Branding in education is based on aspects of experience, community, and future employability. Capturing the indelible connection between student and service has historically posed a challenge. For decades, rudimentary channels such as brochure distribution remained the status quo, while the early 2000s witnessed a shift towards SEO and SEM. Today, the education sector is deploying a new online medium to reach target audiences.

Education brands are still just beginning to take advantage of opportunities on digital platforms, despite the fact that their audiences spend a majority of media consumption time on the web and mobile apps.


Social media, for example, is one area in which educational institutions can work to establish a strong brand presence and connect with users. Last year, more than 68% of college students reported that social media conversations influenced their enrollment decision. Consumers have become accustomed to turning toward social media for product reviews and recommendations – naturally, prospective students have also turned toward social media to learn more about courses offered or campus culture at the colleges and universities they’re thinking about attending.

By being proactive about establishing a brand presence on these key channels, marketers can help to facilitate this discovery process and engage with potential students. By retargeting users who have already visited your website, for example, you can show individuals personalized ads related to things you know they’re interested in, and directing them to content where they can learn even more. If a user landed on your campus facilities page, you can retarget them on Facebook with an invitation to sign up for an in-person tour, or connect with student representative.

At AdRoll, we’ve found that education brands retargeting across both web and social inventory see higher click-through rates while lowering cost-per-click. With consistent messaging and creative, brands can help to reinforce their core value proposition and remind prospects what’s unique and worthwhile about what they have to offer.

Here are a few creative strategies for Education to help stand out from the crowd:

1. Distinction:

Leverage unique characteristics to make your brand stand out. Continual changes in policy are taking place in educational systems all over the world: online marketing teams are breaking new ground with the advent of private organizations, non-profit institutions, and new courses offered.

Set your program apart by accurately identifying what it is you have to offer students. Effectively position core values, concisely articulate your value proposition, and highlight tailored aspects of a given curriculum. Make sure your call-to-action (CTA) reinforces what it is you have to offer. Examples might include “learn by doing”, or “invest in yourself”.

2. Transparency:

Education providers must communicate course offerings with integrity and stay true to what they can deliver. Set the right expectations when promoting student benefits such as employability, and make sure your statements can be backed up with student testimonials, etc.

Help users find out more about the characteristics of your offerings that they’re most interested in themselves. Create audience segments based on pages viewed to better retarget with personalized messaging. If someone browsed multiple course pages for Computer Science classes, for example, you can serve them a personalized ad for a related course, or sign up for a free introductory course.

3. Storytelling:

BLOG-0054-Education-Blog-Image_200x200Whatever your industry, storytelling is an integral part of developing and growing a brand. Once you’ve identified your distinction, make sure emphasize it with cohesive creative and messaging.

Institutions are founded on a variety of defining principles that later become etched into day-to-day processes. Staffing, curriculum, logos and philanthropic involvement may all exemplify an education brand’s mantra. By ingraining an institute’s history into creative efforts, education brands are able to provide meaningful context behind student benefits in the present.

Have a great story and you’re just waiting to tell it? Get in front of those you want to hear it most with CRM retargeting. CRM retargeting lets you onboard lists of email addresses (ie. list of accepted students), and serve them display ads across the web, mobile, and social networks. Haven’t heard back yet from some of your favorite prospects? Remind them why they were interested in you in the first place with the right ad delivered at the right time.

Looking for more tips and best practices to take your retargeting to the next level? Download our free guide.