How Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health Boosted Enrollments & Awareness During COVID-19


Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health needed to drive student enrollments at a time when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional methods of reaching students were unavailable. They wanted to increase qualified enrollment numbers, stay competitive with the top public health schools, and build awareness for newly launched programs. It was important to ensure that the enrollments were qualified applicants for their program.

Our strategy

Perfect Search began by analyzing historical data to identify areas of improvement and found opportunities for growth within low click-through and conversion rates. 

The Perfect Search team tested landing pages to increase conversion rates. The testing strategy included testing broader pages against more focused pages on the website, providing design recommendations for a PPC landing page with a focus on conversions, and utilizing best practices for UX, accessibility, and conversion-friendly design.

The team also worked to improve ad copy. Ad copy was made more specific, new value propositions and statistics were added to the copy, and creative was refreshed often to keep up with competitors.

Competitors were specifically targeted. Competitor spend, keywords, and traffic were closely monitored to add new competitors as needed and adjust bid strategies.

Additionally, targeting was further refined. With back-end data, the team was able to make informed targeting decisions on location, fields of study, and degrees obtained.


91% increase in clicks from the Mailman website to application website

18% increase in overall conversion rate, which lowered student acquisition costs & reflects improvement in website experience

20% increase in click-through rate for key degree programs, indicating that ads were more engaging and relevant to prospective students

What this means for your business

For businesses with very specific audiences, constant efforts should be made to ensure that all possible adjustments to targeting are established and optimized routinely so that ad spend isn’t wasted on irrelevant audiences. Additionally, landing pages should be tested against each other to improve conversion rates and efficiency as much as possible.

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