklisting underperforming domains, adjusting the frequency cap to limit the number of impressions per user, and focusing on users who were most likely to convert, and the agency continuously improved results. In fact, the CPA decreased by 96% from week one to week 15, averaging a 6.43% decrease each week. The final CPA was $114.86, a highly successful figured based on the expected lifetime value of a new student.

Additionally, the campaign achieved a 98.4% VCR, beating the goal of 95%. Furthermore, there were 3,940 total online conversions including 34 requests for information completions, 12 application completions, and 34 chat now button clicks tracked. The advertiser was so pleased with the results that they extended the campaign by an additional month, and plan on using’s OTT/CTV solutions for their next fall semester recruitment campaign.
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