How to Get Creative With Awareness Marketing in Higher Ed

By: Lora Polich Jul 21, 2021

How to Get Creative With Awareness Marketing in Higher Ed

Over-the-top and streaming marketing channels are a powerful way to reach potential students. About 72% of U.S. households were reachable through these channels by the end of 2020. But making your OTT or streaming ad stand out isn’t easy. Getting someone to take action after experiencing your ad is even more difficult, even if they’re interested in what you have to offer. Typing a URL into their search bar might take more effort than they’re willing to give during the ad break in their favorite show. They’re certainly not going to fill out a form.

That’s why higher ed marketers are getting creative to maximize engagement on OTT and streaming platforms. The best part is, you don’t need new creative assets. You just need the right invitation to engage.

Creative Strategies to Boost Engagement

If you’re already familiar with OTT and streaming platforms, you know they allow you to target ads based on interests and behaviors rather than broad demographics. That means you get the right message in front of the right person. The next challenge is getting that person to stop scrolling their phone while watching Hulu and engage with your ad. Creative strategies can help.

connected tv, advanced video

On video platforms like Hulu, interactive overlays provide easy entry points for potential students to engage with your message. These could include:

  • QR codes – Viewers point their phones at the screen to access a URL. These simple graphics have seen a resurgence during the pandemic because they enable users to interact without touching the screen. You can use them for OTT ads that viewers might watch on a television screen or other device where clicking is not an option.
  • Surveys – People love sharing their opinion. Asking viewers to share their thoughts can entice them to engage with your message.
  • Quizzes – Whether you help students discover their leadership style or learn what job they’re most suited for, quizzes can invite engagement. At the same time, you’ll gather information that can help you make the right offer.

For audio formats like Pandora and Spotify, you can include a texting call to action. You’ve probably heard these before. They usually ask the listener to text a word or phrase. In response, the listener gets access to information or discounts. Such invitations are known as hand-raisers because they invite the student to show interest without too much effort. This lowers the bar to entry for someone who might not have the time or inclination to fill out a contact form but still wants to hear more. Now that they’ve shown interest, you can follow up with your standard nurturing campaign or invitation to schedule a call.


Benefits of Creative Awareness Marketing Strategies

You can easily add interactive overlays to your existing ad creative. They require minimal additional investment in return for valuable benefits. First, they help you gauge the success of different messages or campaigns. You can use a unique QR code for each ad to track which one gets the most engagement. A custom link on surveys and quizzes can show you which is most likely to interest potential students.

Second, interactive overlays increase engagement. During a recent campaign, we tested a generic “click to expand” overlay. This simple CTA increased engagement by 0.37 over ads without overlays. With retargeting, we pushed that number up to 0.84. Next, we tested a “take this quiz” overlay. It achieved a 1.8 percent increase in engagement that reached 2.6 after retargeting. On average, adding an interactive overlay can increase engagement by 1.5 to 3.5 percent.

Testing is essential. Take the example of the marketing messages played on tablets in some Lyft and Uber cars. During the pandemic, an ad on these tablets promised New Yorkers a free lottery ticket. It offered three ways to engage: scan the QR code, enter a phone number, or share your email. Which one do you think was used most often? The QR code would make sense because it would allow people to enter without touching the tablet. But, in reality, more people typed in their phone numbers to get a text. That’s a result few marketers would have predicted. It’s why testing is so important to successful marketing campaigns.

Get Started with Creative Marketing on OTT and Streaming

Applying these creative ad strategies can help you use OTT and Streaming ads to their fullest potential. Because overlays can be layered onto existing creative, they’re an addition to your existing strategy, not a disruption. They don’t have to replace your existing lead gen forms. Instead, they create another way for students to engage.

Interested in creating an awareness marketing campaign? Get started today with EducationDynamics and learn more about how our experts can help you develop best practices and strategies.