Recently, I got to experience one of the benefits of being a Google Premier Partner. I, along with several other Carnegie team members, had the opportunity to visit the Google NYC office for a day for the sole purpose of learning all about the amazing new capabilities and strategies they’ve been developing. We also learned how to best leverage the insights and expertise they have to offer to deliver even more value for the campaigns we run for our clients.
Needless to say, I was in full geek-out mode as we dove deep into several different campaigns, research and analytics reports, new product information sessions, and more.
There’s a lot happening at Google, with emerging digital marketing products, technologies, and capabilities. Here are some updates anyone in higher education marketing should know about:
Demographic targeting for search
For Pay Per Click efforts, this update allows us to better target high-value demographics like age and gender, which will ultimately lead to stronger engagement and results. The demographic data that Google uses are based on actual Google account holder information and inferred data based on user behavior.
For campaigns we’re running for colleges and universities, demographic targeting for search enables us to:
- Focus on demographics more likely to convert
- Bid higher when your target demographic audience searches for your existing keywords
- Customize ads and landing pages specifically for your demographic audience versus anyone searching for those keywords
- Add demographic exclusions to ensure no money is wasted with the wrong audiences clicking on your ads
This new feature will provide the opportunity to optimize campaigns to a level not previously available. The combination of inferred and declared demographic details will allow us to create more targeted campaigns, resulting in stronger engagement and increased conversions.
Display Select Keywords (DSK)
Display Select Keywords is a display advertising capability enabling us to target audiences on websites that are contextually relevant to any keywords or phrases you want. For example, if you want to reach transfer students, you might incorporate a keyword strategy that includes terms like “transfer credits” or “transferring colleges,” so that your ad shows up on pages people are visiting while they’re researching. It is a more passive form of targeting than search ads (which capture more immediate intent).
DSK is important throughout the entire cycle, beginning with creating awareness and interest by keeping your school in front of audiences as they are researching and reading about relevant content. With DSK delivering higher relevancy for your ads to the pages the audience is visiting, it makes it more likely they will click on your ad and convert. It can also keep your institution top-of-mind versus your competitors by showing ads throughout students’ research phase. And by marrying this with search and social advertising strategies, you can then capture and convert these audiences while they’re further along in the funnel.
Responsive display ads
Google’s new responsive display ads allow your ads to reformat to fit different screen sizes and placements. With more and more different content types and screen sizes out there, this ensures your ads can appear in front of your target audience regardless of the ad spaces available on a given page. You can also now provide your own specific image and logo versus Google automatically selecting it from your website to populate richer text ads on the display network. This is a big step in providing more control over your messaging and more content in your ads. It also increases your chances of getting in front of the right audiences at the right time.
These are just a few of the constantly developing technologies and capabilities coming from our friends at Google. In fact, even more recently, they shared news about cross-device Retargeting. This will be especially effective for schools as they continue to address stealth site visitors, ensuring they get the most comprehensive coverage possible reaching those audiences who have been to their site and demonstrated certain levels of interest and intent. Stay tuned for more updates, because our partners at Google never stop!
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