We have found Google Ads for College Admissions Offices to be an extremely effective resource. It is a consistent and profitable way to gain new customers. In this article we will go in depth on how they work and how you can set up a campaign for your business.
So what is Google Ads? Google Ads (also known as Google Adwords) is an advertising platform used to display content, services, and advertisements. This is a great tool to drive traffic and customers your way. They end up seeing your page and advertisements as they are browsing and searching on google for products or services related to the ones you are offering.
What are Google Ads?
This is a specific method of advertising that is known as PPC (Pay Per Click) meaning that the advertiser pays a certain amount of money each time their ad is clicked on.
This article will be focusing on Search Ads which is what will be paid for. The advertisement paid for will only show up after a relevant google search. Using Google and Google searches is an effective way to advertise as there will be people constantly searching for the specific services that you are selling. The main objective in these searches is to target keywords that potential customers are looking up so our specific ads pop up for the customers.
The Differences between Google Ads and SEO
Google Ads is all about instant results. Google Ads is easy to learn but hard to master. This service is a strong tool that can benefit businesses in both the short and long term while SEO is built around getting results in the long term setting.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an advertising technique that maximizes natural searching traffic to your website and business. SEO in the long term is an amazing tool that allows business to thrive, but off the bat there is no guarantee that people’s searches will result in your business being at the top of the list.
Google Ads is about maximizing the moment, if results are desired instantaneously then Google Ads is the method for you, on the other hand SEO is a great way to build a strong long term plan. It is easy to start with Google Ads and move into SEO as the confidence grows with results.
Results from searching “College Admissions consultant” or “college admissions office near me”
These are two different styles of advertisement, one directly advertising consulting while the other is about test prep. Both are great methods to keep in mind when targeting specific audiences.
These are some examples of Google Search Ads. Google Ads is a platform that is designed for advertisers to promote their product or service when they want to grow their brand awareness and increase conversions.
Creating a Google Ads Account
To create a Google Ads account you will need to sign up with an account associated with google. Any Gmail account will work
Once an account has been created and set up the best way to start this new process is by creating a new advertising campaign.
Creating a Campaign on Google Ads for a College Admissions Counselor
The first question we will be upon starting this campaign is “What’s your main advertising goal?” There are three options with a more structured and basic approach to the campaign. These are all great options but for maximum results we recommend that the user switches to “Expert Mode”. While the title may sound daunting this simply allows more freedom and depth when creating the campaign.
There are two ways to switch into “expert mode” from the start. When making a new account it is offered instantly, but when starting a new campaign it comes slightly later in the process.
The next page should have options with specific ideas and concepts that will create a stronger internet footprint of your brand. Once again, these are all solid options, but “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance” is the best choice to create a deeper and more versatile ad campaign.
Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance and then select “Search Campaign”. Following this there will be a bullet list of three options: select “Website visits” then fill in the website that you want to focus on.
On this page you will be deciding where and who you want your ad campaign to appear to. An example of a target location would be “United States”, it can also be more specific such as “Worcester, MA”, choosing a city or town will definitely create a targeted audience. Similar to this, adding a preferred language is essential for all potential customers.
Similar to how we must choose a location, a specific audience or broad range audience must be chosen as well.
Now you will have to decide on the budgeting of the ads you are going to produce. The budgeting should come from a daily number that reflects a monthly budget. For a 300 dollar monthly budget the daily number should be 10. On a given day, this budget may go over or go way under but the total cost won’t go over the set amount.
We will focus on clicks, as for a brand new starter campaign this is the most efficient way to start.
The “Maximum CPC bid limit” is the maximum amount of money we are willing to pay per click of our advertisement.
The reason we fill in the “Maximum CPC bid limit” is to ensure that we are not spending too much at the beginning of the campaign. This can always be changed later after we view the results and statistics, but it is the safest and smartest option to keep it low at the start.
If you want to be more specific an Ad Schedule can be created. These can be utilized to put ads in specific times to produce leads at a certain time. This is a great tool when people are in the office ready to answer the phone and are ready to be in contact with a potential customer.
One great trick in this section is to select “Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely”. We use this setting because it allows us to see which ads are performing the best, the creator will be able to see which of their ads are strongest to weakest.
This allows more data to be collected and a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Later on in the future we can implement more ads that work and get rid of the ones which don’t attract as much traffic.
Keywords in College Admissions Ad Groups
An ad group is a structured way to target related keywords relevant to the audience. They are one of the most important factors in the campaign that allows for a specific theme to be in play.
It is essential to keep in mind who the target audience is when creating an Ad Group. Ad groups will be related to the campaign in different ways, it is important to have 2-3 groups to create a wider variety of relevant words to focus on. As an example when focusing on College Admissions and Consulting, a couple of strong keywords would be built around the words “education”, “college”, or “consulting”.
An important thing to remember when finding keywords is what people are looking for within the service. Going beyond just the broader topics and diving into the key services that are offered will allow more people to discover these advertisements.
Take a minute and brainstorm keywords related to “College Admissions” or “Admissions Consultant”
An important concept to keep in mind is adding plural versions of different keywords. Admission versus admissions will bring in different searches.
