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Painting a Better Picture

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) was seeking both a new website and new students to boost enrollment. The site needed to highlight information on faculty, student testimonials, and details on the types of careers which come out of the program. This updated space needed some full-scale digital promotion to attract prospective students. Among well-known Canadian competitors, VanArts needed to stand out to secure valuable local leads. The result? An award-winning new site and a thoroughly revamped digital marketing strategy.

Our sister agency, Drive Digital, redesigned the VanArts website working closely with 6S Marketing’s conversion rate optimization experts. The new website structure is significantly improved in terms of organizing content for each program, and is better structured to showcase student work.

6S Marketing provided a website migration strategy to ensure that valuable domain and page authority was not lost during this transition. We also developed a sound SEO strategy, Google Analytics tracking and configuration, and optimized paid campaigns on AdWords (Paid Search and Display) and Facebook. After a thorough audit of their existing AdWords account, 6S restructured by program and region, with keywords continually refined to increase the quality of leads: users with interests in drawing, animation, comics, and video games.

Reaching the Local Scene

One challenge was a higher cost-per-acquisition and cost-per-click than expected in local markets, competing against major heavy-hitters such as Vancouver Film School and the Art Institute. While search campaigns targeting India performed especially well, VanArts wanted to also increase applications from local students due to immigration issues with international students. To focus on reaching potential students in BC and Alberta, 6S ran remarketing list search ads (RLSA), as well as local remarketing display banners. In addition, we ran a custom content piece on The Daily Hive, a native advertising format which garnered great results.

In terms of Analytics, we implemented a strategy and performed a restructure of the whole account. Prior to engaging with 6S, the Analytics setup was only tracking total leads and total applications at a very high level. We used data layers to capture applications by both intake and program to help with optimizing at a more granular level. We also created custom reports to monitor progress throughout the enrollment year and pinpoint opportunities.


VanArts gained a new website and fresh leads to accompany it; year-over-year, leads increased nearly 60%, and they spent more time on the site due to streamlined, informative content. Custom Analytics provide valuable intel for continually optimizing conversion points.

Results are noted below for April 28 – October 31, 2016, with year-over-year comparisons to April 28 – October 31, 2015.

Total leads: 60% YOY increase
Total applications: 25% YOY increase
Average time on site: 2:30 (vs. 2:13)
Average pages/session: 2.51 (vs. 2.29)

We’re proud to announce that VanArts’ new site design and strategy was awarded the top spot for best Digital – Integrated Web Campaign at the Western Canadian Marketing and PR Awards.

What’s next?

As we continue to build a strong relationship with VanArts, we are currently exploring international marketing targeting overseas students from China, South America, and Mexico. We continuously test and optimize our paid media campaigns to drive optimal results.

“I really like and appreciate the work from both of your firms, and see this as a wonderful long term partnership. We have lots to explore and look forward to continuing our creative work together.”

– Alan Phillips, President, VanArts

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