Digital Byte: Spend Wisely this Spring with SSON: A Highly Targeted Online Display Network

A common predicament among college admission and marketing professionals is getting a measurable return on investment in their online marketing efforts. You find yourself wondering if something worked or not, if there was an increase in applicants, conversions, or website traffic as a result of a display campaign. Measurable impacts are all very important, but there is a fundamental strategy that needs to take place first to ensure you’re set up from the beginning to produce a maximum return. It boils down to reaching the highest number of potential students you can in the areas where they live. And not just any students but the ones in line with your admission requirements and preferences, right down to their grades, test scores, lifestyle, and family income. By isolating this audience and delivering messages only to the zip codes proven to contain the densest population of these students, you ensure your money is spent where it should be, without wasting impressions on an audience that isn’t yours.

You might be asking yourself, “Okay sure, this sounds great, but how do I know where these ideal students are and begin to target them?” We wondered that too, and it led to our creating the Student Select Online Network.

SSON: Student Select Online Network is a highly targeted higher education online display service based on 27 years of proprietary Private Colleges & Universities (PC&U) magazine  data. It works by linking audiences based on GPA and SAT/ACT score ranges to one of 66 demographic lifestyle and life-stage segments. The goal of SSON is to match academic performance to geo-based data like income, education, age range, and so forth. The result: an extremely targeted display campaign that increases the likelihood of reaching your potential students and families right down to the zip code.

Let me give you an example. If your target student’s GPA is a 4.0 with an ACT score of 30, and your goal is to attract full-tuition-paying families, SSON can match your best student prospects geographically by index so your message reaches those zip codes with the greatest concentration of families with the means to afford a full-tuition education.

This precise geo-demographical data is the foundation for your online display campaign. After you choose your SSON edition and region, you can then layer in a unique network of websites based on the recruitment needs of your institution. For example, if you choose SSON Red in the Northeast but primarily want to engage prospective students interested in science and engineering programs, your ads can be delivered to a customized network of publishers that have proven to be successful in reaching students with those majors of interest. Take it one step further, and layer in keyword and behavioral targeting in order to appear in websites containing content relevant to specific majors and keyword searches.

Since students visit across devices, SSON still ensures your online display banners deliver to smart phones, tablets, and computers based on what makes the most sense for your goals, website, and conversion strategies. And you can even use one of the most powerful tools in marketing—video ads. But regardless of your creative type or delivery channel, SSON still ensures your message is only delivered to those who are in your selected region and network, thus minimizing your budget while maximizing your ROI!

So spend wisely this spring, and build a foundation for your online marketing efforts that is proven to reach the students you want enrolled in your school. By starting off with such a targeted approach, the rest of your online marketing efforts are bound to have a bigger, more measurable impact.

Learn more about SSON available exclusively through Carnegie Communications. 

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