Google Ads are pretty much everywhere on the internet.
When we say everywhere, we really mean it.
Whether you’re on your phone or your laptop, watching a YouTube video, checking your mail, or just browsing, you will definitely see targeted ads.
It is no surprise why so many marketers use Google Ads as part of their higher education marketing strategy. Not only are Google Ads present everywhere, but they’re also insanely powerful. According to Google Economic Impact Report, 2018, Google delivers an 8:1 return on investment ratio — meaning, marketers can make $8 for every $1 spent on ads.
So, if your higher education institution wants to increase its student enrollment rates, generate more inquiries, and want to reach new students from diverse backgrounds, you need to invest in a well-versed Google Ads strategy.
With that being said, executing a converting Google Ads strategy is not easy. Google Ads dashboard is complex and can get really confusing for newbies.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll tell you how to use Google Ads effectively. Follow along as we tell you how to develop a perfect Google Ads strategy that’ll help you meet your higher ed recruitment goals.
Let’s get started…
What are Google Ads?
Remember how we told you Google Ads are everywhere?
Just to reiterate our point, around 63,000 searches are performed on Google every second, and the majority of those search result pages include Google ads.
So what are Google Ads?
Well, if we break things down, Google Ads is basically a paid advertising service offered by Google. When you pay for an ad, your ad will appear on Google.com or on other websites associated with Google’s AdSense program or Display Network.
Here’s how Google Ads appear on Google’s search engine results pages:
The image above shows Google Ads appearing on the top of the SERP results. You can see that each ad has an “Ad” tag, specifying that it's a sponsored result.
Google Ads also appear at the bottom of SERPs like so:
As mentioned earlier, Google Ads also appear on Google’s Display Network. The Display Network is basically a third-party network of websites that has a partnership with Google. Such websites will also display ads.
Google Ads appearing on Display Network can contain text, images, videos, and other rich media. Common ad formats appearing on Display Network contain banner ads.
If any website signs up for Google AdSense, ads will appear on selected areas of their website.
Google Ads have different types. Essentially, there are 8 different Google Ads types:
- Search – Textual advertisement on Google search results (SERPs).
- Display – Image-based ads appearing on websites and on Gmail.
- App – App promotions running on many different channels.
- Discovery – Ads running across Google’s feeds when opened.
- Video – Video-based ads appearing on YouTube.
- Smart – Automated ads appearing on Google and all over the web.
- Local – Ads that point customers to any particular physical location.
- Shopping – Product ads running in listicle format on Google.
Educational Advertising Agency
The world of educational advertising is extremely competitive. Private school ads are hard to create and expensive to run.
Nowadays, students feel overwhelmed when searching for schools to pursue their higher education.
After all, there’s so much that goes on in their minds.
- Too many school choices.
- Student loans and debts.
- The value of higher education.
The thing is – when it comes to higher education, there’s no concept of one size fits all solution.
To really address the problems of prospecting students and get them to consider your school, university, or institute as their first choice, your marketing efforts must be bespoke. Your marketing approach should be customized to reflect the higher ed programs you offer and the type of students you want to acquire for those programs.
No matter how unique your situation may be, we at Orion can help you efficiently move the most important KPIs that matter the most for your higher education advertising needs.
Expertise Orion Offers:
As an education marketing agency, our goal is to scale demand through widening audience reach, turning first-time visitors into longtime subscribers who generate monthly recurring revenue, and achieving 10x profitability.
Here’s how Orion can help you move the needle for your university advertising campaigns:
- Researching and creating student journey mapping
- Campaign development
- Data analytics
- Creating brand strategy & establishing competitive positioning
- Website development and designing
- Lead generation
- Search engine optimization
Orion has helped numerous clients from the higher ed industry move critical KPIs such as:
- Increase student enrollment inquiries
- Increase the number of applications received
- Increase the number of students enrolled
- Improve student retention and attrition rates
- Improve alumni engagement rates
- Improve the lifetime value of students
How to Create a Google Ads Campaign for an Educational Institute?
1. First, Get a Google Ads account
Before you can create your college advertising campaigns, you'll need a Google Ads account. To do that, visit the Google Ads website and sign up for an account.
When signing up for a Google Ads account, Google will guide you through all the steps necessary for creating your first campaign. You just need to have your banking credentials on you. Google will charge you per click.
More specifically, every time someone clicks on your ad, Google will charge you a certain amount. Therefore, during the setup process, you must provide Google with your banking details.
2. Set up your Campaign Goals
A campaign goal is basically what you want to achieve from running ads. For your higher ed institute, your campaign goal would be to get more students to enroll.
When selecting campaign goals, Google will let you pick a goal type from the following:
- Website traffic
- Product and brand consideration
- Brand awareness and reach
- App promotion
- Local store visits and promotions
The goal you pick will then be associated with your advertising campaign. So, to get more students to enroll, you'll want to choose the “Leads” goal.
3. Describe your business
Next, Google will ask you to describe your business. It’ll ask you the name and website of your business. This information helps Google identify the right audience for your higher ed institution and is also used in the ad creation process.
4. Choose a geographic area
Next, decide on which geographic area you want your ads to appear in. This can be super helpful for universities looking to enroll local students only. If your higher ed institution is completely online, geographic constraints won’t matter that much to you.
All in all, choosing a geographic area for your ads will help you figure out where the majority of your students reside.
5. Choose keywords
When choosing keywords for which you want your ad to appear, research keywords that will help you reach students looking to enroll in your programs.
