5 Must-Use Facebook Ad Strategies for the Education Sector

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 a ton of Facebook ad strategies that could help you increase conversion rates.

And in this post, I’m going to show you five of my favorite one that we use to help clients in the education sector.

Intrigued? Let’s dive in…

#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.

facebook ad strategies targeting

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And you can use all 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.”

Network Advertising Initiative (NAI)

So let’s say your educational institution is relatively new. Now 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 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 with 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.

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#2. Give your audience valuable resources via Facebook ads

You know, when it comes to the 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 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 their popular subscription for 99 cents.

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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 Facebook ad to the same target audience can get dull fast. This can lead to conversions dropping off the cliff.

Sequential retargeting is a Facebook advertising 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.

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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.”

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This insight was the result of using the above sequential retargeting structure.

#4. Optimize your Facebook ads on mobile for 90% of users

90% of daily Facebook users are active on the mobile app.

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.

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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 last year, Facebook came out with Carousel Ads. It helps marketers show off multiple images and calls-to-action in the same Facebook ad.

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Using Carousel Ads as part of your Facebook ad 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 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.

Out of ideas? Check out these creative Carousel Ads to get some inspiration.

#5. Reach new customers with Lookalike Audiences

We all wish for clones of our best customers.

While I still haven’t figured out a way to clone them, I’m here to share with you the next best thing.

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 ad 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. It’s because your ad spend is reaching more qualified leads.

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Pro tip: Keep your Lookalike Audiences small for best results. This means tailoring your Facebook ads using interest-based targeting as we discussed.


Now that you have some new Facebook ad strategies to work with, what’s next?

You don’t have to pick one—try them all.

Start by looking at your target student personas. This will help you figure out their interests; what they find valuable.

Identifying who you want to convert is the best guide to picking the most effective Facebook ad strategies.

Shalyn Dever

Shalyn is the Founder & Chief Growth Consultant at Chatter Buzz. An engineer recruited by Google, she loves solving the most complex business growth problems and utilizing technology as solutions. She loves amazing UI/UX, out of the box SEO tactics and forward thinking paid campaigns.

Do need someone to help you achieve your growth goals - then let us help you crush them? Let's chat!


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