Divvying up your school's ad budget already feels like you're trying to split a single blueberry pie amongst twenty Thanksgiving dinner guests when you only planned on serving six.
So of course, when that twenty-first guest shows up late to the party and expects a piece of the pie, too, it's tempting to say "no way." But if that twenty-first guest is someone who is really important, who really deserved a piece of the pie despite their tardiness, you'd figure it out, right?
So, here's four reasons why social ads — the late, but certainly expected Thanksgiving Dinner guest — should get a piece of that coveted blueberry pie.
1. A social media strategy without an ad budget leave a lot of opportunity on the table.
While you're not going to run ads for every single post on your Facebook page, not allocating any budget to ads is going to make building and managing social media engagement borderline impossible.
One study found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%. Another study suggests that Brand pages with more than 500,000 Likes have organic reach as low as 2%.
Since most schools won't have more than 500,000 likes — let's use that 6.5% engagement rate to figure out the average views an organic post will receive:
Number of Likes x 0.065 = Average organic post views
So, even a school like Avon Old Farms, who has a killer social media presence and following, only has the potential to reach about 325 out of 5,000+ people. And most of those (based on Facebook's algorithms) will be those who previously engaged with the page, making it hard to reach new audiences.
And based on the above image, we're thinking that equation is pretty accurate.
2. Social ads help you reach new audiences...
It is no longer a question whether social media is where current and prospective families spend a ton of time. In fact, about 30% of all online time is spent browsing social networks.
So as the saying goes — fish where the fish are.
Want to target all males in the state of New Jersey, ages 14-16 with an interest in hockey? Maybe you're interested in promoting your new pre-school programs all parents ages 30-35 in a set of local cities.
Yeah, you can do that with Facebook ads.
3. ...Or target an already-engaged audience with content.
While Facebook ads are great for expanding your audience, sometimes it is tough to get those clicks — especially if you're trying to make your name in a totally new area.
One of the best uses for Facebook ads is website retargeting, because it allows you to target an audience that already knows who you are, and has previously engaged with your brand.
For example, you can target:
- Anyone who visited your inquiry page, but didn't submit the form
- Potential donors who visited your giving page
- Anyone who visited your website in general
Here is a quick breakdown of the Facebook ad targeting options:
- Custom Audiences: Target Facebook ads based on your email list.
- Lookalike Audiences: Target Facebook users similar to your current families.
- Audience Insights: Learn about your existing Facebook audience to better target your ads.
- Website Custom Audiences: Target Facebook users who have visited your website before.
- Facebook Exchange: Place retargeted ads on Facebook for users who've visited a certain product or service page on your site.
- Custom Reports: Create reports based on metrics that matter most for your school.
Social Media Services
4. Facebook is still where your audience spends a lot of their time.
Facebook is the best place to begin your social ad campaigns. And in case you thought Facebook was dead, here are a few stats to prove otherwise:
- 42% of all social media activity is on Facebook
- Facebook is the number 1, third-party smartphone app in the U.S.
- Facebook made $17BN in ad revenue in 2015
- Facebook users spend an average of 40 minutes on the networking site per day — that's double the time of Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
A "boosted post" is just the tip of the iceberg.
Because of its complexity, most schools opt to just "boost" posts on their feed to some target audience. While these are a great start, they are extremely limited, and don't necessarily make the most of your ad dollars.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of social ads, we can help.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Red leads our team of experts who have your back when it comes to organic online searches and ads. With a long history in independent schools — as an alum, former teacher, dorm parent, coach, and now a current parent — his passion for helping you is rooted deep in his own experiences. Alongside his degree in engineering and a master's in school leadership, it's easy to see why clients say Red "gets them" when they discuss marketing strategy!