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How Education Companies Can Master Facebook Advertising

Michael Waters
May 25, 2022
Facebook remains a crucial home for any digital advertising campaign - especially for Edtech brands. Learn how to master the platform's targeting capabilities.

As we continue to progress into a digital-first world, education brands are going all-in on digital advertising.

As school enrollments fall due to the pandemic, colleges have started to spend more of their marketing budget on digital advertising.

According to some case studies, higher education doubled their advertising in the first half of 2021 compared to the prior year.

Typically, education brands follow these marketing approaches:

However, Facebook remains a key home for any digital marketing campaign. Colleges from North Carolina State University to Indiana University Online have run ad campaigns on the social media platform. There is also a growing pool of edtech startups.

What Kind of Targeting Does Facebook Offer? 

Facebook lets brands send ads to users based on many personal demographics. Age, location, gender, race, and estimated income are major categories, but Facebook also slices up its audience based on more niche descriptors and traits.

In Facebook Ads Manager, under the Detailed Targeting drop-down, Facebook lets brands target their ads to specific groups based on hundreds of keywords.

Narrowing down by profession and personal interests for education technology brands is key. 

Say you are trying to sell courses to teachers. Facebook lets you include—or exclude—subcategories of teachers who best fit your edtech solution. If you only sell chemistry classes, you can be sure to target only chemistry teachers.

Or if you sell science and math but not history courses, Facebook also has an "Exclude people who match" section that lets you, in this example, filter out history teachers from seeing your ads. 

Edtech Marketing Strategies for Effective Facebook Ads

What brands in the edtech industry need to know when crafting Facebook ads: 

Decide Who to Target

Your marketing efforts will look vastly different depending on which sector of the education industry you are reaching.

Some education providers sell to different school stakeholders—like decision-makers, administrators, and teachers—who are responsible for bringing material to learners.

Meanwhile, others—like the textbook and tutoring company Chegg—aim specifically to convert high school and college students into customers. For Chegg, many of its ads and influencer partnerships aim to target people 17-21 years old.

Another brand, however, might instead push ads toward teachers or even to non-educational professionals who might be interested in a one-off course the way Udemy does. 

Use Localized Marketing

School districts are highly-fractured ecosystems. An edtech company might partner with a school district in one region but not its next-door neighbor.

Facebook's location targeting is incredibly effective when brands have niche target audiences.

When deciding who should see their ads, brands can narrow down based on both location and profession, allowing them to send ads to, say, school superintendents in a given state in which they are trying to expand. 

Create a Spread of Highly Specific Ads

"Education" is a broad category encompassing many different services.

To use Facebook micro-targeting, education companies should focus less on targeting broad interests such as "education" and more on reaching people whose passions align with a subject or topic relevant to the company.

If someone follows a bunch of different chemistry pages on Facebook, for instance, you can send them an ad that focuses on science.

MasterClass has perfected this marketing tactic:

A large spread of ads for the same core service allows brands to reach very different audiences at once.

Be Sure to Re-Target

Through the Facebook Pixel tool, which brands embed into their websites, Facebook can keep track of who clicks through your service offerings. If those viewers don't make a purchase or sign up for a service, Facebook lets you send ads to them later.

Often when re-targeting, it's smart to add an extra promotion. A follow-up Facebook ad that offers a free edtech product, for instance, might be enough to get a curious customer to sign up for your service.

The education startup General Assembly uses its ads to promote its "Free Fridays" offerings, in which it offers select free courses to followers on Fridays.

Think About Lookalike Audiences

Brands unsure where their next customer should come from have begun creating Lookalike Audiences through the Facebook Ads Manager. Lookalike Audiences reach people who are similar to pre-existing customers.

Brands can upload the email addresses or phone numbers of existing customers, and Facebook will use those to reach potential customers from the same background and demographics. Through automation, does the ad targeting for you.

Send People to Facebook Messenger for Follow-up Conversations

When the University of the People, a tuition-free online university, ran an ad on Facebook, the university added a "call to action" that encouraged people to DM questions on Messenger.

The strategy worked: 51% of people who had a conversation on Messenger started an application to the university.

Education brands should be taking advantage of "call to action" ads like this—and when they do, they should have flexible customer support teams to turn an ad viewer into a paying customer.

Chatdesk Teams provides expert customer support teams who respond to people in Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM or Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok comments.

Schedule a demo here to see it in action.

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