Digital Byte: Mapping Out Your Online Display Route

Trouble deciding which Online Display program best suits your needs? You’re not alone. Determining where your ads appear and why requires a strategy blending both creativity and knowledge about user behavior and the vast resources available on the Web. That’s why we’ve laid out a few common admission goals to give you some direction as you map out your recruitment plans! 

Boost information session attendance for an M.B.A. program

Since “M.B.A.” is a competitive term on the Internet—one of the most expensive search queries, in fact!—targeting your ideal audience via display advertising on the ad exchange networks helps offset the costs of a single Pay Per Click campaign. Keep your geo-target contained to a reasonable distance around campus to wean out those who might not drive cross-country to attend the info session; this will help save your budget. Then, using contextual targeting, you can get in front of your prospective audience while they are consuming relevant content online. Contextual targeting isolates where your impressions are served based on the keywords on those pages. You can select keywords relevant to M.B.A. degree types or brand terms. For example, a display ad promoting your upcoming information session could appear in front of prospective students within driving distance of campus when they are reading an article about the benefits of an M.B.A.

Increase open house attendance for your undergrad market

Similar to the M.B.A. audience, it’s easy to cast a wide net across an undergraduate market. But it’s much more effective to focus your efforts both geographically and contextually. You can also layer in custom ad networks via placement targeting, which allows you to choose specific websites that perform well for your particular undergrad audience. If you don’t know where your audience spends their time online (and it can be hard to keep up, we know!), just ask us! We maintain updated networks based on college type, specific degrees, religious affiliation, and more. You can also use SSON (Student Select Online Network), another unique Carnegie service that has taken years of PC&U data and married it with PRIZM data to capture zip codes nationwide with the highest propensity of teens likely to attend your school based on test scores, household statistics, and more. This allows you to get a strong geographical reach, without wasting impressions on areas least likely to yield qualified registrants or applicants.  

We also implement IP Targeting campaigns as a method of display outreach. Using the street addresses of your search buy list or current pool of inquiries, we can serve your banner ads directly into the homes of those families! Additionally, Retargeting is a fantastic way to reach your best prospects without compromising on geography. By placing a little snippet of code on key undergraduate admission pages, you can tag visitors who come to only those pages and then serve banner ads on whatever websites they visit afterwards. Retargeting is powerful for reengaging your audience, reminding them of your offerings, and prompting them to come back to take next steps, like sign up for the open house event.

Raise awareness for niche online program

More and more often, we see the need to boost enrollment for online programs, where the geography is nation- or worldwide—and it requires some serious creativity to reach just the right prospects! If you have a non-traditional audience, it’s best to isolate the ideal age, lifestyle, interest, and work experience of those who tend to enroll for whatever niche degree or certificate program you’re offering. Then utilize a display outreach strategy that incorporates both custom website targeting, contextual targeting, and behavioral targeting. Behavioral targeting, also known as interest targeting, serves ads based on the interests users have previously exhibited online (yes, Google knows this about all of us!). You can select which interest categories are the best matches for your target audience relevant to your program’s enrollment goals, or let the experts help you out.

Direct media buys and self-run display campaigns can often be expensive and time consuming. Therefore, working with a higher ed agency with access to ad exchange networks, proprietary data such as custom site networks and SSON, and experience in running effective display programs is key for mapping out an impactful and measureable display program!

Follow Angie on Twitter @AngieMayWard

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