3 Ways to Take Higher Education Advertising to the Next Level with Audio and Video

Carnegie Higher Ed Nov 15, 2017 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

It’s 2017, and the Internet is moving at the speed of light. Every day it seems like there’s a new social media platform or outlet that prospective students are building a presence on. And lately, the way to consume content has shifted from just reading something to hearing and seeing it as well. While it’s important to continue to have a presence on the old standbys that we know work well (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.), there’s also significant value in dipping your toes into the following places your audience spends a lot of their personal time.

1. Take advantage of a connected audience on Spotify and Pandora

The power of running ads on Spotify and Pandora is that users on both music-streaming services are providing advertisers with a lot of data about who they are from day one. Since users must log in to their accounts for access, we can serve them the highest level of relevant messaging in real time. And, according to a 2017 Nielson Media Lab study, audio ads see a 24% lift in ad recall over traditional display ads.

These users are also listening to music across a multitude of devices: on their cell phone while they’re at the gym or out for a run; on their laptop while they’re catching up on e-mails in a coffee shop or doing homework after school; on their desktops at work; or on their tablets at home while they’re making dinner. With a singular login, this cross-platform audience can be reached with precision.

Let’s dig into each platform a bit.


  • 140 million global monthly users
  • Spotify users are extremely engaged, listening to an average of more than two hours per day.
  • Audio or video ads are 15 or 30 seconds long, with an optional accompanying display ad.
  • All ads get 100% share of voice.
  • Target your audience using Spotify’s first-party demographic and behavioral segments.
  • Audiences can be re-engaged on Spotify with Retargeting and sequential messaging.
  • Use a previously recorded audio file, or have Spotify create one free of charge from a script you provide.
  • 72% of weekly streams in the US are by Millennials, according to Adweek.


  •  76 million listeners in the United States
  • 1 in 5 Pandora users are 13–17 years old; 1 in 3 users are 18–24 years old; 1 in 2 users are 25–34 years old; and 1 in 3 users are parents of teenagers.
  • Audio and video ads are 15 or 30 seconds long, with an accompanying display ad.
  • Less than four minutes of ads per each hour of listening ensures message truly resonates with your target audience.
  • 1,300 audience segments are available to craft your specific target audience.
  • Use e-mail lists to build a unique custom audience.
  • Like Spotify, you can use a previously recorded audio file, or have Pandora create one free of charge from a script you provide.

Whether you are looking to increase brand awareness for your school or drive registrations for an open house, advertising on Spotify and Pandora can help accomplish those goals.

2. Make an impact with Snapchat ads

With the rise of social media users preferring to consume content that disappears after it’s viewed, Snapchat has staked its claim in this realm. Yet there is a lot of value in running advertising on a platform where a user will see your ad for only a few seconds before it’s gone forever (or until they see your ad the next time they log in to the app). Snapchat users are some of the most engaged social media users on mobile, and ads appear in a less cluttered environment, with a full-screen, sound-on experience not offered by many other platforms. It pays to be where your audience is, day in and day out.

Not sure you have content to use? You might not know it, but you probably do! Snapchat ads don’t need to be 100% polished videos. As a platform, Snapchat content is more organic and raw, allowing advertisers to build brand awareness with their target audience without having to commit a significant budget to create new content just for this platform. You can easily repurpose content you already have or even shoot a new video right from your mobile device.

Some Snapchat specifics include:

  • 173 million daily active users around the world
  • 60% of smartphone users between the ages of 13–34 are “Snapchatters.”
  • Each Snap ad is three- to 10-seconds long, with 60% of snaps viewed with the audio on.
  • Users open Snapchat an average of 25+ times a day and are spending an average of 40 minutes per day on the app.
  • Choose from 300 predefined target audiences, or craft your own through behavioral targeting parameters, custom lists, or look-alike audiences.

By sending viewers of your Snap ads to your website after watching a video, you can take advantage of growing brand awareness with a new target audience, increase registration to an upcoming event, or even get more students into your admission funnel by having them complete a request for information form.

3. Increase brand awareness with a highly engaged audience on Hulu

We’ve reached a point where the number of people who choose to stream their TV shows is at an all-time high. As a premium destination to not only watch shows but movies, sports, news, and can’t-miss events, Hulu has become a one-stop shop for video streaming. For marketers, this means we can take advantage of easily aligning our brands with premium video content and connecting with a highly engaged audience where and when they’re active. In fact, a Nielsen Brand Effect study has found that there’s a 31% brand recall and 23% message recall for ads on Hulu—much higher than ads shown on broadcast or cable TV.

How Hulu fits into the viewing landscape:

  • 33 million viewers
  • 1 in 4 millennials watch Hulu every day.
  • 54% of all viewers watch Hulu for at least six hours per week.
  • Video ad options range from five seconds to a full minute.
  • The number of marketers that can advertise on Hulu at a specific time is limited, ensuring lower ad competition.
  • Ads are unskippable, with the sound on, and across viewers’ TVs, computers, and mobile devices.
  • Hulu’s advanced targeting serves the right ad to the right person at the right time.

Since many users access Hulu through their TVs, ads on this platform are going to be more successful for branding campaigns. Hulu ads can be up to a minute in length, giving you more time to connect with the viewer to communicate your unique brand story.

With the trend of prospective students seeking and consuming information through video continuing upwards year after year, brands will be doing themselves a favor by paying attention to these channels. Like all social media platforms right now, Spotify, Pandora, Snapchat, and Hulu are adjusting and tweaking their own sites to help us, as marketers, have more opportunities to meet our audiences where they are. In some cases, minimum advertising spends have been reduced, and in other instances, there are deeper targeting parameters available to choose from. The point of entry isn’t as difficult for higher education as it used to be just a short time ago! If you aren’t paying to play in this space, you can bet someone else is.

Curious about how your college or university can incorporate these channels to accomplish your enrollment and marketing goals? We can help. Contact us to get started!

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