How to maximize paid media ROI in a crowded marketplace: succeeding in Singapore’s competitive education sector 

Sean Donovan

08 June 2021

Driving demand in a crowded market is a challenge. Cutting through the noise isn’t easy, but it is possible. In Singapore the education sector is a perfect example of a highly competitive market where saturation is a constant hurdle to overcome. And yet success is possible. Find out how. 

In Singapore education is exceptionally important. Third party education providers are commonplace, whether it’s a tutor for primary school kids or professional upskilling, there is a high likelihood that most households are spending something on additional education.

While Singapore has some unique aspects, other Asian education markets share many of these same characteristics.

In Singapore, this constant demand is supported by an encouraging government with initiatives such as SkillsFuture Credit, this has led to a healthy supply of education providers. But the space is crowded and highly competitive.

Risks of advertising saturation

In addition, Singapore is a small and densely populated geography. It has a tech savvy population with some of the highest penetration rates of mobile phones, social media exposure and digital usage. With a population of only 5 million, audience segments can get over exposed to advertising very quickly.

When advertising in a particularly dense market, competition doesn’t just come in the form of direct competitors. Out-of-sector advertisers eat into your share of voice on digital platforms, so smart campaign management becomes even more critical.

These factors combine to create three significant challenges for education providers.

  • How do they stand out in a market so crowded?
  • How do they build brand awareness against increasing competition?
  • And how do they successfully create demand, spending advertising dollars in a space saturated by advertisers?

Working with some of Asia’s leading education providers on digital advertising campaigns has taught us a lot about what drives demand and enables us to answer these three critical questions.

Be constantly vigilant in balancing effectiveness and efficiency

You need clear starting goals in order to measure what is effective. But also be willing to move the targets once the campaign goes live. Daily analysis is critical to best understand when to make changes to an active campaign – and those changes can sometimes include leaving a platform entirely, to double efforts down on another that may be proving more effective.

The best campaign managers know when to tweak and when not to touch. Some campaigns require constant testing and iteration before that sweet spot is found. Without keeping a regular watchful eye on results, it becomes difficult to properly analyze what is working and what isn’t.

Manage your budgets on a daily basis

Bringing cost per lead down for education providers is always important, and as a metric has to be monitored day-by-day, all year round. The further you can reduce the price of acquiring a student, the better.

Prospects could be looking at your advertising at any point of the day or night – and a lot can change outside of office hours when it comes to advertising spend. Daily monitoring is essential to ensure you can effectively track performance against targets and respond immediately to issues or opportunities.

Active Optimization

Metia’s Active Optimization approach has performed strongly in Singapore's education sector. Using a proactive cadence to testing, adapting and correcting strategies, we have been able to deliver significant improvements in performance on education campaigns. allowing our clients to exceed their leads targets, whilst lowering the overall cost per lead (CPL).

Using Active Optimization techniques has been critical. We’ve often found that the same creative and copy contained in the worst performing ad can also feature in the best performing ad; there are more elements at play than purely how value propositions are articulated. Understanding everything that could possibly make a difference – every parameter – as well as having an appetite to constantly test, is vital to success.

You can learn more about our demand generation campaigns here and our Active Optimization techniques here.

Our recent work with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore is a great example of how active optimisation can have a big impact on ROI.

Or get in touch to speak with our experts in education marketing.