The Data-Driven Digital Marketing Trends in Education Webinar: Your Questions Answered

In June, Sean McCloud, MDR Digital Products Manager, hosted a webinar to review the enlightening results from our 2020 Data-Driven Digital Marketing Trends in Education report. The report is a comprehensive study of the online habits of educators and is compiled from thousands of digital marketing campaigns we deploy for, and with, our clients on email, Facebook advertising and web advertising. We also included a bonus section on educators’ digital behavior during the pandemic.

While digital channels have always been a smart choice for education marketing to educators, they are especially well suited for outreach during the pandemic as educators turn to digital channels to accomplish 2020-2021 school year planning, source remote learning resources and materials, and brush up on technical skills.

After the webinar, attendees dug deeper with Sean in a Q&A session; we present some highlights on these topics:

  • PERSONALIZATION
  • ROLES & LINES OF BUSINESS
  • ADVERTISING, SOCIAL & DISPLAY
  • COVID-19 IMPACT

Personalization

Q. Can you talk more about dynamic content such as account name, location, etc.?  Is there data based on other variables or a metric that shows open rates with personalization vs. without?

Q. Are there stats on open rate average when using account name personalization or location personalization (EX: state) in the Subject Line?

A. We do not have clear performance metrics on personalized vs non-personalized email campaigns for 2020. However, we did identify personalization as a trend to watch and explore in the 2018 Digital Trends report: “An analysis of subject line personalization reflects the improvement in performance between an initial, non-personalized send, and the personalized re-send. Personalization, indeed, double personalization in the To and From fields, is an emerging best practice that will undoubtedly be used more frequently as email sponsors become aware of its effectiveness and technology makes it easier to do.”

Roles and Line of Business

Q. Many questions related to role and line of business? What is the reason why data is mostly focused on elementary titles and does not include non-academic titles, like technology?

A. For the 2020 Report, we focused on the top 20 job roles deployed in 2019. The emphasis on elementary school job roles reflects our clients’ targeting by academic level and subject matter.

Some other takeaways from the role and line of business results:

  • We recommend benchmarking campaign performance against industry peers vs. overall averages to set appropriate expectations.
  • Campaign response varies by job title. Use the information in the report to focus on the most likely audiences for your offering.
  • Guidance Counselors are a responsive audience across most lines of business.

Advertising, Social and Display

Q. Can you talk more about the recommendation to serve more impressions to fewer people?  You mention that it gives more opportunity?  Can you expand on this?

A. Serving more impressions to a highly focused audience creates more opportunity to reach the highly targeted individuals, by being a more consistent presence in their news feed. General audiences can frequently be larger than the impression goal targeting them, and ads may only be seen once or twice by a distinct audience before moving on.

Bottom line: the smaller the target audience, the more frequently the ad will be presented to them within your impression quota vs. fewer impressions to a larger, less targeted audience.

Q. What is the biggest difference between social and display ads?  How do they compare/differ?

A. Social ads, as MDR defines them, are focused on the Facebook and Instagram advertising platform. Display ads, also known as Web ads, are served across thousands of websites and mobile apps and so reach a wider audience beyond Facebook and Instagram.

The typically distinction between the two is cost and engagement. Ads on Facebook will typically cost more but will carry a higher engagement rate than traditional display advertising.

Q. Why are Facebook ads better for brand awareness and audience building?

A. Facebook ads carry an engagement capability that traditional display ads do not. They allow for the advertiser to respond directly to their audience if they comment and provide an opportunity to like/follow the brand page ensuring ongoing impressions and potential engagement.

Facebook ads also offer the phenomenon of people tagging their friends, providing a soft endorsement of your ad, unlike any other platform.

Q. Why focus on Facebook?  Do you see teachers on Facebook more than Pinterest or Instagram?

A. Educators, and most online social media users, are on Facebook multiple times daily, whereas they are on Pinterest about once per week. Also, the Facebook user base is much larger than both Instagram and Pinterest allowing for the highest potential reach of the three.

COVID Impact

Q. Have you seen the "usual" ideal days and times change much in the last few months since the COVID-19 pandemic has caused so many teachers to be working remotely?

A. The pandemic has upended the usual patterns of educator’s lives and our assumptions about the best time to reach educators may need to be reevaluated. While we do not have any clear data to share to support such a shift, there are some things we do know:

Educators are bearing the extra load of working from home, overseeing their own children’s educations, adapting to remote learning, and reimagining how teaching will be conducted in the fall. Summer is traditionally a time for educators to research and prepare for back to school. We expect that activity to shift into overdrive this year due to the need to reinvent teaching during the pandemic.

At the same time, our educator sentiment survey of teachers and administrators from April made it clear that educators are looking for help from providers for problem solving, new materials, and more:

As they tackle these challenges, it is likely educators will spend more time online and may be more receptive to offers that target their areas of need. A limited-time sampling of digital channel marketing performance over the first three months of 2020 shows an uptick in educator engagement on digital channels. As educators problem-solve the unique challenges of remote learning, they are reaching out to peers and trusted sites for ideas, materials and resources.

The webinar recording is available, here.

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