Digital Byte: Leverage Student Select for this Spring’s Outreach Marketing

Carnegie Higher Ed Mar 02, 2015 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

A common predicament among college admission and marketing professionals is getting a measurable return on investment in their online advertising efforts. You find yourself wondering if something worked or not, if there was an increase in applicants, conversions, or website traffic as a result of a display campaign. Measurable impacts are all very important, but there is a fundamental strategy that needs to take place first to ensure you’re set up from the beginning to produce a maximum return. It boils down to reaching the highest number of potential students you can in the areas where they live.

And not just any students but the ones in line with your admission requirements and preferences, right down to their grades, test scores, lifestyle, and family income. By isolating this audience and delivering messages only to the zip codes proven to contain the densest population of these students, you ensure your money is spent where it should be, without wasting impressions on an audience that isn’t yours.

You might be asking yourself, “Okay sure, this sounds great, but how do I know where these ideal students are and begin to target them?” We wondered that too, and it led to our creating Student Select.

Student Select is a highly targeted higher education online display service based on 28 years of proprietary Private Colleges & Universities (PC&U) magazine data. It works by linking audiences based on GPA and SAT/ACT score ranges to one of 66 demographic lifestyle and life-stage segments. The goal of Student Select is to match academic performance to geo-based data like income, education, age range, and so forth. The result: an extremely targeted display campaign that increases the likelihood of reaching your potential students and families right down to the zip code.

Let me give you an example. If your target student’s GPA is a 4.0 with an ACT score of 30, and your goal is to attract full-tuition-paying families, Student Select can match your best student prospects geographically by index so your message reaches those zip codes with the greatest concentration of families with the means to afford a full-tuition education.

This precise geo-demographical data is the foundation for your online display campaign. After you choose your Student Select edition and region, you can then layer in the outreach strategies that will determine where those ads are delivered online. For example, if you choose Red in the Northeast but primarily want to engage prospective students interested in science and engineering programs, your ads can be delivered to a customized network of publishers related to those areas of interest. Also layered in would be keyword and behavioral targeting parameters in order to appear in websites containing content relevant to specific majors and keyword searches, as well as to those who’ve exhibit in interest in those categories or higher education.

And to take it even further, (yes that’s possible!) provide us with your Search List or inquiry pool. Using those home addresses, we’ll implement IP Select, in order to deliver impressions into those physical homes to ensure another layer of targeted display is in effect.  And yes, you can even marry to the two – IP Select would ensure we reach the home addresses of those on your list, but Student Select can be used to trim up the initial list, so you’re only reaching those who are in your Student Select region, thus minimizing your budget while maximizing your ROI!

So spend wisely this spring, and build a geographic foundation for your online marketing efforts that is proven to reach the students you want enrolled in your school. By starting off with such a targeted approach, the rest of your online marketing efforts are bound to have a bigger, more measurable impact.

Follow Angie on Twitter @angiemayward

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