Higher Ed Facebook Ads for Cool Cats & Their Humans
A Facebook Ad campaign should not be treated like a pay-per-click (PPC) ad. Your audience is not viewing the content based off of an active search in the search engine results pages (SERPs). (Keep reading to learn more on the display platform options.) You need to develop your ad creative tailored towards specific audience segments in order to generate the most meow for your efforts.
Brainstorm the creative elements of your Facebook Ad campaign
You know the expression, two cats are better than one? Bring your creative team together. Based off of an audience persona, brainstorm ad campaign ideas. They only have to be ideas at this point. Develop your ad content ideas specific to your audience persona.
Post creative brainstorming session, you’ll divvy up the tasks on your creative team unless you have someone on staff who is the cat’s meow as a writer and a graphic designer.
Write great ad copy. You need to get the tone right. You need to write the ad copy so you are appealing to some need for your audience. (This is why understanding your audience is so important.) Don’t write from an institutional point of view. Your staff writer may need some time to think through the right choice of words. Cat naps are optional; writers can be divas.
Use attention-grabbling media (videos or photography). You don’t want the audience’s attention to wander or move beyond your ad, eyes glazed over. Focus their attention quickly.
“I can’t take my eyes off this Facebook Ad,” Blinky says.
Once you have the creative elements of your ad campaign developed, it is time to choose your goals in the Facebook Ads platform.
Set up your Facebook Ad campaign goal
The goals that might make the most sense for colleges and universities are as follows:
- Promote your page
- Send people to your website
- Increase conversions on your website
- Reach people near you
- Raise attendance at your event
- Get video views
- Collect leads
If your goal is to send people to a website page, you’ll want to use Google’s URL builder to track your ad campaign’s traffic in Google Analytics.
Set up Facebook’s pixel in order to build an audience from your website for remarketing, to assist in optimizing ads for conversions, and tracking those conversions back to your ads.
Facebook Ads targeting: test audience segments
You can target specific audience demographics in the Facebook Ads platform. It’s like being a cat in a warehouse crawling with mice. So many options, where do you start?
You can select specific regions. You can also choose through exclusion.
You can select age and gender.
You can browse.
You can exclude people.
Or you can type in your ideas to see what pops up.
Test your ad content with different audiences to see which audience your ad content resonates with the most.
Facebook Ads targeting: test platforms
In Facebook Ads, you can test the different platforms to see which ones perform better.
- Mobile news feed – a good choice for targeting busy parents of prospective undergraduate students, returning adult students, prospective graduate students, and continuing education
- Instagram – target prospective students
- Audience network – your ads run on third party mobile apps, typically a high performer for all ages and groups
- Desktop news feed – might have some potential for targeting high school counselors
- Desktop right column – in our experience, perhaps the least effective spot, depending on the goal of your campaign
The point is, you have to test them to find out what works best for your campaign. Once you determine that one or two is bringing the best results, you can optimize the ad by only using the high performing platforms.
Facebook Ads campaign optimization
Take everything you learn when running an ad campaign and optimize the ad or the next ad campaign based off of what you learn. You learn that women respond significantly more than men, so exclude men from seeing your ad. You learn that only users on the mobile newsfeed and the audience network click over to your website, so you eliminate the rest of the display platforms. Change only one item at a time so you can confirm your insights.
Track your results in Facebook Ads and Google Analytics
Track your results in Facebook Ads. There is an array of metrics you can track based on the goal of your ad campaign. If you are directing traffic to your website, track results in Google Analytics to confirm the results in Facebook Ads. They don’t always match up.
Find insights in the data
You can learn more about who is interested in a certain program based off of how they respond to your ads. You might find a new region for prospective students. You might learn that the new messaging strategy you developed is not making the splash you hoped for in comparison to a previous brand campaign. If you take the time to test audience segments, test the platforms, and test the ad content itself, you can unravel a great deal for your future marketing efforts. This might be the single best reason to use Facebook Ads.
Develop new ad content and targeting strategy based on previous ad campaign insights
Take your insights and start all over with new ad content and an optimized targeting strategy.
If you want to learn more about social media for cool cats and their humans, tweet us, email us, or give us a call.