The remarks, made by Melissa Rekos, executive vice president of digital services at higher education marketing firm Carnegie Global, were a timely reminder for providers to update their marketing practices to remain relevant.
In particular, she pointed to the increasing numbers of parents using Facebook to connect with their friends and children as an often underutilised platform for promoting an education institution.
“You can behaviourally target ads based on what you know about someone, you can load in where they work, you can load in where they go to school,” she told attendees.
“And you can target these very specific parameters, so you can make sure you’re getting in front of the most targetted audience that you possibly can.”
Facebook, which of late has come under fire after allegations political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica mined user data to produce highly targeted political advertising in the 2016 US election, allows users to identify their relationship, but Rekos told The PIE News it was also capable of filling data gaps based on their interactions.
“We do find that the types of messaging the resonate strongly with parents, fairly across the board, are messages related to outcomes”
Comments, likes and other interactions can be indicative of a particular type of relationship, even if it isn’t explicitly identified.
“If I enter in that I have [daughters] and they have Facebook profiles, and Facebook knows how old they are, now Facebook knows I’m a parent of a high-school aged student,” she said.
Rekos said Carnegie Global used this information to promote client institutions on social media, using three different messages and attracting over 150 parent enquires.
“We do find that the types of messaging the resonate strongly with parents, fairly across the board, are messages related to outcomes. Things like employment rates, the jobs they get, as well as tuition, financial aid,” she said.
While academic and employment outcomes tended to resonate with most parents, Rekos warned that relying solely on marketing those aspects of an institution might not be suitable for each country and region or even institution.
The 2018 APAIE conference attracted over 2,200 delegates from around the Asia-Pacific, as well as Europe and North America.