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Media mix modeling and advanced channel optimization for 1.8X lead increase and 15% decrease in CPL

When NCSA College Recruiting, the world’s largest college athletic recruiting platform, faced declining lead volume and quality that jeopardized the goals of a 400-person sales team at the end of 2022, they turned to Playbook Media

The Playbook Media Approach

Audit findings

Playbook’s proprietary account audit uncovered three areas of significant growth and performance opportunity: 

  • A more effective mix of media channels, powered by predictive analytics
  • Platform-specific optimizations fueled by back-end data integration
  • New creative

Optimized media mix

Before Playbook began management of NCSA’s ad accounts, the brand was relying on last-touch attribution that diminished the value of NCSA’s brand. After leading a months-long project to clean and segment NCSA’s internal data, Playbook partnered with ChannelMix to develop customized real-time media mix models to inform the statistical impact of marketing efforts on revenue. With the media mix models implemented, Playbook redistributed NCSA’s marketing budget to maximize impact. Playbook complemented the models with in-platform lift studies for a complete picture of incremental growth per channel.

Renovated channel performance

Playbook did a proprietary audit of NCSA’s Google, Bing, Meta, TikTok, and Snap accounts. The audit revealed three significant opportunities: 1) cut spend without affecting revenue; 2) restructure campaigns to capture low-hanging lead volume and enable channel algorithms to engage valuable audiences; and 3) improve lead quality by feeding lower-funnel conversion data into the media channels via conversion APIs. In our first month, we cut $100K in wasted spend and reduced cost per lead by 27% while keeping volume relatively flat. One month after we incorporated back-end conversion data, NCSA saw a 23% increase in leads and a 19% drop in CPL – which was a significant factor in the overall results driven from the combined initiatives.

New creative

Playbook’s audit uncovered stale creative assets that were not optimized to drive sales using social media’s newest available ad formats.​ We edited existing assets for use in Reels and Stories ads, managed the collection and editing of UGC, and produced high-quality new assets through quarterly video shoots to drive great click through and conversion rates. Our creative efforts in the first 6 months led to 155 net new assets produced, an increase in CTR% across social platforms, new audiences unlocked through UGC content, and efficient new media placements including Story Ads on Snapchat, LeadGen Ads on TikTok, and Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns on Meta.

The Results


Lead Volume




Growth in ratio of
qualified leads

Next up, we plan to test CTV, programmatic, and YouTube campaigns
to reach more high-value users at efficient costs.

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