Digital Byte: 4 Ways to Leverage Display Advertising for College Fairs and Conferences

Carnegie Higher Ed Aug 10, 2015 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

College admission and marketing professionals are gearing up for fall visits—the key opportunity for institutions to provide students (and parents) information about what you have to offer and why they should attend your institution. But how do you rise above the competition and ensure your event presence is maximized with heavy foot traffic? It starts with your online traffic. And display advertising generates those online visitors.

Prime the pump with outreach

About four to six weeks prior to your visit, you’ll want to push awareness to the markets in which your college fair or conference presence is a high priority through Online Display. You may uncover new areas of recruitment too, simply by looking in your Google Analytics. This should tell you exactly where those areas of opportunity exist, based on your top current user locations.

When running outreach, use compelling copy in your banner ads that’s region specific. Maybe it’s in-state tuition offerings or scholarship opportunities you want to promote—anything to hook students in, while getting your brand presence out there. As it gets closer to the event, promote the date you’ll be in their region. Get students excited that you will be there, even incentivize them to stop by and visit, if possible.

Get targeted with Audience Select

To crank outreach up to the next level—and really maximize the power of geo-targeting—reach out to the zip codes within a given area that hold the highest density of students and families that fall within your desired student profile and other ideal household data via Audience Select. It’s a custom form of outreach only available through Carnegie Communications, thanks to our leveraging 30 years of PC&U Platform data. You can overlay this strategy with any target state or city to ensure your impressions hit where they will have the greatest relevance and impact.

Leverage lists with IP Select and Facebook

Before you make your big debut, refine your strategy even further by layering in a social media and IP targeting component. Maybe you have a Search list for a particular market; use those street addresses to target families right in their homes via IP Select! That same list or a list of inquiries can also help you generate awareness around your visit via a Facebook campaign. You just need a list of e-mails or addresses, and Facebook will serve your ads to prospective students (with a Facebook account, of course) registered with that e-mail. Utilizing your lists is the perfect opportunity to match any direct mail messaging to reinforce the online brand, for a similar experience at different touch points.

Stay connected with Retargeting

Before the event, implement Retargeting, which allows your site visitors to see ads after they leave a particular area of your website. These ads will serve as a reinforcement of your brand, while reminding the student of your upcoming visit. While display outreach and list targeting strategies can help you maximize your visit, we encourage clients to use Retargeting to promote new messaging after the event has passed as well. This will ensure all of the new traffic you get to your site as a result of the visit and other marketing stays connected.

College fairs and conferences are a big opportunity, but they can be a missed opportunity if the awareness and reengagement isn’t there. Maximize Online Display to your advantage, so you not only make a good first impression but a lasting one too.

Follow Angie on Twitter @AngieMayWard

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