The Tippie College of Business is the business school for the University of Iowa. Since 2020, True Interactive has been managing paid media campaigns for Iowa’s MBA programs (online and on campus).


increase in leads


decrease in CPL


The Tippie College of Business was not satisfied with several aspects of their MBA lead generation efforts. The cost per lead was higher than they wanted, the number of leads had decreased over time,
and they wanted to improve their brand awareness for their highly ranked program.


During the first year that we implemented the above changes, we saw a 45% increase in leads, and a 30% decrease in CPL. During the first two years we were not able to increase their budgets, but we’ve subsequently gotten approval for 25% more spend, which was a result of the improvement in performance.


As is the case with all clients, True Interactive performed campaign audits to develop a roadmap for improving results.

Our initial review of their tactics found many areas for improvement. The paid search campaigns were built several years ago and did not follow current best practices. This included the number of keywords, the match types, the bidding strategies, and the improper use of audiences. Additionally, a lack of ad copy and landing page tests all led to poor performance.

We also audited the tagging and reporting that was being used and found discrepancies between their CRM data and Google Analytics.

We started with the measurement clean-up, because we knew it wouldn’t matter what we did if the data wasn’t accurate. We discovered errors in their implementation and set-up of Google analytics that we immediately corrected. We then built a new Brand campaign and two new non-brand campaigns that focused on either the online or on campus terms. Those campaigns were duplicated for local (Eastern Iowa) and then a regional version.

We built a Discovery campaign (now called Demand Gen) that included:

Custom intent audience using MBA keywords (non-brand)

In-market audience for business education

Excluding current students and alumni lists

Excluding higher age ranges

We rebuilt a remarketing campaign and ran images ads and responsive display ads.

We then built a new LinkedIn campaign for prospecting to help with the awareness goals. We used interest targeting and lookalike targeting. We worked with Iowa to develop profiles on the age ranges, companies, seniority levels and types of jobs that align with current and past MBA students.

Lastly, we launched a YouTube campaign that capitalized on its ability to attract prospects who have shown an interest in graduate-level business degrees.

Based on performance, we developed a media plan that detailed how much was spent on each tactic, and weighed the spend so that we took advantage of the higher performing months.