For instance, instead of choosing a keyword such as “college degree” in your campaign, you can use a keyword such as "cyber security degree". This makes your campaign laser-focused. When a prospecting student clicks on your ad and gets redirected to a relevant landing page, they’ll definitely consider registering.
After choosing your targeted keywords, make sure to also choose negative keywords. This will help you save a lot of money on the clicks you don’t want. Negative keywords are basically those keywords for which you don’t want Google to display your ads.
6. Write your ad copies
Now, you need to write ad copies.
Ad copy, or advertising copy, is basically branded content that is designed to convert a lead into a customer.
When writing ad copies, you want them to be appealing and enticing enough to attract leads. In short, your ads must be attractive.
For every ad you create, you must provide a:
- Destination URL
Google Ads allows you to use up to two headlines per ad copy. Each headline can consist of no more than 30 characters. This is where your creativity will shine. Using limited real estate, you’ll need to create powerful Google Ads headlines for education.
Description can consist of no more than 80 characters. Again, you’ll need to be creative in writing a compelling description. Adding a special offer or a special discount for new students will help with your conversion rate.
Destination URL is basically the landing page where you want your prospecting leads to be redirected to when they click on your ad.
7. Define your ad budget
Now, you need to tell Google the daily ad budget you’re willing to spend in a day. When setting a budget, you don’t want to put in too much money that may get you to file for bankruptcy at the end of your campaign. Find a decent ad budget — not too high or too low. Once your daily budget is spent, your ads will stop displaying.
8. Review your budget
Once you’ve decided on a budget, review everything Go over things like:
- Your daily budget
- Your monthly budget
- The expected reach you’ll get with your budget
- The expected impressions you’ll get with your budget
- The expected clicks you’ll get with your budget
- The location you’ve chosen to run your ads
10. Everything checked? - Click on submit
That’s it, you've set up your first Google Ads campaign for your educational institute.
Now, you just need to sit back and monitor how your campaign performs. If needed, tweak your headlines and spice up ad copies. Remember, there’s always room for improvement.
Google Ads Headlines for Higher Education
When creating Google Ads headlines for your higher education institute, do a bit of research and look up what kind of headlines other higher ed institutions are using in their ad campaigns.
For example, we found a few headlines that caught our attention:
Bloomberg Philanthropies | Access To Higher Education
This headline from Bloomberg is super direct. The message is clear and it also covers the name of the institution - “Bloomberg Philanthropies”.
Clicking on the Ad takes you to a pretty informative landing page that looks something like this:
On the landing page, they’ve covered information about:
- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Our Approach
At the end of their page, they also have a form attached to encourage people to join their newsletter.
Mike Bloomberg | College Access and Success
This headline also mentions the name of the institution - “Mike Bloomberg”. In this headline, they’ve used the words:
They’ve focused on using power words. Clicking on the advert takes you to a landing page explaining who Mike Bloomberg is and the global impact they’ve created.
Inside Higher Ed | Higher Education News, Career Advice, Jobs
This one is really direct. With a limited character count, they’ve covered everything that you’ll find on their landing page.
When you click on the ad, it takes you to a landing page with news, career advice, and even jobs - making it really easy for students to explore.
They’ve also used a lead magnet in the dead center of their landing page.
Cyber Skills Strategy eBook | Optimize Your Cyber Security
This headline is really direct. Even before visiting the landing page, you know that they want students to buy their eBooks. They’ve also made it clear what their eBook will help students with - optimize cyber security.
Best Practices and Strategies for Running Successful Google Ads campaigns for Higher Ed
By now, you know how to create Google Ads campaigns for your higher education institute. Now let's go through some of the best practices and strategies for making your ad campaigns successful:
1. Avoid using broad keyword terms
When it comes to keyword selection, you need to be specific. If you choose a broad keyword, you may end up showing your ads to the wrong audience. You’ll end up spending a lot of money without getting any clicks. Always dig down and see which keywords are getting you the most clicks. Then, make adjustments as needed. Keep tweaking keywords until you find the perfect ones for your higher education institute.
2. Avoid running irrelevant ads
Your headline and ad copy need to align with the keywords you’re bidding on. Your ads should address the pain points of your customers and propose a solution. That’s the only way your ads will get any clicks. If your ad doesn’t match the search intent of your customer, you will barely get any clicks. You will just end up wasting your ad spend. To deal with this issue, you can split test your ad copies. You can also rely on Google’s Responsive Search Ads feature.
3. Avoid getting a poor Quality Score (QS)
Assessing your Quality Score (QS), Google will determine how your ad will rank. The better your rank, the better your ad placements. In case your quality score is low, your ads won’t be seen by many people which will result in low conversions. Google Ads will automatically show you your Quality Score, however, you’ll need to improve it yourself.
4. Don’t forget to optimize ad landing pages
Your ad may be well designed, but if your landing is dull and contains irrelevant information, it can really hurt your conversions.
Make sure to check that you’re targeting the same keyword on your landing page as in your ads campaign. Make sure that you’re addressing the problems of your visitors and proposing a solution. From an ad click to conversion, the process should be smooth for your visitors.
5. Don’t forget to take advantage of automation
AI may not be able to help you come up with a converting advertising strategy, but it can help you increase or decrease bids automatically. So, to maximize your conversions, you can utilize the power of Smart Bidding and Responsive Search Ads.
And don’t think that with automation you’re going to miss something. No-no. Automation takes into consideration everything such as competitors, funnel stages, relevance, keywords, and more.
Based on a lot of metrics, smart bidding can increase your bids when your ads have the best chance to convert. It can also decrease the bid in case your ads aren’t performing well. This will prevent you from wasting your precious marketing budget.