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Top 5 Digital Marketing Platforms for Education: What’s Available & How to Navigate the Waters





It’s likely that if you made it to this article, your institution is in one of two positions:

  1. You are thinking about investing in digital marketing.
  2. You are already dipping your toe in digital marketing, but aren’t sure if you are ready to dive in.

Regardless of where your school is now in terms of digital ads, setting up your school with an effective online marketing plan isn’t difficult as you may think.

One of the hardest aspects for most education marketers and program managers to learn when it comes to digital marketing is what platforms and tools are useful. Sure, everyone knows that Google ads and Facebook ads are available, but are they right for your school? In what cases should you be using them?

Below, you will find answers to these questions and more. Find insights about when and why to use different major digital platforms like:

  1. Search Networks
  2. Display Networks
  3. Facebook & Instagram
  4. LinkedIn
  5. YouTube

Search Advertising

Search advertising allows your brand to display in the search results, when a potential student is “Googling” or “Binging” using keywords that are relevant to your programs. You can craft the ads to include relevant information, a phone number, your location and more. Using location, demographic, time of day and day of week targeting, you can hone in on your target audience.

Search ads are perfect for finding students who are actively researching for programs and to catch them in the moment right as they are ready to start applying. If you are promoting a Finance BA, you could target searches as specific as “finance programs near me” or “finance degrees in Toronto”.

Display Advertising

Display advertising uses “placements” on different “networks” to show image ads on a variety of sites across the web. The most popular of these is the Google Display Network, which allows you to show differently sized banner ads on YouTube, in Gmail, and on thousands of websites and mobile apps.

Display ads are perfect for reaching a large number of potential students for a low cost. Using static, dynamic and responsive imagery you can creating breathtaking ads that expose your brand to new users or re-engage past website visitors.

Facebook & Instagram Advertising

Facebook and Instagram advertising gives you the opportunity to reach potential students where they like to spend their time online – on social media. You can use a mix of static images, carousels, videos, direct messages and more to connect with your target audience.

Within your targeting you can ensure that your dollar is well spent by filtering out people who have already obtained secondary education, people who are still in high school, and through other factors that may exclude them from your market. When designing these types of social campaigns, you can choose to focus one two main types of targets.

  1. Branding – Using broader audiences based on user interests you can reach the type of person who would be interested in your program.
  2. Conversion – Using tighter audiences based on job titles, website visitors and competitor targets you can reach the type of person who is ready to apply or enroll in your program.


When most people hear LinkedIn, they think two things: “networking” and “job-hunting”. What education marketers need to know, is that there is a third use that is just as prevalent: “professional development”. If you are a program manager for professional, career advancement style courses, then marketing on LinkedIn is a huge opportunity.

Using LinkedIn, you can target specific jobs titles, years of experience, specific companies and more. This is perfect for reaching people who are new to their career who may want to hone in their skills or managers who may be looking for leadership coursework. As well, if you run programs that typically acquire “career switchers” there is huge opportunity to capture an engaged audience. With LinkedIn ads, you can choose to reach a broad audience with text ads, a niche audience with sponsored content or to directly message a qualified group of people.


YouTube dominates the worlds online video streaming by connecting millions of people to content they enjoy everyday. As a school that is looking to increase your awareness to a broad audience with engaging content, YouTube is one of the best ways to deliver your message.



With the recent release of BrandLift, YouTube shifted the way that we are able to use video advertising. Using control and variable groups, the platform tests actual lift in brand awareness from people who see your ad versus those who don’t.


Different Platforms, Your Targets

There is a wide variety of digital platforms that are at your institutions disposal, some that drive enrollment and some that drive awareness. The bottom-line is that for your school to succeed, you need to align your ad presence with the goals you are looking to achieve.

Looking for more information? Let’s talk!