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9 Must-Use Facebook Ad Strategies for Education
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Facebook ad strategies for education don’t just grow on trees; they take a lot of work. Creating Facebook ads for schools can be time-consuming, hard to put together, and, despite all of the effort, you may be seeing little lead generation.
So are you frustrated by your Facebook ad performance?
Wondering how you could generate more interest in your educational organization on the social network?
Luckily, there are tons of Facebook ad strategies that could help you increase your conversion rates.
In this post, I’m going to show you nine of my favorite ad strategies that we use to help clients in the education sector.
Before diving into the Facebook ad strategies for education, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest Facebook updates.
Latest Facebook Updates
Companies, particularly tech companies, stay relevant by continuously improving their products and features in order to beat out any competition—even giants like Facebook. Recently, Facebook made significant changes to their platform in order to improve user experience (sometimes these changes are to the detriment of many businesses).
This includes changes to their algorithm, interface, Messenger and videos.
Facebook made some major algorithm changes
Recently, Facebook launched an update to their algorithm which will make significant changes to the way in which people see and interact with their feed. In the past, businesses have seen a decline in the number of organic engagements and reach due to similar changes to Facebook’s algorithm, however, this new change is said to not hinder pages (we shall see):
- The change will prioritize friends based on post engagements
- And it will make links visible that the user might find interesting based on past interactions.
As stated, the changes should not significantly impact your page performance. But, as always, it’s good to track any changes to ensure that there aren’t any issues and that your reach is not affected.
Another significant alteration is the change in the mobile interface of Facebook. This is an update on how Facebook will look on desktop and mobile.
Facebook appears to be focusing on stories, groups, and events more than ever before. The mobile app change has already rolled out to most users, and the desktop alteration is making its rounds.
Facebook Messenger Update
Facebook Messenger has been updated as well. As Facebook says, the application will get “lighter,” and “faster.” This will improve performance. With these updates, expect more ability for businesses to stay engaged with their consumers.
Businesses can soon see some changes to Messenger that can help with their services. These changes will include:
- Appointment booking functions
- Lead generation template
- Customer Care
The way videos will be ranked on Facebook is also being altered. Here are the three factors that affect ranking:
- Loyalty: if people continuously go back and watch your video, this will improve your videos ranking.
- View Duration: the more people watch off your video, the better. People dropping off a video or bouncing will be detrimental to your ranking.
- Originality: Create new content otherwise, you will rank lower.
With this in mind, let’s dive into our Facebook ad strategies!
#1. Attract the right audience through interest-based targeting
I’m sure you know this already:
Facebook ads are as versatile as Google Adwords, if not more.
From information about a person’s location to their education, hobbies and general interests, Facebook has access to a TON of user information.
And you can use all of this data to reach only the most targeted users.
Take Adidas’ 2010 World Cup Facebook ad strategy for instance. They reached over 1 million fans with interest-based targeting alone.
“[A] survey, conducted with 12 advertising networks, shows that conversion rates for the interest targeted ads are 6.8%, compared to 2.8% for the non-targeted. That means that consumers who click on ads targeted specifically to them are more than twice as likely to buy the advertised product.”
So let’s say your educational institution is relatively new. Let’s also assume “University X” is an established institution in the same metropolitan area.
One Facebook ad strategy your marketing team can use is interest-based targeting prospective students that have an interest in “University X.”
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Targeting an audience based on interests that you’re offering helps you pre-qualify leads.
In this case, students already interested in “University X” are likely to want to investigate another institution.
On the contrary, an experiment AdEspresso ran showed poorly targeted Facebook ads can cost $0.142 per click, versus an interest-based targeted ad at $0.03 per click.
#2. Give your audience valuable resources via Facebook ads
You know, when it comes to education, the bottom line is simple:
Students want to attend a credible institution.
What shows quality education better than providing valuable resources?
