Google Ads for Educational Institutes - Marketing Tips and strategies.

2019 March 06

In this article today, we will discuss the creation and execution of successful Google Ads campaigns for Universities, Colleges, and other Educational Institutes. From bringing new aspirants to join your institution to promoting courses you offer, everything needs to be marketed for the world to know. And Google Ads not only helps get your word out, but it also lets you target the right audiences.

Why is Google Ads a good investment for Educational Institutes?

Google Ads campaigns for educational institutes is a very delicate niche. Google Ads act as the first touch point between an institute and students who are trying to make a decision. Though it highly unlikely to convert online, yet the very first impression leaves a long-lasting impact. Therefore,  running a quality campaign is a must.

You might or might not be able to see the results soon enough in terms of Google Ads leads, but it surely is a shortcut if your website isn't ranking good organically.

Without any further delay, let’s begin with the basics and the best industry practices in Google Ads for Educational Institutes.

If you are someone in the Educational Institute business and you haven’t yet set up a Google Ads campaign for your service region, you are practically missing out on a lot of potential customers.

Right PPC Keywords for Schools

Choosing the right keywords for any Google Ads campaign can be an intimidating task. The key here is to bid for the right keywords and keep evolving over time with the new keywords relevant to your courses.

It will help you get the most out of your campaign. There are 4 major practices for Institutes to keep in mind:

  • It is recommended to use Keywords which are most relevant to your course offerings (very specific to your niche). For example, if you are an Institute offering Diploma Programs in Marketing in Oakland, your parent keywords could include keywords like: 

    • Marketing course

    • Marketing Oakland

    • Marketing Diploma

    • Marketing Degree

    • Marketing school

    • Marketing education

    • Marketing Institute

    • Study Marketing

    • PG in Marketing

    • 1-year diploma marketing

Note: Avoid using one-word keywords which are highly searched for, as these search terms aren’t very informative about the kind of courses you are offering or your prospect.

For example, if you use Marketing as a keyword for Marketing course, your ads may trigger for search terms like, Marketing qualificationMarketing servicesMarketing jobs, etc. which are not even close to what you want to target for. Therefore choosing the keywords carefully is very important.

  • Though you must be tempted by the high search volume of common keywords, do not underestimate the power of long tail keywords. Irrespective of the fact that they have small search volume and are too tedious to work with when creating a campaign, they offer higher conversions at a lower cost as compared to common keywords. They are like low hanging fruits which can offer an easy win with a low cost and the least competition. For example, if you are a Marketing Institute  in Oakland, considering the above cases, long tail search terms for your services can be as follows:

    • Marketing Diploma in Oakland

    • Marketing course in California

    • Study marketing in California

    • 1 Year marketing Diploma in Oakland

    • Get an advance marketing Degree in California

    • 1 Year PG Diploma in Marketing

      Above are a few examples of long tail keywords. As I mentioned, it can be tiresome to work with long tail keywords as it takes a long time to research and accumulate such data for your campaign. However, AdNabu can help you automatically create all the relevant long tails keywords for education institutes using your basic keywords within minutes.

  • Another thing to keep in mind is the match type of targeted keywords.

  • Statistics show us that exact match type gives maximum conversion at minimum cost, but it has the least coverage of all. Similarly, each and every match type has its own benefits and shortcomings. Using all the match types while structuring your campaign is considered a wise choice.

AdNabu takes care of this from the very beginning itself. It creates the structure of the campaign such that each keyword type has 3 different AdGroup (one for each match type) ensuring that you target the right keyword for the right search term.

An advantage of using “Broad Match Modifier” over “Broad match”

Broad match modifier (a.k.a BMM) is a variation of Broad match. Broad match triggers ads for all searches around the keyword, keyword idea, synonyms, grammatical forms as well as related words, etc. BMM gives you much more control over the search terms for which your ads will be a trigger. It excludes synonyms but allows variations. For Example, If you target ‘Broad’ match-type for keyword Marketing Institute, it might trigger for a search term like Marketing which may or may not be relevant for you. Instead, BMM will ensure that the word Marketing and Institute’ are present in the search. AdNabu automatically creates campaigns which use BMM instead of Broad match.

