Facebook Marketing for Education Service Firms

By Chandan Jha

Based out of Las Vegas, Kranse Institute offers digital SAT prep courses. The numbers below reflect the results of a year long marketing campaign on Facebook and Instagram. They ran video and lead ads on Facebook and Instagram to increase brand awareness among students and parents. In 16 months, the results were spectacular. With Facebook Marketing, they experienced a 2.9X return on Ad spend, and over 13,000 new student signed up which translated to a 22% increase in new enrollments. They offered a highly relevant video ad campaign, linked their video ads to offer free SAT prep trials, and gave highly relevant information in the ads which focussed on student issues, such as how the students had lower debt with higher SAT scores****. Facebook and Instagram were the primary traffic driver and the best performing channel for the small business.

Facebook in the US Market

3 out of 4 people in US use Facebook, a staggering statistic. Facebook surpassed Google in ‘referrals for online publishers’ in 2015 and maintains the lead in being the top referral source for digital publishers#. To add perspective, close to 9 out of 10 internet users in the age group 18-29 use Facebook*. The figure is similar(84%*) for 30-49 year olds in the US. Even for 50-64 year olds 3 out of 4 internet users use Facebook*. Being in the test prep market, you possibly cannot avoid Facebook as the top platform to reach out to the target market.

Connecting the dots : Does your Marketing provide accurate Attribution

While most of the companies invest in online marketing, connecting the dots and attributing purchase to the actual advertisement is often considered complicated, even impossible. Digital marketing has evolved rapidly over the past few years. Tracking has become more complicated with most of the world rapidly shifting to mobiles, and over half the users using at least 3 devices before making the purchase**. Facebook implemented people-based tracking, superseding cookie-based tracking, which essentially was unable to track people when they changed devices(eg laptop to mobile). Cross-device conversion tracking is now a reality, and you can also connect your CRM (Customer Relationship Management software such as Salesforce) to digital advertisement platforms (such as Facebook) for a more accurate attribution model (to be able to identify which platform / advertisement gets credit for conversion / purchase).

Connecting the dots: But is it that easy?

For business leaders, however, there is the additional question of figuring out the answer with respect to their software ecosystem. There are portals, databases(scattered across servers), SAAS (Software as a service such as Xero, Quickbooks etc.), cloud servers (Amazon, Microsoft, etc.), to name just a few. Advertising online is never on a single platform. Often marketers select more than one platform (say, Google for search marketing and Facebook for social) to advertise their services and products, partner with other sites, and publish articles on various blogs and social sites for referrals. Forward and backward integration is not always possible. Compounding the problem is the consumer cross-device behavior over an extended period of time. And that is the reason services such as Zapier, which provide forward and backward integration have become so popular of late. It may be difficult to have 100% attribution or return on investment for all ads. But you can get close. Implementing best practices while creating ads, such as tag management, is one of the ways to do so.

Facebook: Customer Persona

One of the dilemmas of an advertiser is how to decide whom to target in online advertising campaigns. While we mostly know who our customers are, Facebook offers a way to not only validate whom we should target by telling us more about our customer base, the Facebook algorithm can be used to extrapolate your existing customer base to create fresh leads for your business. Facebook helps you create a persona of your typical customer. Facebook partners with some of the leading players in the market to give extraordinary insights into your existing customers. For example, you are able to find out the demography, insights into their lifestyle, typical income, interests and much more about your customer. And they need not have been targeted using a Facebook campaign. This insight is provided on your existing customer data residing with you, for example, in your CRM. Using this insight, and using available automated tools, it is possible to extrapolate this persona onto existing users of Facebook to create your own leads (not your current customers). Using Facebook marketing, you can design advertisements for this population. Not only is the population highly relevant because it is based on your existing customer base, you are able to create much more focussed targeted ads, and given the insight, have a higher return on investment. One example in a similar case is Startup Institute. Startup Institute, a post-secondary tech school used targeted video ads among potential students resulting in 88% lower cost per completed application.

Multiple Customer Persona

Often for test prep companies, the target customer persona may be more than one. For example, while you are targeting parents of teenagers as the customer base, you may also want to target teenagers with different ads in which case you have two personas. With Facebook it is possible to create two distinct sets of prospect lists and target them with a separate set of advertisements. Charter College experimented tested its prospective audience with two different ad objectives, resulting in 43% lower cost per lead and 71% more leads with conversion objective***.

More and more companies are using the power of Facebook to reduce their cost of customer-acquisition. More than 60 million businesses now have a Facebook page yet. Start with a Facebook page for your business if you have not yet started. The rest will follow.


* https://www.statista.com [2016]  # https://www.parse.ly/resources/data-studies/authority-report-8/  ** facebook.com *** https://www.facebook.com/business/success


About the Author

Chandan Jha is a consultant who oversees Analytics and Digital Marketing Strategy for The Association of Test Prep, Admissions, and Tutoring Professionals.

Schedule an appointment with Chandan.