Performance Marketing Expert

Facebook: A Full-Funnel Powerhouse for Education

The education industry has seen a boom in online marketing in recent years. Colleges and universities that have previously relied only on traditional advertising – or close to no advertising at all – are dipping their toes further and further into the depths of online advertising. Most notably, within social media.

Marketers have traditionally viewed Facebook and other social media platforms purely within the context of top of funnel strategies. However, in the past few years, Facebook has grown its ad product offerings, targeting capabilities, and other functions to be effective in driving consumers through the entire sales funnel. This offers a great opportunity for many industries, but especially within education, as 90% of young adults (who are commonly prospects, current students, and new alumni) are active on social media platforms.

Leveraging Facebook Throughout the Customer Journey

The education industry – which encompasses everything from traditional universities and colleges to for-profit programs, workshops, seminars, and more – has a lot to gain from a full-funnel social media strategy. As younger generations rely more heavily on social media, their online interactions are having a greater influence on life decisions. It’s important for education marketers to meet these individuals where they are already spending time.

Here are just a few ways to leverage Facebook’s offerings throughout the entire customer journey:  

  • Awareness: Make individuals aware of a program or school by leveraging video ads highlighting student life, the ease of program completion, and/or long-term benefits that are unique from the competition. Target prospecting and affinity audiences.
  • Consideration: Help drive consideration by showing static ads that feature the establishment’s unique value proposition alongside its appealing features. Target website remarketing, awareness video remarketing, lookalike remarketing, and a prospecting audience to further grow the remarketing pool.
  • Purchase: Use lead gen ads to inspire urgency and action. Target website remarketing, video remarketing, lookalike remarketing, and also test against a prospecting audience.


The Benefits of Lead Gen Ads

Lead gen ads have recently become very popular within education, in part due to their ability to reduce friction during a buyer’s journey. Traditionally, there are a number of steps between a customer seeing an online ad and actually completing a purchase. For instance, they may see an ad, click on it, read website content, and then potentially convert. Often consumers leave a site during this process due to indecision or lack of trust and are then targeted by competitors, potentially causing the original brand to lose a sale.

With Facebook’s lead gen ads, a prospect clicks on an ad and is immediately taken to a lead gen form with simple details and instructions, while remaining within the Facebook interface. This is inherently seen as more trustworthy for a social media prospect than a third party website. By reducing friction and increasing trust, educators are able to reduce their cost-per-lead, and convert a higher percentage of clicks.

Recently, our team worked with two universities to increase leads for their specialized programs. By implementing Facebook’s lead gen ads to best meet their goals, the universities saw on average a 78.84% higher click-through-rate, a 5.75% decrease in cost-per-click, and a 76.54% decrease in cost-per-lead compared to static Facebook ads.

Best Practices for Launching Facebook Campaigns

We’ve found that in certain instances, Facebook’s costs-per-acquisition have even outperformed those of paid search. This is particularly notable since those targeted through paid search typically have high purchase intent. However, while this is great news for advertisers, the simpler process may also attract less qualified leads.

Here are some best practices to increase the likelihood of attracting qualified leads:

  • Use a video or other “thumb-stopping” creative, with a very clear brand identity.
  • Offer an incentive, such as waiving an application fee.
  • Ask fewer questions, but customize them in a way that only qualified leads would be able to answer.
  • Continuously A/B test your forms to truly understand what is working best.


In regard to lead gen ads, make sure you are following the best practices listed above, as well as the following:

  • Limit response options to just three or four selections.
  • Customize your disclaimers.
  • Download leads regularly and follow up as soon as you can at the time that is most convenient for those individuals.
  • Make sure you are not asking for information that is on Facebook’s restricted list and are following other lead gen best practices, found here.


Like any new tool, it's important to test new social media tactics before jumping in head-first. To best understand the impact of lead gen ads compared to standard Facebook ads, take a long-term approach, letting your tests marinate across all of your product and service offerings as you analyze success.

The social media ecosystem is continually evolving, and testing and adapting to new offerings is vital for staying ahead in a crowded industry. Facebook’s bottom-of-funnel offerings provide an enormous opportunity within education. For more information on how to most effectively leverage social media within your marketing campaigns, reach out to our team at Rise.


10/11/2017 at 12:22