by Trevor Waddington, Principal, Truth Tree
We are all concerned about our online privacy. Every week, there seems to be a new story about a data breach or rampant identity theft.
It should be no surprise then that this year's Google I/O Developer Conference was all about privacy.
Of all that was discussed, what grabbed my attention the most was a new tool coming out in the late summer or early fall called My Ad Center.
What is Google's New My Ads Center?
Google's My Ad Center is a yet-to-be-released platform that will give users more control over the ads they see by topic and brand. For now, this will only affect search, discover feed, and YouTube ads, so display ads will not be affected.
Here's how it will play out IRL.
You just bought a new pair of tennis shoes (sneakers as we call them in my neck of the woods). The next time you see a rash of running shoe ads, you can simply turn them down or turn them off.
For a brand-specific example, let's say you're shopping for a new car and narrowed down your choices to Chevrolet or Nissan. You can opt-out of ads for all other car manufacturers.
On the flip side, My Ad Center gives you a choice to see more ads on certain topics and specific brands. This means if you are in the market for a new living room sectional, you can turn up the “volume” on such ads to increase your chances of finding a big sale.
How This Will Affect School Marketing
Like every update to Google or Facebook that comes down the pike every few months, My Ad Center will affect how schools market for a few different reasons.
Let's start with our typical target demographic: people with the mean$ to $end their children to a private $chool. #NotSo$ubtleHints
According to Pew Research Center, people with money have more to lose and use more protective measures to safeguard their online information. Therefore, they are ripe to use My Ad Center to clear away anything that deepens their digital footprint, including ads for schools.
On the other hand, searching for a tuition-based school is a huge deal and an arduous process. Parents want all the information they can get to make the best decision possible. These parents may opt to increase the volume of private school ads they see.
Well...remember the parent magazine with the private school issue that had cover to cover ads? Did any of them really stand out?
What Truth Tree Recommends
The latest intel is that Google's My Ad Center will launch in 4-6 months, so you have time to game plan. In the meantime, we recommend the following moves.
Rejuvenate school-specific content. Our Long Funnel Strategy recommends schools create content that can help parents beyond the scope of academics. For example, How to Prepare to Give Your Child “The Talk” or 3 Easy Steps to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes. But one of the sensitive ad categories is Parents and Pregnancy, so you may want to check first before spending hours curating a content piece that may get fewer eyes on it than you might have hoped.
Focus on and create A LOT of keywords and phrases. At Truth Tree, we tend to lean heavily on keywords as our targeting method. This practice takes a lot of research, observation, and expertise to "win the click." Focusing mainly on keywords means you can rely less on who they are and more on the fact that if they search for, "private Catholic School in [zip code] 19064," there's no mistaking their intentions.
Make your ads stand out even more. If Google floods more ads to people searching for schools, you need to get different; you want the kids saying, that ad is fire! (#MyDaughterIsRollingHerEyes)
As a part of our practice at Truth Tree, we review school ads in every new market. This exercise helps us create ads that stand out from the mundane copy we see all too often. This is even more important with the potential for an overly saturated interweb experience by an eager parent who wants more information searching for her son's next school.
As digital marketing accelerates faster every month, it's crucial to stay on top of the changes so you can consistently advertise to families in the market for a school like yours. If you feel like the acceleration is too much to handle or just want the pros doing it for you, consider working with Truth Tree and our multi-award-winning team of school marketing experts.