Specific adwords can also be used. When thinking about college admissions recognizable brands can be a good advertising tool, using keywords relevant to the SAT or ACT can create very searchable terms.
After setting up the keywords and ad campaign we will be presented to a new page on advertising structure.
The structure of advertisements in Google Ads breaks down into 4 different parts.
- Final URL
- Display Path
Each of these has a large impact on the customer experience as it will either influence where the customer ends up or what they initially see through their searches.
This is the basic page that combines Final URL, Display path, and Headlines. This is where we will be constructing the advertisement exactly how we want to.
The final url is the domain that the ad will lead to. Those who click on the ad will end up on the page you select. Not only will this be a part of the ad, but there are also headlines that will become their own part of the individual advertisement.
Here are examples of headlines and the preview of the advertisement when using these specific settings
There will be three Headlines to potentially fill out. In this case I filled out all three, but it will change from scenario to scenario. It is important to use keywords within the headlines, these are meant to entice the customer to click.
Descriptions are used to describe the product or service you are trying to promote. While there are 90 characters to be used, shorter descriptions with numbers and quick facts often perform well. The main idea is to use the descriptions to drive the potential customer to click. Beyond this is the display path.
The display path is somewhere we can control what the consumer sees. It can be anything you want and is just a part of the URL that shows to the client.
Once completing these four sections your new advertisement should look something like this:
This is the mobile version of the advertisement
This is the version of the ad when viewed from a desktop or laptop
You can see all four different sections come to life and affect what the ad looks like, each one plays an important yet separate role that contributes to a strong end product.
This is a great start, but is not completely finished yet.
Before publishing, the final touch of this section is the sitelink extension. Filling in this section brings the clicker to whichever site you decide. This could be a specific products page, an informational page, or the page where the services are priced.
Having control over where you send the potential customer is a great benefit and way to ensure they spend more time on your website. These advertisements’ main focus is always about converting clicks to business.
What To Do After The Campaign Has Been Finished
An ad campaign is never truly “finished” there are many ways we can improve the
For this next section a general tip is to utilize the search bar at the top of the page to find the specific areas of the website we will be working on. The details will be spelled out on how to find certain pages, but this is a handy tool to search them right away.
Even though you have just posted this first advertisement there are ways that we can continue to strengthen it. By using the Keyword Planner we can get better insight into what people are searching for. By going into “Tools and Settings” and then selecting “Keyword Planner” then search up a keyword that you want to focus on. An example of this could be “College Admissions Consultants”
You may already have some of the suggested keywords in your campaign but feel free to select relevant suggestions. By selecting more and adding these terms to your Campaign and ad group there will be more searches leading to your advertisement.
The most important aspect of this section is the types of keywords you are looking for. “Phrase Match” means that someone searching on google will get results that have to include the keywords we selected. If the potential customer searches “College admissions consulting near me” then our advert will show up.
Once you are comfortable with the keywords you have chosen you can directly add them into the campaign by selecting “Add keywords”.
Similar to Keywords the next topic we must tackle are Negative keywords. This means that someone who searches with one of the negative keywords we select will not be shown any of our advertisements. Some examples of this would be if your business does not provide services within a specific area of the country, then a negative keyword could be the specific state that the service is not available in.
The Negative Keywords tab can be found on the side bar under “Keyword Plan” and “Saved Keywords”
Once these words have been added into this section you can hit save and they will be applied instantly.
Great job completing the first advertisements of a new campaign. Now we need to track the progress of the ad or ads that have been created and the best way to do so is through analytics. In a couple of days or weeks go and check the results and impressions these advertisements have made.
Another great benefit to using google ads is the fact that we can actively change live campaigns to what we see fit.
Future Content Strategy
Beyond following the progress of our newly created advertisements one of the key concepts to think about is how we can constantly be improving. The following sections of this article will consist of general tips to try and produce the best results and content possible.
What is a landing page? The simple answer is that it is a stand alone page that the consumer is directed to after clicking on a link. An effective landing page likes to focus on a singular goal. This is why it is especially important to have specific landing pages to direct the new incoming traffic that google ad campaigns provide.
Here is an example of what a landing page about a College Admissions business and consulting website looks like:
Making it easy for the customer to express their interest and leading them to a page where they will use your services is crucial for success. This is the best method to get in touch with the customers quickly and efficiently.
This is a solid landing page as there are some “call to action” graphics. This means that the page is focusing on a singular goal in order to get their point across. Whether that be pointing out social media pages to try and grow their brand or making it easy to contact the business easily.
This is a strong homepage as it checks all the boxes.
- It has an eye catching image in the front
- Represents the services available in more places than one
- Has a listed phone number, and many ways to contact them
- Has facts and appealing numbers listed in eye popping fashion
- States the audience and demographics potential problems.
Different Types of Keywords
All throughout google searches there are different types of keywords and styles that help attract top level search results.
The three types of keywords that google ads focuses on and we utilize are “Broad Match”, “Phrase Match”, and “Exact Match”.
The difference between these three keywords comes from the search results. Broad words relate to the specific keywords, phrases must include the keyword, and an exact match must result in a search that shows results with the exact same meaning.
Some examples of related results then searching up the term “College Admissions” could be:
Broad: “College Consultants near me”, “Best colleges near me” or “SAT Test prep”