  • One of the mistakes that marketers often commit is using location-specific keywords exclusively. They might end up losing a lot of relevant searches.
    For example, if you are a Marketing Institute based out of Oakland and targeting for keyword Marketing Diploma Oakland, you will miss out on potential students searching for term Marketing diplomabest diploma for marketing, etc. It is hence highly recommended to use the root keywords like Marketing Diploma in your campaigns. You can add location-specific keywords to your campaign but they should not be the only ones.

Best Negative Keywords for Educational Institutes

The importance of negative keywords cannot be ignored, especially when each click costs a fortune. Though accumulating Negative Keyword is an ongoing process, but to begin with, below are a  few points to consider.  

  • Avoid including educational courses/streams that you don’t offer in your institute. For example, if you have a management course, you would want to put all other courses like Engineering, MS, etc in negative. 

  • Remove all the sub-categories which you do not offer. For example, if under management course, you offer marketing course only, then put Finance, HR, etc in negative.

  • Consider removing the modes of education that you don’t offer. For example,   You have your Institute in Oakland and no online course, then you should put the online course in negative.

  • Negate all the keywords which are not giving you conversions or have a high cost per conversion to be profitable. You have to keep an eye on such keywords during reporting and assessment or you can use AdNabu which automatically recommends you to pause such ineffective keywords

Include all high profitable keyword variants in your Google Ads campaigns in simple clicks. Make your Google Ads campaigns profitable with AdNabu - Google Ads Optimization Software.

What is a good landing page for you?

A landing page should include various elements like trust badges, result-oriented headlines, explainer videos, testimonials, etc. Such landing web pages are aimed at driving visitors to take a worthy action.  Since every visitor who gets to your landing page after clicking on your ad may cost you a fortune, there’s no room for an error when designing a landing page for your business. Below are some Do’s and Don't to follow:


  • Use headlines with words of authority like Award-winning or Certified to inspire trust in the potential student.

  • In your headline, add the location you are situated at. It will immediately add to the confidence of the prospect that they are at the right place.

  • A headline focused on students and the basic course details rather than the school is more likely to achieve better conversion.

  • For schools, an inquiry form with a call button on the top is 2 things that can really make a difference as it makes it easier for the students to reach the school and vice versa.

  • Use words like Free counseling or e-tour of School to allure students to consider your institute.

  • Have very limited field to fill on the form (not more than five). This makes it easier for the students to reach you.

  • Have your call-to-action button at the bottom of the form. It should be tailored to match the offer and with a pop-out color to grab attention(for example, see the image below):


  • For content, have 2-3 bullet points. Showcase your awards, achievements or for how long the establishment has existed, student placements and testimonials, etc.

  • Add an informative video educating the students about what are they entitled to and what are the best steps to follow.


  • Avoid using logos that are clickable with a  link to return to the home page easily.

  • Do not design Disappearing label for the field name (for example, see the image below) instead simply name the fields


  • Do not have content heavy landing pages. It is very unlikely that students will read through the entire thing.

  • Avoid multiple outbound links or multiple CTA on the same page as it can distract the students.

Structuring Google Ads for Educational Institutes

Google Ads Ad copy is extremely important because it is the initial touch point where the content of the ad compels the student to click on your ad instead of other institute’s ads. Below are the few pointers you must keep in mind:

  • Your ad contains 4 sections. Firstly, the Headline 1 (character limit 30),  you should make sure that your headline is tailored as per the student's search. Ideally, the ad title should include exactly what they were searching for. For example, 1-year Marketing Diploma or Best Marketing Institute or Marketing Degree in Oakland, etc.

  • The next part of the ad is Headline 2 (character limit 30). It is separated from headline 1 by a hyphen(-). The best way to utilize this section is by encouraging the prospect to click on the Ad. A clear call to action should be included here. For example,  Get Free counselingLearn marketing quicklyTop marketing school, etc.

