PPC marketing can be a highly effective and cost-efficient tool for the education space but there are many components for a successful campaign. Unfortunately, this level of complexity also creates more areas for mistakes.
Here are some of the most common PPC marketing mistakes we see in the education space:
Goals are not clearly defined and therefore PPC campaigns are not aligned
The first step for any PPC campaign is clearly defining your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase leads for certain programs in a certain geographic area, you should consider targeting that audience in the appropriate radius with highly relevant ad copy, which must include all vital information (Name of the program, Online/Campus, Degree, Location). On the other hand, if your goal is to increase leads for a post graduate program, the most effective strategy would be re-targeting. If the size of your budget doesn’t coincide with the cost of the campaign, you need to focus on the audience that you are most likely to draw a profit from with paid search. Ask yourself questions such as: Who is the audience I am speaking to? What location should I be targeting? What courses should I be promoting? Where should I allocate the most budget to?
When do I want to achieve these goals?
Back end granular tracking not set up/set up incorrectly
Why is back end tracking important? Imagine that front end data shows 2,500 leads. But once we dive into back end data, we learn that those 2,500 leads resulted in just 1,260 enrollments. With proper tracking in place, we are able to see exactly which leads (i.e. keyword, campaign, device) led to the most enrollments and optimize accordingly.
Not Bidding on Your Brand Name
A common question from education institutions is: Should we be bidding on our institution’s name? The answer is yes. Any prospective student who is familiar with your brand will be searching for it. Also, your competitors are likely offering similar courses, so it is in your best interest to be above organic results and prevent your competition from outbidding your own brand. Branded spend is typically very low and CTR is high, which results in a higher quality score.
Not Creating Custom Landing Page
Institutions often direct prospective students to their homepage after clicking on an ad, instead of a customized landing page. When a student clicks on your ad for a specific course, they should be directed to a specific landing page that fulfills their needs.
No Use or Poor Use of Negative Keywords
Google defines negative keywords as a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Those are the keywords we wish to exclude from our search campaigns. This must be done on a regular basis in order to keep the account clean, as new irrelevant search queries show up on a daily basis. For example, an ad for an education course might show up for a search for a job in education. The solution would be adding related keywords such as job, hiring, position, etc. to the list of negative keywords.