Geofencing – College Students

How to Target College Students on Campus

As students thoughts turn to the new academic year, Higher Education Marketers naturally look for ways they can target college students and entice them to consider their campus for their courses. With smartphone usage becoming almost synonymous with students at nearly all levels of education, geofencing to target specific demographics such as student populations or specific student personas is a tactic that should be considered, especially by those with limited budgets.

The Numbers Stack Up

Considering that many college student’s lives revolve around their smartphones with over 6 out of 10 students claiming to regularly use apps for games (73%), music (67%), entertainment (64%) and social networking (64%), it is easy to see that college students are spending more of their time on mobile devices than ever before, and this is at the expense of computer access, TV’s, e-readers and handheld gaming devices.

Kristin Kollbaum director of marketing and communications at Northwest Iowa Community College saw these figures and decided to give geofencing a try to fill the newly created Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes at the nearby Sioux Centre Hospital (SCH).

She began by setting up a geofence which targeted people within a 60-mile radius of SCH, ensuring that when people within this boundary went online they would be presented with ads about the CNA course and job placement.

With a small budget of just $1,200, Kollbaum achieved a 0.73% click through rate which resulted in 35 people attending an informal meeting about the course and two classes being run that year. A phenomenal effort for a small campaign and budget that was run in an area of low unemployment which typically made filling these positions a difficult task.

How to Leverage Mobile Targeting Capabilities to Reach Student Audiences

Geofencing is most definitely a game changer for Higher Education Marketers. By drawing virtual boundaries around physical areas and combining this technology with the layering of specific lists of websites relevant to apps which your target demographic are likely to use, marketers are able to build custom audience profiles and provide specific, targeted messages that are much more likely to be acted upon than more traditional forms of advertising and communication.

Serving ads or messages to students while they are at a specific location keeps your institution’s offerings well within reach and at the forefront of their mind when it comes to course applications. Just as we outlined in a previous post, secondary action – meaning people who take some sort of action after seeing an ad are more than twice as likely with geofencing, and students are no different.

Pinpoint the Students You Want

As colleges grow and almost resemble small cities with sports stadiums, shopping malls, and restaurants, it also becomes easier to target students with specific interests. The ability to geofence all or just part of a college campus such as the sports stadium or restaurant frequented by a particular set and couple that information with a list of websites, along with times that people are using that facility and a number of other variables, allows marketers to become very specific about who will be presented with their offer. It also allows you to reach out to your specific student personas with a ‘personal touch’ and gives you the ability to tap into what that individual may already be considering in terms of further education and present your institution as an option that should be considered.

By providing your college’s options to relevant students at the right time you’re increasing the prospective student’s trust in your organization and developing trust in your institution is certainly one of the first steps towards recruiting graduates. Furthermore, as Generation Z and Millennials have grown up as digital natives, many now have come to expect, even welcome, personalized and targeted campaigns, seeing these as an expression of a college’s willingness to put their individual needs and motivations as a priority.

With well over 86% of all students owning a smartphone and almost half owning a tablet, and these figures rising year on year, geofencing and specific, targeted campaigns that make the most of your student personas and dollars are certainly worth thinking about.

Copley Advertising has a team of geofencing experts who are able to help you create an effective campaign that targets the student personas identified by your institution. They can do all of the technical work for you and make the magic happen.  Have questions? info@copleyadvertising.com

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