Ryan Deiss, the founder of Digital Marketer, got 28,500 leads in a matter of 45 days. He did this by giving away a social media swipe file in his ad.
And that’s the secret:
Use lead magnets in your Facebook education ads too.
But why go through all this trouble?
The majority of people that are reached by your Facebook ads won’t convert. In fact, as Hubspot points out:
“Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.” (source)
So marketers are going to have to do a whole lot more to entice students.
Here’s one example. The New York Times offers its popular subscription for 99 cents.
A discount is a great lead magnet for target audiences that recognize your brand.
And the price? Sometimes people value free things less.
Try giving away courses at your institution for a discount. There is no doubt students are ready to pay tuition for a good education. Providing a discount for a limited time can create a sense of urgency to register.
#3. Combat Facebook ad fatigue with sequential retargeting
Showing the same ad campaigns to the same target audience can get dull fast. This can lead to conversions dropping off the cliff.
Sequential retargeting is a Facebook marketing strategy that shows the same target audience different ads over time.
Remember, the goal is to market as many benefits as possible to your target audience.
Cycling through different lead magnets appeals to different student personas. Ultimately, this generates higher conversion for your marketing campaign.
Sequential retargeting is also used to test how well different lead magnets perform.
In a recent experiment, AdEspresso found that “Lead Ads performed better than the Landing Pages on mobile placements.”
This insight was the result of using the above sequential retargeting structure.
#4. Optimize your Facebook ads on mobile for 90% of users
That’s over a billion active users per month.
Mobile-only Facebook users present a huge opportunity for businesses to reach customers.
What are these opportunities you ask?
Reach target audiences based on mobile location data.
Facebook offers geofencing technology allowing you to reach target audiences that are in close physical proximity to your location. This is done based on the location data of their mobile devices.
A good example is using “Get Directions” to your institution as your call-to-action.
Directing this specific Facebook ad to your target audience that’s already in the area boosts conversion.
According to Google, 28% of location-driven searches actually result in a purchase.
So you can imagine, students that are looking to take courses close to home will be happy to get directions!
Show off more benefits using Carousel Ads on mobile.
Just in the last few years, Facebook came out with Carousel Ads. It helps marketers show off multiple images and calls-to-action in the same Facebook ad.
Using Carousel Ads as part of your Facebook education ads strategy shows your audience more than one benefit at the same time. (Talk about efficiency!)
In fact, since its release, “advertisers have seen carousel link ads drive 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion and 20-30% lower cost-per-click than single-image link ads.”
Wayfair, the popular furniture retailer, boosted click-through rates by 88% using carousel ads and lowered cost of acquisition by 20%.
So if you think Carousel Ads aren’t for the education industry, think again.
The images in your Carousel Education Ads don’t have to be physical products. You can include a carousel of leads magnets instead.
For instance, create a carousel of your most popular courses. This can be compelling to prospective students.
#5. Reach new customers with Lookalike Audiences
Facebook Lookalike Audiences is a way for you to reach people with interests, activity patterns and general demographics similar to your current customers.
Not surprisingly, Lookalike Audiences are the highest converting target audience.
Unlike retargeting Facebook advertising strategies, Lookalike Audiences include people that have never interacted with your brand.
That said, getting people that don’t know your brand to convert might seem like a big leap.
Marketers like yourself can run introduction engagement campaigns to warm-up your Lookalike Audiences.
For example, your first Facebook ad can introduce prospective students to the institution.
Once a member of the Lookalike Audience has engaged with the Facebook ad, you can move them along to the retargeting phase. Here they can engage with lead magnets like free online courses with your institution.
You might think this is a lot of interactions. But according to Facebook themselves, one travel agency saw a 70% decrease in cost per action using Lookalike Audiences.
Using Lookalike Audiences as your Facebook ad strategy is budget friendly because your ad spend is reaching more qualified leads.
Pro tip: Keep your Lookalike Audiences small for best results. This means tailoring your Facebook ads using interest-based targeting as we discussed.
