If are involved in enrollment marketing, and have been paying attention to the news over the past year, you may have seen some headlines about the largest social network, Facebook, that might make you think twice about using the platform, either personally, or as an advertising strategy.
So I’m writing this article to shed some light on what is happening with the Tech Giant and relate it specifically to the context of using it as an enrollment marketing tool.
I’m going to do my best here to avoid sharing my opinions while sticking to data and facts.
Here are some facts:
- Facebook has got into trouble by breaching its users’ privacy.
- They have responded with several changes to the platform that seems to be meant to reassure their users that their private information is safe.
- The most relevant target demographic for Montessori schools is a mom between the ages of 25-44 with young children, who is educated and is interested in developmentally appropriate education for them and of course, is willing to invest in that education.
- According to eMarketer, there are 23+ million moms of children under 18 that are active on Facebook, and that number is growing. That’s over 2/3 of all moms in the US.
So, why are some advertisers worried?
Well, one of the ways Facebook has responded to the charges is to remove some of their most granular ad targeting demographics. E.g., some job titles, ethnicity, net worth, home ownership, etc.
These changes do give certain kinds of advertisers cause for concern because the ability to hyper-target Facebook’s users is what sets it apart for so many brands.
While the results are still unknown, this is likely only a minor concern for large national brands, like Coca-Cola, or Walmart.
But here’s the thing: when it comes to local businesses, hyper-targeting is usually not a useful strategy. It’s one of the surest ways to kill the performance of a campaign.
The negative impacts of hyper-targeting are something we learned early on when we were testing Facebook against the other marketing platforms for which we used to provide services.
The truth is that as much as you do need a team of experts to be running your campaign, it’s Facebook’s targeting algorithms that are doing the heavy lifting. The job of a campaign manager is to know how to give the algorithm the best kind of sample with which to work.
What other experts and we have seen is that when you hyper-target in a local area, you are holding the algorithm back from doing its job—it’s like hiring someone to build you a house, then tying their hands behind their backs.
Here are some ratios that are good to stick to, at least when initially launching a campaign for your school:
When building your target, you should try to keep to an audience of 100,000 per $10 of daily ad budget. Additionally, for every $10 of the ad budget, you should be running 2-5 ads to test against each other to see which one yields the lowest cost-per-inquiry.
We’re seeing a lot of Google marketing experts writing articles for non-experts that make bold claims, without any actual data backing them up. Why do they do this? Because if you can convince people that the sky is falling, it’s easy to get them to click on something. To that, all I can say is ‘buyer beware.’
Is Facebook now irrelevant for enrollment marketing?
No, that’s ridiculous. Is it changing? Yes, all advertising platforms make regular changes to their platforms to keep the ‘black hat’ type advertisers, who are always trying to game the system, on their toes.
The good news is that local, honest businesses like Montessori schools have nothing to worry about because they are precisely the business for whom Facebook is building this platform. If a platform like Facebook were to remove its value from those, they would quickly destroy their own business.
That said, and as always, you do have to make sure you know what you are doing. Using Facebook to grow your enrollment properly takes a team of experts with various skills, Facebook ads being just one of them. You also need to consider web design for landing pages, email segmentation automation for programmatic follow up, copy-writing, and strategic marketing knowledge.
Enrollment campaigns are not something one person can do properly on their own, as it takes thousands of hours to learn each one of these skills and how to implement them successfully. So, if you’re already running a school, or teaching in the classroom, from where will all that time come?