These days, colleges and universities are up against some pretty big challenges. With rising tuition costs and lower completion rates, delivering brand messages that resonate with your audience is more important than ever—but how do you pick which platforms to allocate time and resources to?

Check out our guide to five digital marketing platforms essential to your college or university. 

1. Facebook

With billions of users all over the world, Facebook is one of the biggest influencers in the digital space. However, what makes Facebook such a valuable platform for colleges and universities is not simply its user volume. It is uniquely situated as a digital marketing platform that's used by parents and students alike, making it a goldmine for institutions of higher education. Universities can develop targeted messages for parents and potential students alike, then deploy these messages on a single platform with massive reach. If your institution intends to focus its efforts on a single platform, this is the one for you.

READ: Campus Storytelling: Boosting Student Recruitment with Gen-Z

2. Google

While parents and students don't spend quite as much time on Google as they do Facebook, the massive online search engine sees regular traffic from both demographics. These days, everyone is answering their questions using Google, so colleges and universities are wise to allocate some of their marketing spend to ads on the platform. If a prospective student Googles "great nursing schools in the midwest" or "best business school near me," wouldn't you want ads from your institution's website to show up? The best time to demonstrate value to prospective students is when they are already searching for an institution that fits their needs. You can build on these results by having your school rank higher on the results page organically. If you're looking to get into Google, get started by boosting your SEO

3. Snapchat

Snapchat has taken over. According to Statista, 46 percent of teenagers polled named Snapchat as their favorite social media platform in 2018. Compare that to just five percent for Facebook. Additionally, 84 percent of teenagers reported using Snapchat once a day. What does this tell us about the popular messaging app's user base? It's young, it's active and it makes Snapchat the perfect platform for targeting high-school- and college-aged students. So, how do you get started? For some tips and tricks, head over to our blog: How Your College or University Can Make the Most of Snapchat.

4. Instagram

According to Hootsuite, 59 percent of U.S. Instagram users are aged 18 to 29, and more than 72 percent of teens between 13 and 17 use Instagram every day. And Instagram is one of the few social media platforms to compete with Snapchat for its share of the teen market. Because Instagram is more popular for young adults in their late teens and early 20s, savvy institutions can use the platform to encourage higher engagement with existing students or to specifically target potential transfer and non-traditional students.

READ: 5 Tips for Upping Your College or University's Instagram Game

5. Spotify Radio

Spotify is one of the most popular music-streaming services amongst young adults, which makes the platform particularly valuable for colleges and universities. Beyond the obvious benefits of targeting based on age and gender, Spotify allows brands to connect directly with users based on interests and behaviors. Segmenting listeners based on artists, podcasts and user-made studying playlists allows institutions to directly connect with studious high-school- and college-aged students. For more information, read Where Streaming Audio Plays a Role in Your Marketing Strategy

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