Lead nurturing is a process that involves building a relationship with your prospects by showing them consistent brand messages with the intent of getting them further down the sales cycle.

For Northcentral University, our lead nurturing goal is to continue engagement with individuals who have inquired about a program at our school, but who haven’t moved further through the admissions process to apply and ultimately enroll in a degree program.

Prior to using Facebook, we mainly used email and phone calls as our lead nurturing solution. But, since we have had so much success with using Facebook ads as a channel for driving prospective student inquiries, we wanted to try using Facebook Custom Audience targeting to show our brand message to people who’ve already inquired but didn’t enroll.

Create Audience So, we conducted an A/B Test. Using a daily export of new inquiries from the prior day pulled from our lead management system, we evenly divided our list so that half of our list was uploaded into a Custom Audience Facebook lead nurturing campaign, and the other half of the list was not. In order to maintain an apples-to-apples comparison, we were sure to evenly divide the list by different media types. For example, since we know leads generated from organic search typically have a much higher conversion rate than those from a third-party affiliate marketing channel, we wanted to be sure that there was an equal number of organic leads that saw the Facebook lead nurturing message and an equal number in the list that didn’t see the Facebook message.

AB Test Sample Ads:
Sample Ads


After running the A/B test for 30 days, and then analyzing the results, we found that the individuals in our list who saw the Facebook lead nurturing messages had a higher likelihood of applying and enrolling in school – about a 20% lift in application volume over those who didn’t see the Facebook ads.

Knowing this, we stopped the A/B test and began uploading the entire daily lead export list into a Facebook Custom Audience campaign. We continue to use Facebook as a lead nurturing resource.


Regardless of what kind of business you are in, try conducting a similar test. With Facebook having over 1 billion members, chances are the email address a prospect used to inquire about your products or services is the same email address linked to their Facebook account, which means you can target them specifically with Custom Audience ads and customize your message based on what their needs and interests are. Using Facebook as a lead nurturing tool can help to continue reinforcing your brand message and continuing the dialogue with your current and prospective customers.

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Alexis Castorina
Alexis Castorina is a veteran digital marketer with diverse experience in higher education, technology and non-profit verticals. She currently works as Senior Marketing Manager for Northcentral University, which is a graduate-focused online university based in Scottsdale and Prescott Valley, Arizona. At NCU, she drives new student growth through SEM, display, social, mobile and other emerging media channels.