Using Private School Retargeting to Drive Enrollment


November is approaching, and that means we’re entering peak enrollment season. If your school adheres to a February application deadline, the next three months will be critical as you’ll likely be receiving the highest amount of traffic from prospective students to your website and social media channels during this time.

Are you capturing those initial visits to your website? Or are prospective students arriving at your admissions page and then heading back off, perhaps never to return? One of the best ways to ensure that students revisit your site and take a deeper consideration of your school is to employ private school retargeting.

What is Private School Retargeting?

Have you ever shopped online for, say, a pair of running shoes? Do you remember going to the retailer’s website, leaving without making a purchase–and then the next day mysteriously seeing an ad for that store on your Instagram feed? Magic, right? No, that’s retargeting.

Retargeting is simply capturing information about your website visitor in order to then provide advertising to that same user on another website, social media channel or other digital platform. The tactic is used regularly in e-commerce, but can easily be applied to private schools for their admission application efforts.

Why Should I Use Retargeting?

Most people that visit a website will leave without ever making a purchase or, in the case of a school, filling out a form to reach admissions. Retargeting establishes an additional touchpoint between your school and your prospective student; this repeated exposure works to remind the student of their visit to your school’s website and over time, draw them back.

Since it takes about 5-8 interactions to establish a relationship with a prospect, retargeting helps to develop those touch points. And website visitors who are retargeted tend to convert–i.e., take the action you’ve intended them to–at a much higher rate than if they had only visited your website once.

How Does Private School Retargeting Work?

Retargeting is a process that uses code to anonymously follow an individual as they browse the web.

Each time a visitor comes to your website, your site adds a small piece of data known as a “cookie” to that visitor’s browser, which provides a record that they came to your website. When you retarget an ad to previous website visitors, that “cookied” individual will be served ads from your retargeting provider.

How do I Set-Up a Retargeting Campaign?

The first step in setting up a retargeting campaign is to decide what your goals are. Since we’re talking in this post about how to remind a prospective student or family about your school with the ultimate goal of bringing them back to your website, you’ll first need to decide where you’d like to serve your remarketing ads.

One option would be to use the Google Display Ad Network. Here, Google will provide the code (referred to as a “tag”) to add to your website. After having created and submitted your ads through the Google platform, you’ll then decide who should receive your ads and on which sites they’ll be displayed. If you feel that text-based search engine ads will be more effective, then you can apply a similar process via the Google Ads platform.

Of course, you’re not limited to placing your retargeting ads only on websites or search engines. Social media platforms offer a whole other means by which to reintroduce your school to your website visitors. For example, if a prospective student visits and then leaves your website’s admissions page without taking an action, you can use Facebook’s retargeting platform to deliver them one of your school’s enrollment ads on their Facebook or Instagram feed.  

Retargeting isn’t limited to websites or social media, either; you can run retargeting campaigns via email platforms, apps, and even CRMs.

How to Get Started

After you’ve defined your private school retargeting goals, start to explore the various platforms available to you. If you know where you’d like to retarget, you can go directly to the channel itself (Facebook or Google for example), or you can research one of the prominent retargeting services available. You can also work with an agency like ours, who will not only help you determine the best retargeting strategy, but can create, launch and optimize your retargeting campaign.

Either way, over the next few weeks, I encourage you and your marketing team to explore the options I’ve discussed here. Private school retargeting is a smart way to help your school capture more of the prospective students that will inevitably visit your website this fall. Let me know how it goes, and if we can help in any way, we’re only an email away.




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