Think about your web stats for a minute. Just how often does a prospect visit your site, view a page, and immediately click for more information? If you’re like most colleges and universities, roughly 98% of first time visitors will leave your site without converting (i.e. leaving you without their email or other contact info). Retargeting can help bring those valuable prospects back, giving you another opportunity to bring them into your communications cycle.
At its most basic level, retargeting is simply serving digital ads to people who’ve visited your site. It’s an incredibly effective and efficient way to target your messaging.
Key reasons to include retargeting in your marketing toolbox:
- It allows you to reconnect with your best prospects. They’ve already been to your site; you know they are interested in your institution. You can now reach them on Facebook, Twitter, search engines, and on targeted websites. Try offering them specific content to get them to respond.
- It keeps your brand in front of your prospects. Comscore reports that, on average, retargeting campaigns increase branded search by 1046% and lift site visits by 726%… AFTER ONLY 4 WEEKS!
- It levels the playing field. Because it’s efficient and affordable, even schools with the smallest budgets can compete with the big guns.
- It can be a very powerful (and stealthy) competitive weapon. How about retargeting prospects who are visiting your key competitors?
- You can use retargeting as a follow up to email campaigns. Once someone opens your email, you can begin to serve them digital ads to reinforce your message. While some email clients and services block the tracking pixel, you can enhance the effectiveness of email targeting by retargeting visitors to your landing pages. You can also use it to serve ads to prospects who are already in your database, giving you a great way to reinforce your brand message.
- You’ll extend the frequency of your PPC and digital ad buys. Digital advertising can be an expensive proposition. Why not enhance its effectiveness by retargeting the people who click on your ad or search terms?
- Dynamic retargeting lets you deliver a very specific message. Let’s say, for example, someone visits your site and clicks through to the English Department. You could then serve them an English-focused ad; likewise Engineering, Social Work, and Biology. All in the same campaign.
- It’s cross-device friendly. Maybe a prospect downloaded one of your apps; maybe they visited your website. No matter what, you can retarget prospects on their mobile devices via banner ads, interstitials, even videos.
- You can reach prospects via “intent.” Retargeting, in this case, means using the words someone used to find you to deliver targeted messages. You can also retarget based on the search terms they’ve used on third party-sites.
As HubSpot notes in their valuable guide, The Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting, the practice “allows you re- and re-engage with your best targets and prospects” and “gives you opportunities to provide value by delivering personalized, engaging content.”
Top Retargeting Platforms
Facebook, Twitter, and PPC are the most popular (and likely the most effective) platforms for retargeting.
- Facebook – By creating custom Facebook audiences, you can serve up ads to very specific audiences. If you’re looking for mid- to late-funnel support, for example, you might want to target only your fans.
- Twitter – Twitter offers a number of very efficient options to retarget to tailored audiences across channels (via Website Cards, Promoted Tweets, and Lead Gen Cards). Great for content offers!
- PPC – Search campaigns and retargeting can increase the frequency (and effectiveness) of your messages to your best audiences and help you maximize your marketing ROI.
If you’re not using retargeting in your recruitment campaigns (or think you could be using it more effectively), call me at 518-591-4640 or drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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