  • Following the two headlines is the Display URL. Here you have an option to customize it with 2 Path fields - Path1 and Path2(Up to 15 characters each). Make sure the display URL is relatable to the types of courses the prospect is seeking for. For example,, etc. Please note the display URL need not be a valid URL. It is only for aesthetic purposes.

  • The next major field is Description(Character limit 80). It gives you ample space for your ad’s message. Here, clearly define the value proposition and specialty of your institution that distinguishes you from the other competitors in the market. For example, Forget standard courses, get a custom tailored marketing degree. Certificate programs also available or The one stop solution to learn marketing- Degree, diploma or certification.

  • Finally, the Final URL is the first page the prospect reaches after clicking on the Ad. Instead of using the home page as a final URL, ensure that the prospect lands on the specific section of your website that relates to his initial search or course they are interested in. 

  • An effective sample ad:


Google ad extensions add life to your ads and make them more professional and trustworthy. When used the right way, they can make you easily approachable and hence lead to better visibility for your potential students. Ad extensions work differently for different Industries. Some deliver a better result than others. For schools, best working extensions are Listed below :

Location extension

Location extension enables schools to add a physical location besides their ads. This helps you in numerous ways:

  • Having a physical address adds to the authenticity of your organization and reassures the students against fraudulent advertisements.

  • Encourages students who live close to your location to contact you immediately or visit your campus.

  • Also making it easier for people to navigate their way easily to the school for a campus visit.

  • For example


  • P.S.: If you are offering a 100% online course, then you need not use this extension.

The Sitelink extension enables schools to add extra links to share achievements or additional courses or other links that might catch the student’s attention. For example, In case you are targeting for a generic keyword for your Ad, this extension might help you add options for students to have a look at the campus pictures or faculty details or book appointment with a single click.

  • This makes it easy for the students to relate their interest/ requirement and it is highly likely for them to click on your ad.

  • Adding to the relevance of the ad copy itself, it redirects the student directly to the most relevant page that encourages them to take a step further.

  • For example:


Callout extension

Callout extension gives institutes an additional 25 characters of space to add beyond the basic description of the add. It is recommended to use this space to encourage the students to take action.

  • Some examples for Educational institutes are Free counseling or Best Professors in CA or 100 acres of campus or Established in 1920, etc.


Call extension:

Call extension allows schools to add a contact number in their ads. It works much effectively for mobile devices as Google adds a clickable call button to the ad. This allows the student to call you right away. For Educational Institutes, it is considered to be very effective because usually students have personalized problems/ questions which encourage them to call. For example:


Structured snippet extension

Structured snippets allow advertisers to describe the brief and specific features of the course offerings. It provides students with direct access to information about the nature and variety of courses offered. In case of institutes, structured snippets can show potential students about types of courses offered. For example,


Conversion Tracking for Institutes

Now that your campaign is ready to work, and its way with the competitors, conversion tracking is very important and is the last thing to set up as it will help you analyze your performance and optimize later. Depending on the business type, different conversion types are tracked. For a school, it mainly works in two ways:

Conversion Pixel for Schools

It helps track which keywords resulted in leads. This can further help in optimizing your campaigns. Setting up conversion pixel required some amount of technical effort (You would need the person handling your lead page). Having said that, benefits of results from it overpowers the hassle. Here is a guide to help you setup conversion pixel.

Call conversion Tracking for schools

This will help if you are allowing students to make a call directly through their phones. Calls are extremely beneficial for an Educational Institutes and luckily Google makes tracking calls even from a website easy. Check out how to set up call conversion tracking here.   

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If you follow the above suggestions, you would be able to create a well-structured campaign for your industry. This guide will help you get started. In case you haven’t tried your hands on AdWords for your business, we suggest you to consider setting up a campaign right now!  

If you are still not sure about how to start or to take your AdWords campaign to next level, sign up with AdNabu & automate campaign creation and optimize within minutes.

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