How We Helped An Independent School Advance Their Recruitment Marketing

Learn how we leveraged our campaign success to deliver a high-impact independent school recruitment campaign that drives admissions.

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, St. John’s-Ravenscourt (SJR) School is one of Canada’s leading K to 12 independent schools, with an internationally recognized reputation for excellence dating back over 200 years. 

Since 2016, Metric has worked with SJR to execute recruitment campaigns that connect with the hearts and minds of right-fit families in Winnipeg and across Canada. These campaigns have consistently surpassed all performance benchmarks, measurably raising awareness of the SJR brand, filling spots at open house events, and leading right-fit families to enrol.


In today’s post-pandemic era, demand for private and independent school education is at an all-time high, making the market more competitive than ever before. 

After three years of continuously optimizing SJR’s in-market recruitment campaign, it was time to take the next step in campaign evolution. Leveraging the existing campaign momentum, we sought to showcase the breadth and depth of SJR’s strengths, while retaining the brand equity we’ve helped them build to-date.  

Our solution needed to start with a focus on middle years grades, but should be applicable for expansion to all SJR school programs, scalable for a wide range of media, and adaptable for diverse audiences.  


SJR’s existing recruitment campaign owned the position of “leadership” in the category. Having successfully established a recognizable in-market presence, we now had the opportunity to expand the definition of “leadership” to encompass all SJR has to offer. 

We built on our research and understanding of the school to identify the key areas that parents and guardians seek for their children, where SJR is a leader. Using the brand platform of “leadership” as a guide, we united these key messages under a clear, compelling Big Idea that communicated what it means to be part of SJR.

The new digital strategy main focus is to continue to create awareness on SJR main differentiators and to drive prospective parents to submit Request for Information forms, register for admissions events, and email or phone admissions.

Best performing channels from past strategies - Google Search, Google Display, and Facebook/Instagram - were included in the new digital strategy as they have proven to be successful in driving high traffic to the website and in generating conversions. 

New Google channels - Google Dynamic Search, Google Smart Search and Google Discovery - were introduced to the new digital strategy to increase reach and conversions. Google Discovery campaigns were added to reach more users based on their interests (i.e. education, private schools) and demographics (i.e. parents). Google Smart Search and Google Dynamic Search were introduced to increase the volume of relevant search queries the campaign can capture by using Google intelligence.

All new ads are redirected to the new page built out by SJR’s marketing team on the main SJR website. This page includes a Request for Information form, registration options on upcoming admission events, and visible contact information at the top of the page (i.e. a clickable email to admissions option) to get as many conversions as possible.


Who better to capture the joy of learning at SJR, than SJR students themselves? We conducted an original photoshoot with SJR students of all ages, capturing their passion and joy while showcasing the school’s focus on academic excellence, creative expression, active living and social responsibility. 

High-contrast photography and strong, minimalist design elements that make bold use of the school’s brand colours created a visual platform that was instantly recognizable as SJR. Ad copy highlighted SJR’s leadership approach while identifying key areas the school is known for.

The campaign ran on a wide range of media, that included a mix of digital channels (Google Search, Smart, Dynamic, Display, Discovery, Facebook and Instagram) and traditional advertising. Its initial run placed emphasis on middle years grades, but was flexible enough to include all ages. To do so, we set up the search campaign by grouping keywords in separate ad groups to better target users searching specifically for elementary school, middle, and high school. On Facebook and Instagram, we targeted parents of junior schoolers, middle schoolers, and senior schoolers who are interested in education related themes, with different ads and messages tailored to each specific age group.


Almost two months after being launched, SJR paid digital advertising campaigns have generated 27.6% of the website traffic and have managed to increase by 5.7% the number of pages visited per session and by 11.0% the average session duration.

Above-average click-through rates indicate users are finding SJR ads highly relevant - paid search (13.3%), display (1.4%), and Facebook (1.5% ).

Paid initiatives have generated 37% of total goal completions, 69% of which correspond to primary conversions - phone calls or form submissions for the Inquiry Form embedded on the new page built for the campaign. 

Emails to admissions have increased 368% in comparison to the same period last year. Paid social, paid search and display campaigns have generated 55% of the total number of emails to admissions. This growth can be attributed to the new clickable email to admissions option added at the top of the new page built for the campaign.

The goal at the end of the day is to get prospective parents to submit a form, email or call Admissions, which this campaign is successfully doing. These conversions are the most valuable, since you now have a prospect's contact information in your Admissions database.

Metric worked closely with SJR’s internal marketing team to augment their strengths and ensure all aspects of our approach were aligned with their institutional and departmental objectives. By taking a data-driven approach, we’ve armed SRJ with the information they need to understand the ROI of this campaign, make sound decisions based on the results, and use the tools they have to their fullest possible advantage.

You can learn more about the private and independent schools we’ve helped here, view other marketing campaigns we’ve built and executed here, or click here to discover the difference our marketing experts can make for your school.

“​​Working with Metric marketing has been a great experience. They have provided insight into our market. Developed multiple campaigns to draw prospective students to our school and provided guidance on best approaches to digital marketing strategies. 

Metric marketing has provided reports throughout our campaigns to best understand how our campaign was progressing and the results we were gaining. At the end of each campaign, they summarized the success of the campaign and provided ideas for next steps for future campaigns and marketing improvements. We have been thrilled with the outcomes that Metric has been able to do for our school.

Lindsay Stovel, 

Director of  Admissions and Marketing,

St. John’s-Ravenscourt School

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