What you need to know about Higher Ed digital advertising

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If you, like me, are new to running digital advertising campaigns and are wondering where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

In an effort to get a stronger understanding of what I need to know, I called Hayley Warack, VP of Digital Advertising at Converge Consulting to help break it down for me. Here are the biggest pieces of information that I learned from our conversation.

1. How to break down a Higher Education digital advertising campaign budget

Most often, Hayley and her team at Converge work with admissions departments at universities across the country to increase qualified leads for specific programs. This is their general rule for where to spend your campaign dollars:

i) 40 – 60% Search: This is where you will spend most of your budget since you’ll be competing for similar keywords as your competitors. You’re also competing for more qualified leads who are have more intent.

ii) 20 – 40%: Display and social media ads: This is the most cost-effective tactic for you to utilize. It’s not as competitive which helps you get a bigger bang for your buck.

iii) 10-20%: Retargeting: Once someone shows interest in your program, retargeting becomes the most cost-effective way to re-engage.

Converge Digital Ads

Various digital advertising tactics and the roles they play in the student enrollment journey via Converge Consulting

2. Promote helpful content, not ads

According to Hayley, this became one of the biggest trends of 2016. Why? Admissions departments are looking to engage Generation-Z prospects, and as we know, they’re not as welcoming to traditional ads. According to Spredfast, Gen-Z grew up with high expectations which is why “There’s no room for boring brand messaging here.” This generation has come to expect highly-customized content, which is why your best bet is to promote creative content that benefits them in some way.

Hayley was impressed by a campaign geared toward MBA prospects which offered helpful information on a theme they know prospects are looking for: professional development. The university promoted downloadable pieces of content like“Pros of Having a Career Coach” and “Tips for being a Better Presenter.” It offered its audience useful information that they were interested in, all while providing the university an opportunity to collect email addresses from these potential students.

3. Repurpose pre-existing content for landing pages

When I asked Hayley what missed opportunities exist within higher ed digital advertising, she was quick to respond with “utilizing internal resources.” She explained that universities should look to repurpose what they already have, which can create efficiencies in your team’s work and your budget. Hayley explained that many schools end up developing new creative for these campaigns, but often overlook already created resources that would be the perfect content for a landing page or other promotion. Consider what your school already has – survey results from alumni, interesting data to help programs, personal stories from alumni, etc.

If you’re interested in learning more about higher ed digital advertising, check out the Converge team’s “Ask Us Anything” video here: http://convergeconsulting.org/webinar/digital-advertising-ask-us-anything/

Hayley Warack, Converge

Hayley Warack, Converge Consulting

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