Responsive Ads: Hit Your Targets and Broaden Your Reach with Current and Prospective Students
Find what works for parents and students with automated testing
Responsive ads are all the rage in the display ad world because of their chameleonic ability to adjust their size, appearance, and format to adapt to any screen, platform, or device. They offer a powerful tool to extoll the virtues of your school and attract students because they are optimized to fit the screen of whatever device is being used.
Because you can test different combinations of images and text, it’s easy to test to find what works. These paid ads, combined with content marketing, form the recipe that can inspire both parents and prospective students to check out your institution.
Let’s talk about the benefits of these powerfully motivating responsive ads, how to use them to enhance your marketing efforts, and best practices for creating them.
The benefits of responsive ads
First, a little background: We’re talking about paid display ads on the Google network, which has been slowly moving away from text ads to those that have words well as images to catch the eye, including up to a 30-second video from your YouTube channel. These responsive display ads use Google’s machine learning to save time as well as help you test multiple versions of your ads so you can optimize them for peak performance.
These ads offer a number of benefits, including optimizing automatically based on conversions with just a few inputs from you. The elements you use in your ads are called assets. Your assets can include 15 images, five headlines, five descriptions, and five logos. These multiple assets mean testing, and Google says that you will see 10% more conversions than if you only provided a single set of text and images.
Once you provide your text and images, Google does the rest, testing different combinations based on context. This means various ads will be served to search engine users depending on who they are, where they live, which search terms they used, etc., to make them more personalized to reach your ideal target.
You also get a broader reach across platforms because of the ability of these ads to reformat to fit any device. What you see as a text ad in a mobile app can display as a banner on a website.
To see which assets perform the best, you can view an asset report and use that to tweak and boost their performance, perhaps by changing images or text.
Use responsive ads as part of your overall digital marketing strategy
Responsive ads can easily be integrated into your school’s overall digital marketing strategy. While you give up some brand control with automated ads, they can often provide better performance than standard display ads.
They are money savers, as well. You don’t need a design team, and your ads don’t have to be created in different sizes and types to meet different requirements on the Google Display Network. With responsive ads, you supply the images and text, and Google does the rest.
Integrate responsive ads into your school’s digital marketing strategy to:
- Build brand awareness: Target your ads by choosing the correct keywords, the types of sites your target audience is interested in, and even groups within your target audience.
- Conserve advertising dollars: You can bid on placements on a cost-per-click, cost-per-thousand impressions, or cost-per-action basis. You can set your goals and then manage your budget easily.
- Measure success easily: A dashboard shows you metrics by campaign, group, specific ads, or demographics, among other categories. By integrating with Google Analytics, you can get even more information.
- Broaden your reach: Adding additional items to your targeting type will broaden your reach, but adding new layers of targeting will narrow it. Rather than targeting “recent high school graduates in New York,” you would want to simply target “recent high school graduates” to reach the broadest audience. You can also use automatic targeting to expand your reach.
It’s all about reaching the most people at the time they want to be reached on the device they’re using, served up automatically, which can only enhance your digital marketing campaigns.
Best practices for creating your responsive ads
Including active keywords is one of the most important things for your responsive ads, as is creating ads that serve your message to the right people.
To get the best results from your responsive ads, follow these three recommendations:
Headlines and descriptions
Provide at least eight-to-10 headlines, including five that don’t repeat the same or similar wording. Two of your headlines should include your keyword and three shouldn’t, but these three should still highlight additional benefits, features, or a problem you can solve.
Also, supply at least two unique descriptions of your school that aren’t mentioned in the headlines. You can also use content that worked well in your existing text ads – this can help improve performance.
Do some keyword research to add popular keywords to your headlines to increase relevance and improve ad performance.
Images and video
Be sure to use images that scale properly. Think about how they will look scaled-down and cropped. Your image could lose all impact if it is difficult to know what’s happening when Google resizes.
Also, use high-quality images that are in focus, in full color rather than washed out, have square edges, and never overlay your logo. Other suggestions for optimizing image use in responsive ads include:
- Avoid overlaying text because it’s hard to read at smaller sizes
- Do not overlay buttons because they have no functionality and may be confusing
- Be sure to make your school the focus of the image by using something relevant to your message
- For auto-generated videos, do not use logos or text on the image borders.
Responsive display ads can add a new dimension and reach to your school’s digital marketing. They easily reach potential and current students at a low price point with a targeted message wherever they are.
You need a website that’s as great as your school
When you send people to your website after they click on your display ads, does your site show the school in the best light with engaging, informative content? If your ads are awesome but potential students get a big yawn from your website, you only did half of the marketing job.
You can count on KWALL to support the development of your higher ed website, help you implement a CMS, and support you while you use it. We can also help you create a maintenance and support plan that works so you can manage content through a content management system.