In the increasingly competitive world of higher study marketing, you want to get the largest out of your ad budget.
Generally, the main indicator of performance in higher education is the start/submission rate of the form, by which you can measure the quality of each lead based on the lead’s behavior.
Since Facebook remains the preferred channel for influencing your potential customers and introducing your program to potential students, Google remains the strongest channel for conversion at the last touch. Depending on the program,
LinkedIn can have a big influence, as its precise segmentation algorithm makes it an exceptional channel to reach highly qualified and professional potential customers.
However, with new paid media strategies popping up all the time, it can be difficult to know which tactic or channel is worth paying attention to. This is a question we ask every year here at Circa Interactive. What is the best channel to generate more student leads and reach your enrollment goals?
Create similar audiences
Identical audience targeting remains one of the most effective targeting strategies for 2020. As the Facebook pixel is growing more and more intelligent in detecting and matching new audiences based on its criteria, designing and implementing Look like campaigns should be a crucial part of its 2020 strategy.
After creating a similar audience based on past leads, candidates, and enrolled students, Facebook will search, find, and match the audiences most relevant to your seed list.
I prefer to create and target three identical audiences per seed list. If the geographic segmentation area is large enough (national campaigns), 1%, 3%, and 5% will be the most similar audiences.
As your geographic area goal decreases (that is, at the state level), you may need to give more space to the Facebook pixel; therefore, 2%, 4%, and 6% may be a better option.
Leverage pixels and tags
The leverage of the pixel/tag will be greater than ever in 2020. It seems that gradually our main platforms – Google / Bing, Facebook, and even LinkedIn – are struggling to have more control over the platform users and media buyers; putting you in the hands of your machine learning algorithms.
Google is primarily concerned with determining the intent of users’ searches; which goes well with the notion that voice search is becoming a more central part of how humans engage with search engines.
I have a strong feeling that this year you will see more and more queries in your SQR, tangential to the keywords entered in the system.
Facebook is primarily concerned with winning/retaining users on its platform and increasing time on the site – doing so with quality involvement. Engagement should be a strong KPI in your cold audience if it’s not already.
That said, definitely try your content this year to determine what is most appealing to which audiences; knowing that it probably won’t be the same ad that will perform best on your potential clientele.
I also recommend taking advantage of dynamic creativity in your ad sets – it has recently been revealed that showing dynamic ads can saturate social proof in your sponsored post (for example, instead of four ads, each with separate likes/shares/comments, you receive a dynamic ad with all consolidated social evidence), which can also be carried over to new campaigns.
Try LinkedIn Mail
As traditional channels become more competitive, 2020 will be a year of expansion to new platforms or the use of resources that can be overlooked. One, in particular, is LinkedIn InMail, as it is a great way to reach newly graduated students
when they start looking for a job on LinkedIn. One of InMail’s biggest advantages is the ability to reach students of all personalities.
Each student processes knowledge differently – some may require to start an application quickly, while others prefer to read a brochure or participate in a webinar. The possibilities are endless, but be concise and stick to only about 1 to 3 options.
Try these tips for success with LinkedIn Mail:
Use one person as the sender – no one wants to feel like another number; therefore, make it personal and include a photo with whom the student will be talking.
AVOID EXCESSIVE CAPS – don’t rely on capital letters to stand out, because LinkedIn disapproves before you even start.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should – InMail offers advertisers the ability to send up to 1,900 characters in the body. However, you want to keep track of your message, because you are probably not the only one in the inbox.
Understand a student’s journey
Google Search Ads remains one of the strongest channels for converting leads into students, especially now that Google has changed the look of the search results page.
Ads dominate above the fold space with a very organic look, resulting in a greater chance of being clicked on before the user scrolls to organic search results.
Before jumping into keyword research and campaign structure, it’s important to understand a potential student’s journey to enroll in a program. Information from previous students can talk about a student’s interests and influence the type of ad to be created.
It is no secret that paid media in any sector is quite competitive, but for higher education, it is one of the most expensive in the market. Long-tailed or broad + branded keywords are a great start to creating user prospecting campaigns whose intent is greater than those who are in the awareness stage and are looking for broader terms. This is where display/video redirection is useful.
We already know that these people clicked on the ad and may not have converted due to a bad time or uncertainty about the right program for them.
If it takes three to six months for a user to confirm before purchase, a user’s awareness, consideration, and decision stages are important. Each stage plays a different role in educating a user why that specific program is appropriate and why he/she should act.