Start by looking at your target student personas. This will help you figure out their interests; what they find valuable.
#6 Select Where You Want to Place Your Campaign based On Users
You must first know where your audience is before you can find your leads.
Makes perfect sense, but one major misstep that many social media advertisers can make is forgetting the value of knowing the breakdown of who uses which social platforms.
For example, 60 percent of adults who have a high school diploma or less use Facebook; or 64 percent of 18-29-year-olds use Instagram. This information can help you hone in on your potential students.
Therefore, an important approach to not forget about is to decide where to place your ad and which platform could work best for you. This can be found after selecting “edit placements” when setting up your prospective student targeting campaign.
Here you can select, as previously discussed, that you only want your education ads to be on mobile devices. From there you can choose where you want your ad to end up.
You can choose platforms, such as:
- Audience Network
Depending on the demographic and how you’ve set up the campaign, you can select where you want your education Facebook ads displayed.
If, for example, you are trying to reach a younger audience, Instagram or Messenger would be a good place to display your ads.
Since Instagram’s most active users are between the ages of 18 to 29, Instagram is prime real estate for universities and higher education institutions to target prospective students.
Give Each Discipline Its Own Marketing Campaign
What works for one campaign may not work for another; each field of study in your college should have its own, unique campaign.
Most colleges attract people with distinctly different tastes, which means an ad campaign that works for the Mathematics department may not work for the English department.
Making your campaign more granular and specific means that you are more likely to reach the intended audience. This breaks down to knowing the distinct “interests” for each audience, all the way down to the ad copy.
Creating individual campaigns for your potential student based on their interests will help you create more leads.
#7 Use Facebook Custom Audiences
For a successful ad campaign, you want to use Facebook custom audiences. This is a list of customers that you can generate using your existing customer base. You can target ads to this audience on Facebook, Instagram, and their audience network.
You can create different types of audiences, including:
- Web custom audience
- Offline custom audience
- Customer List (a.k.a. Standard) Custom Audiences
- Facebook Sources – Engagement Custom Audiences
Facebook custom audiences are really useful when creating campaigns and will help you generate more leads.
#8 Use Facebook Messenger bot to generate more leads
People want an instant reply to their questions. Using a Facebook Messenger bot will help answer typical questions that your leads will have. Facebook messenger has about 1.3 billion users, which makes it a great way to reach your audience and to give each inquiry a personalized experience.
A good example is the University of the People who utilized a Messenger bot to help grow their student-base. They found that:
- A little over 50 percent of the people who had a conversation with the Messenger bot started an application
- There was a 62% decrease in cost per application with Messenger
Using a Messenger bot will help you feasibly grow your leads and conversions.
#9 Use More Video
Use more video. It’s that simple. As mentioned in our Facebook update section, you want to make sure that you use more videos to emphasize your college. For instance, you can use testimonials from past students. This has been successful for many colleges in the past and could work for you, as well.
Here’s a case study that highlights just how important it is to use videos to help enroll more students. In this study, Kranse Insitute, who offers an Online SAT prep course, wanted to increase awareness of their SAT prep course and encourage more enrollments.
In just 16 months they ended up enrolling 13,000 students.
Here’s a breakdown of how their video ad helped them achieve:
- 2.9 times return on ad spend
- 3.2 percent increase in email leads
- 22 percent increase in enrollments
- 13,000 new students signed up
In this, they used video ads, core audiences, and as mentioned above, custom audiences. This is why videos are so important.
Facebook Ad Strategies for Education
Now that you know how to target students on Facebook using prospective student targeting, you can start seeing your leads grow.
Social media marketing with Facebook makes education marketing that much easier. Utilizing different avenues of approach to help create more conversions with your ad campaigns will help.
Don’t just post organically on your news feed, winnow down the best candidates with advertising using these strategies.
Identifying who you want to convert is the best guide to picking the most effective Facebook ad strategies.
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