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Seeking students through search

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Seeking students through search Education insights for digital marketers


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For-profit colleges and universities will slowly grow through 2020 SOURCE: IBISWorld Industry Report 61131b, For-Profit Universities in the US, Lucas Isakowitz, February 2015. $27.2B For-profit institutions are projected to see an annualized growth of 1.1% over the five years to 2020. 30% Loans to students at for-profit schools expected to go into default over the next 15 years, vs. 12% of loans to students at not-for-profit schools. There is also increased competition from not-for-profit colleges and universities that are expanding their online courses to attract non-traditional students. For-profit colleges are facing increasing government oversight seeking to lower student loan default rates.


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Americans see value in higher education SOURCE: Gallup-Lumina Foundation, The 2014 Gallup-Lumina Foundation Study of the American Public’s Opinion on Higher Education: Postsecondary Education Aspirations and Barriers, April 2015.


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They believe higher education is essential for getting a good job now and in the future Percentage of U.S. adults who agree that: SOURCE: Gallup-Lumina Foundation, The 2014 Gallup-Lumina Foundation Study of the American Public’s Opinion on Higher Education: Postsecondary Education Aspirations and Barriers, April 2015. 68% Having a professional certificate or degree beyond high school is essential to getting a good job. 74% A college degree or professional certificate leads to a better quality of life. 69% It will be more important in the future to have a degree or professional certificate beyond high school to get a good job. 78% A good job is essential to having a high quality of life.


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Half of adults without a college degree aspire to obtain one 15% of them are likely to enroll in school in the next 12 months. SOURCE: Andrew P. Kelly, High costs, uncertain benefits: What do Americans without a college degree think about postsecondary education? Washington, DC: Center on Higher Education Reform – American Enterprise Institute, April 2015.


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Will your campaigns inspire them to take action?


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Headwinds for for-profit colleges and universities SOURCE: IBISWorld Industry Report 61131b, For-Profit Universities in the US, Lucas Isakowitz, February 2015.


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Strong employment drives work, not school With the national unemployment rate under 6%, adults will have less incentive to invest in higher education over the next 5 years. SOURCE: IBISWorld Business Environment Report, National unemployment rate, June 2015. TIP Use ad copy to highlight your work-flexible certification and degree programs to capture workers looking to learn new skills or change careers.


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For-profit schools need to show their graduates can earn a living—and pay off their loans The new Gainful Employment regulations are now in effect, and for-profit schools risk losing their federal student aid eligibility. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Fact Sheet: Obama Administration Increases Accountability for Low-Performing For-Profit Institutions, July 1, 2015. 20% of a typical graduate’s discretionary income. Maximum amount for the estimated annual loan payment that would lead to gainful employment. 1,400 programs serving 840,000 students. Estimated number of programs at risk of losing their eligibility for federal Title IV student aid due to the new regulations.


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Online education is driving enrollment of younger students at for-profit schools Attracted by the flexibility and variety of online programs, students aged 24 and under are on the rise at for-profit schools. SOURCE: IBISWorld Industry Report 61131b, For-Profit Universities in the US, Lucas Isakowitz, February 2015. TIP Use Demographic Targeting to reach your audience.


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Online learners care about campus location The majority are looking for nearby schools, even if they don’t plan to visit campus. SOURCE: The Learning House, Online College Students 2015: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, July 2015. TIP Use Location Targeting, Location Extensions, and Call Extensions to reach out to nearby searchers.


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Online students contact three schools or fewer Advertisers need to build awareness of their brands early—while prospective students are researching programs and costs. SOURCE: The Learning House, Online College Students 2015: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, July 2015.


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They recognize the power of search Prospective students turn to search engines to find out more about online programs and schools. SOURCE: The Learning House, Online College Students 2015: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, July 2015. *Not mutually exclusive. 65% Found search engines to be effective or very effective in raising awareness of online programs. 44% Primarily use search engines to gather more information on the schools they are interested in.* 34% Primarily call the schools they are interested in to gather more information.* TIP Use Call Extensions, like click-to-call, to help them reach you faster. TIP Bid on your own brand terms to build awareness, capture more clicks, and keep competitors at bay.


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Business and nursing programs top the charts Top online programs of study: SOURCE: The Learning House, Online College Students 2015: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, July 2015. TIP Use Sitelink Extensions and Enhanced Sitelinks to point searchers to the programs and pages they’re looking for.


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Education digital ad spending grew 35% between 2013 and 20141 With slow enrollment growth this year,2 expect competition to heat up for prospective students’ attention and clicks. SOURCE: 1. Kantar Media with eMarketer calculations, Chart: US Education Industry Ad Spending, by Media, 2013 & 2014, March 18, 2015. 2. IBISWorld Industry Report 61131b, For-Profit Universities in the US, Lucas Isakowitz, February 2015. TIP Use automated rules to monitor your campaigns and automatically adjust your bids and budgets.


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Bing Ads performance trends


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Searches for education-related terms are highest leading up to and during spring SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. Education-related search volume has grown, especially during fall and spring semesters. Spring semester in particular is a key period, especially with people making new year’s resolutions to learn something new or advance their careers.


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Higher education search volume is growing at a higher pace than vocational training SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. Higher education Much of the search volume increase was due to growth from searches related to Higher Education (Bachelor’s or Advanced degrees). This was especially apparent during the spring quarter. Vocational training search volume (such as searches for information on certificates or Associate degrees) remained relatively flat except for a slight increase towards the end of the spring quarter.


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Education provider-related ads are enjoying higher click-through rates this year SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. Click-through rate for education provider-related searches have increased year over year. Improve your click-through rates by optimizing your ad copy.


