Don’t Let the Masters Tournament Take Over Your PPC Campaigns this Weekend!


By: Christopher Tashjian Apr 04, 2018

Are you using Google AdWords or Bing to market your master’s degrees in business or leadership? If so, read on from here. This is really low-hanging fruit to improve your PPC campaigns! We often get asked to audit higher education institutions’ paid search accounts, and one of the more fun items to check off the list is how many impressions they are getting from “non-educational” search. By that I mean pop culture, current events, historical people, and of course sports focused searches. At that point we will analyze the value of those searches on the campaign, and present a plan to either build around them or negative match them from ever showing. Most often we will negative or exclude them from triggering our university partner’s ads. More on negative keywords here from Google. Most of the time the sports focused keywords we want to exclude are for the university’s own athletic programs; those have little outcome on generating prospects interested in continuing their education. Then occasionally we run into some specific (and very unique) circumstances where we start matching to searches outside of the school own athletics. As you may have guessed from the title of this post, we are talking about the PGA’s Annual Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, GA. This golf tournament is held every spring and is hugely popular. In 2017, about 15 million viewers tuned in on television alone* (not accounting for streaming or web views).

Do you offer an MS in Organizational Leadership or an MA in Education Leadership? Here is what is at stake and how you can hedge your risk.
masters leadership search data

Below is some 2017 data from a large private university that offers an online Master’s in Leadership. Over the 4 day golf tournament, they served 2989 ads, and had 166 clicks costing them $1,614.86! (And this is just AdWords data, Bing searches increased that number too.) As you could also have guessed, not a single conversion was generated. By all other accounts, this client’s paid search campaigns were super healthy, generating consistent lead flow and ultimately revenue for the university. If you’d like to learn more about how EducationDynamics manages our schools’ marketing campaigns, download the recent webinar: Managing Your Digital Marketing Portfolio for Enrollment Growth. So what can you do right away to save yourself a few thousand dollars this weekend? Simply add the search terms above as exact matches to your negative keyword list. You do not necessarily need to use all of them, a few well thought out phrases should cover you well enough. I’d strongly suggest adding “board”, “leaderboard”, and [masters leader] at least temporarily, but feel free to add more. Just make sure that you don’t accidentally begin excluding searches that you do want to target. The PGA Tournament starts tomorrow, April 5th so don’t hesitate if you are going to be affected!

Did you update your negative keyword list and now wondering what’s next? Download the Essential of PPC Marketing in Higher Ed now!
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*Figures taken from: WalletHub: