Open events are a great way of showcasing what your school has to offer to prospective parents and students alike, so building interest and buzz around such events is tremendously important. However, getting people to show interest and sign up for open events is an immense task in itself, and marketing departments at schools across the country are increasingly turning to online advertising platforms to help promote their schools and events. Here, we will look at the different ways you can advertise using Google Ads as well as how to build an effective campaign using these methods.

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is a platform that uses the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model, and it is the single most popular PPC platform out there. Essentially, Google Ads allows you to pay for traffic to your website or landing page through a range of different advertising instruments including search engines, video and display advertising. We will look at the main three methods of advertising on Google Ads: Search, Display and YouTube.

Search

As the world’s largest search engine, Google is crucial for business. On average, Google Ads convert 50% better than organic traffic. Keywords associated with schooling and education are becoming increasingly competitive, making it difficult to rank high on search results – so search advertising allows you to quickly and effectively get your adverts and school seen by an engaged audience that is actively searching for relevant keywords. Keyword research is essential and there are many tools that can help with this including Google’s built-in Keyword Planner as well as third-party software such as SEMRush. Targeting only the most relevant keywords will not only improve your conversion and click-through rate (CTR), it will also improve your cost-per-click (CPC).

Display

Display advertising follows the same PPC model whereby you pay for visitors to your website or landing page, but rather than search engine advertising it utilises images and GIFs. The Google Display Network (GDN) is made up of over 2 million websites, and you can feature your display adverts on these sites by filtering your target audience to specific locations as well as key interests and demographic information. Allow display advertising to showcase what your school has to offer using striking images and snappy headlines to attract visitors.

YouTube Ads

YouTube is now the second-biggest search engine after Google and with the popularity of video advertising on the rise, YouTube advertising is definitely worth considering for your school’s marketing. You can advertise on YouTube in a number of different ways – you‘re not limited to advertising using just videos, as you can also make use of display and search methods (similar to Google).

 

 

Landing pages

At the start of every successful campaign is a good landing page built around your key campaign goals. All adverts will lead back to this landing page, so it needs to highlight exactly what the open event is and the relevant data capture information must be included in the form. We recommend not overpopulating your landing page with information and keeping the form as short and concise as possible. Information overload, including excessively long forms to complete, tends to discourage potential sign-ups – the aim of the landing page is to convert interest, so it’s important to keep it brief.

Tracking

In order to measure a campaign’s effectiveness, you will need to know and understand key metrics as well as make sure that the campaign is fully trackable. Google Ads allows you to track conversions through tags set up within the platform that then need to be attached to Google Tag Manager (GTM). On your landing page, you can also add UTM parameters to URLs. So, for example, you can include a link to the school’s main website for further information, and if your conversions are set up correctly within Google Analytics you can also track conversions on the main website where the source of the traffic was the landing page. Google offers lots of analytical data as part of your campaign, so it is important that you understand the basics, and where possible, go the extra mile and track conversions accurately. 

How to build an effective campaign using Google Ads

With Google Ads you can build highly effective campaigns using a range of different platforms, methods and adverts, capturing potential leads at every step of the buyer journey/marketing funnel. 

  1. Awareness – at the top of the funnel, a potential lead may simply be looking for information, and through the use of display advertising, you can successfully serve them with information that’s engaging as well as relevant. The aim is to showcase your open event to a large number of interested people, and display advertising can successfully do this, whether online or offline (using traditional media such as print). 

  1. Consideration – At the middle of the funnel we have the consideration stage, where a potential customer is considering their options before entering the decision-making stage. As this stage is all about engagement, YouTube is an excellent platform, since we are watching online videos more than ever before (each of us is set to watch 100 minutes a day by 2021). Video marketing on YouTube is a great way of engaging with your target audience during the consideration stage, enabling you to showcase your school’s selling points visually to a relevant audience.
  2. Decision – The decision-making stage is the key to any good campaign and in order to be successful you need to ensure that your landing page is built with the key goal in mind, ie. attracting open event sign-ups. Your Google Search campaign should include keywords that will not only attract clicks but that will also be relevant to the information on the landing page. Clickbait isn’t helpful here I’m afraid as the ultimate goal is a lead form competition.