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Cost-per-click has declined in recent months SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. Education cost-per-click has been declining, providing greater cost efficiency for campaigns.


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Education provider-related campaigns might benefit from a PC/Tablet focus SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. PC/Tablet CTR vs. CPC 2014–2015 academic year PC/Tablet click-through-rate has been increasing as cost-per-click has been decreasing, providing better value for campaigns! Smartphone CTR vs. CPC 2014–2015 academic year Smartphone cost-per- click fluctuates throughout the year, but remains relatively affordable.


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The 2014–2015 academic year saw these top education searches: SOURCE: Microsoft internal data.


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Bing Ads audience behaviors


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The Bing Ads Network adds value for education SOURCE: comScore qSearch (custom), US, June 2015; industry categories based on comScore classifications. 23M Education searchers not reached on Google. 34M Total education searchers. 35% of all education paid clicks. 119M Total education searches.


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Buying educational products online Compared to Google, the Bing Ads audience is: SOURCE: comScore Plan Metrix, US, July 2015, custom measure created using comScore indices and duplication. July data was used to reflect the month prior to the beginning of the education season.


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Searching for educational products online Compared to Google, the Bing Ads audience is more likely to have searched for other literary or educational products online in the last 6 months. SOURCE: comScore Plan Metrix, US, July 2015, custom measure created using comScore indices and duplication. July data was used to reflect the month prior to the beginning of the education season.


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Applying for an education loan Compared to Google, the Bing Ads audience is more likely to have applied for an education loan offline in the last 6 months. SOURCE: comScore Plan Metrix, US, July 2015, custom measure created using comScore indices and duplication. July data was used to reflect the month prior to the beginning of the education season.


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Having school spirit Compared to Google, the Bing Ads audience is: SOURCE: comScore Plan Metrix, US, July 2015, custom measure created using comScore indices and duplication. July data was used to reflect the month prior to the beginning of the education season.


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Starting a new business Compared to Google, the Bing Ads audience is more likely to plan to start their own business in the next 12 months. SOURCE: comScore Plan Metrix, US, July 2015, custom measure created using comScore indices and duplication. July data was used to reflect the month prior to the beginning of the education season.


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Words that work Ad copy analysis


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M M M M M M Ad Copy Research Heat Map – Education Providers SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. 8,000 ads and 17 million impressions analyzed. Analysis period: January – March 2015. Great Neutral Poor Legend: No Data


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Top Ad Copy Combinations by Sub-vertical/Theme SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. 8,000 ads and 17 million impressions analyzed. Analysis period: January – March 2015. Education Provider ads perform best when the ad copy highlights promotions such as % Off, especially in the ad title. These ad copies do well with ad descriptions that contain terms from the categories Superlative, (e.g., “best”, “top”) or Time (e.g., “year”, “month”). Other ways to grab your target audience’s attention and motivate them to click is by pairing % Off in the ad title with specific Courses (e.g., “classes”, “program”, “certification”), or Calls To Action (e.g., “get started”, “enroll today”, “prepare”) in the ad description. The highest performing ad copies for Vocational Schools were those tailored to searches by utilizing DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion) in the ad title, combined with Programs (e.g., “program”, “programs”) in the ad description. Vocational School ad copies containing Jobs in the ad title also did well, especially with ad descriptions that contained specific types of Careers (e.g., “design”, “nursing”, “culinary arts”, “project management”) or promises of further Information (e.g., “info”, “information”) when clicked. Appeal to searchers concerned about the financial burden of a Vocational School course by creating ads with types of Careers in the ad title and Financial Aid related terms (e.g., “financial”, “aid”, “financial aid”) in the ad description.


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Top Ad Copy Combination by Device SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. 8,000 ads and 17 million impressions analyzed. Analysis period: January – March 2015. When it comes to Education Provider ads on PC/Tablet, the highest performing ad copy combination was Free terms (e.g., “free”, “request free”, “free info”) in the ad title and Financial Aid related terms in the ad description. On Smartphones, ad titles with % Off and ad descriptions with Superlatives (e.g., “best”, “top”) enjoyed greater success. Terms in the Careers category (e.g., “design”, “nursing”, “culinary arts”, “project management”) boosted ad copy performance for Vocational Schools for both PC/Tablet and Smartphone devices. Vocational School ads on PC/Tablet performed best when the ad title mentions Careers, and the ad description mentions Financial Aid. Searchers on Smartphones were most attracted to ad copy with ad titles containing Jobs related terms and ad descriptions containing Careers.


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Sitelink Deep Link Analysis SOURCE: Microsoft internal data. 8,000 ads and 17 million impressions analyzed. Analysis period: January – March 2015. OPPORTUNITY Free (e.g., “request free”, “free info”) was a top performer when featured in Sitelink Extension ads and is a relatively untapped opportunity, with low usage by advertisers. Official Site (e.g., “official site”, “official”) was another high performing term that was underutilized by advertisers. Take the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and boost your sitelink clicks by including terms from these high performing categories in your Sitelink Extension ads!


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Why advertise on Bing Ads?


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Access searchers not reached on Google SOURCE: Audience data represents Bing Web and Yahoo US Web Search from comScore qSearch (custom), US, June 2015. Industry categories based on comScore classifications.


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Drive even better performance with Ad Extensions SOURCE: 1Microsoft internal data.


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We heard feedback from our customers, advertisers and partners and are delivering new features to make advertising on Bing Ads easier and more effective. You spoke, we listened.


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It’s quick and easy to import your Google AdWords campaigns directly into Bing Ads with just a few clicks. Learn how to import your campaigns. Already advertising on Google AdWords?


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Connect with a Search Specialist who can help you get started today. Call 1-800-518-5689 or check out Getting started.


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© 2015 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


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