The internet has changed everything we know about applying to colleges. The days of only learning about a college by actually stepping on their campuses are over.  You can learn a great deal about a school through search engines, personal webpages and review sites. But because of its ease of access, lots of information clutters the web, and it isn’t always clear what information will be most beneficial. In fact, 63 percent of recently enrolled and prospective students say that they have often felt lost when researching college or financial aid options. That’s why it’s so important to market your college with specificity and potency.

Here’s what your college or university’s search ads are missing.


When given the opportunity to market your college or university, it may seem obvious to want to share all you can about what you have to offer. The amount of students, the name recognition, awards, etc. While there is a time and place to share your school’s accomplishments, if your ads just list off achievements or data and percentages, it comes off as cold and self-focused. But if you make students the real focus of your search ads, they can become more inviting. Don’t forget that prospective students should be the focus of your search ad copy.

Specific Call to Action

No matter how well-written your ad is, it probably isn’t the determining factor for someone’s enrollment. Generally, your ads are meant to inform and pique interest. The way to continue a prospective student’s journey toward enrollment is to have an enticing call to action (CTA). The quality of your ads' CTAs will help drive traffic to your website and expand user experience. Be sure to include some sort of specific CTA in your ads. To have a successful ad campaign, you should A/B test them—see what CTAs perform the best and continue your campaign accordingly.

Keyword Selections

Marketing to the right prospective students is a key part of your ad’s conversion rate, which will help translate into more student inquiries and applications. The way you can do this is through using proper keywords. As marketers, we have an immense amount of tools at our disposal. Use keyword research to get a better understanding of what people are looking up on search engines. To connect through to the end user's experience, be sure to include some resemblance of the keywords you're targeting with your ads in the actual ad copy.

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