Buying Ads on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is a good beginner’s strategy. Last week we looked at how to do this by setting up a PPC campaign using Google AdWords. This week we’ll explore other online recruiting strategies such as using AdSense and advertising on the Google Display Network.
What is the Google Display Network?
When you are setting up your AdWords campaign, you have the option to run your ads on the Display Network (previously known as the Google Content Network). Basically these are just websites that run Google’s ads to earn some cash. This service for publishers is called Google AdSense. The main benefit of this network is that it expands your reach to over 70% of internet users in over 100 countries. Just using Google AdWords on the SERP page isn’t alway enough to get the job done. Students might not be searching for the specific keywords that trigger your ad on the SERP, but they can still run into it while browsing the web if you’re using the Display Network.
There are multiple ad formats to choose from when creating your ad. Some of the more popular choices are text ads, image ads, video ads, mobile ads, and sitelinks. Here are some real world examples of how different schools advertise on the Google Display Network.
As always, you should experiment with different ad formats and see which ones work best for you. Try changing the ad copy, headline, and image (if you use display ads) every couple of weeks. Sometimes a little change can have a dramatic effect on the number of clicks your ads get. But there are also advanced techniques to increase your ad conversion rate.
Advanced Option: Remarketing
Remarketing is a feature that allows you to reach users who recently visited your website. Basically this means that your ad will follow the student around the web, showing up on a variety of different sites. This is the single most effective PPC technique that universities can employ to recruit more students. Why? Because a student that recently visited your website is more likely to convert into a full-time student than one that has never even heard of your institution before.
Think of remarketing as a friendly reminder to the student that says “Hey! Are you still interested in our school? Come and take another look!” It’s the online equivalent of the recruiting office placing a phone call to follow-up on a student lead. Except that remarketing is all automated behind the scenes and it follows the student around the web day or night for weeks at a time, even when they are on competitor’s websites. It gives students that serendipitous feeling of “Oh yeah! That university was really interesting. I guess it’s meant to be!”
Remarketing (also called retargeting) is an especially powerful technique when you have a student click on your original ad, and then use remarketing to rope them back in at a later date. Remarketing is so effective that a number of new companies have sprung up that specialize in this advertising method. If you are serious about using PPC advertising to recruit students online, then check out ReTargeter or AdRoll. Otherwise, you can always just use the remarketing feature (under the Audiences tab) in Google AdWords. You’ll need access to your site’s code so you might need tech support to help set up your campaign, but just follow the guides by Google and you’ll be on your way!