The Future of Higher Education Advertising Mirrors the Future of Higher Ed

Topics: Digital Media, Higher Ed Marketing

Posted by: Marketing

A group of distinguished instructors recently reviewed current trends to predict what higher education might look like by 2025. Not only does their analysis suggest the ways that institutions may need to change to meet the needs of students and faculty, it also indicates the future direction of higher education advertising. Use these findings to plan your long-term marketing strategy.



Higher ed programs will change in several important ways over the next few years.

Prospective college students are increasingly interested in convenience, personalization, and tangible results. They want an education that enables them to find a job in their field immediately upon graduation, which means they must learn practical skills while in school. 

Both young, first-time enrollees and older adult learners seek career mobility. And young adults in particular crave an education that is engaging and immersive, yet purposeful. 


+ See three important reasons to target adult learners.


Emerging technology will be one key to supporting these priorities. Digital tools and media will rise to ever greater prominence as online and traditional face-to-face learning merge. Automation will allow professors to provide more efficient grading and better feedback. A multidisciplinary approach to instruction will permit increased personalization, as will allowing students to master skills at their own pace.


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Courses will increasingly emphasize practical skills and job training, while programs will be redesigned to correlate with employer needs. And for the many young adults deeply concerned with societal change, more classes that prepare learners to address complex structural issues will be offered.


Higher education advertising has the capability to address these changing trends.

Recruiting college students has increasingly meant hitting a moving target. Society is changing rapidly, and young adults are at the forefront of that transformation. Thankfully, marketing tools and strategies exist that will meet higher education advertising needs over the coming years.



You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” 



Emphasize the programs and features that meet modern learners’ needs.

As part of your student recruitment marketing strategy, explain work/learning integrations, share short student success stories, and detail positive outcomes and program ROI. Highlight phrases like personalized degree program, hands-on experience, professional certification, flexible scheduling, night/weekend classes, online classes and accelerated pace.


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Create integrated higher education advertising campaigns.

An integrated marketing strategy for college recruitment incorporates traditional campus advertising, digital marketing tactics, and public relations. By combining tactics from these three marketing arenas, you can extend your reach while each part of your marketing campaign amplifies the efforts of the others. 

This type of holistic plan blends appropriate combinations of traditional out of home and print advertising, display, video, search, social, earned media, influencer marketing and promotional events to produce the outcomes you're looking for. To maximize effectiveness and keep costs in line, you will want to include the right mix of paid, earned, owned, and shared media. And in this increasingly virtual era, digital marketing tactics are especially important.






Personalize your higher education advertising.

Between GPS-based location data and the user information provided by many apps, digital marketing offers wide scope for personalized campus advertising campaigns. Customized marketing efforts are well known to be highly effective in increasing engagement when set up properly. 


Maintain a presence on the right social media platforms.

The right platform for your higher education advertising campaign depends on your target audience. While younger generations are increasingly moving to emerging channels like Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch, Facebook is still the most-used social media channel among Millenials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. LinkedIn ads and sponsored InMails are other ways to target working adults.


MSSmedia Social Media Behavior




Make video advertising part of your marketing strategy.

With compelling video creation and proper placement, you can convey your marketing message to your target audience more effectively than ever before. A properly designed video marketing strategy is especially important for those who hope to reach members of Generation Z. These young perspective students stream an average of 23 hours of video each week. 

In addition to paying for video advertisements, you can utilize your website, YouTube channel, and social media pages to share video content with relevant audiences. Apply this digital marketing tactic to campus tours, speaking events, open houses/info sessions and portrayals of campus life.


+ Develop an effective video marketing strategy for college recruitment.


Take advantage of mobile phone technology.

Geofencing allows messages to be broadcast to all mobile users in a specified geographical area (or geofence). Geotargeted campus advertising campaigns single out specific audiences in defined locations with campaign messaging. Advertisements can be sent to mobile phone users through text messages (both SMS and MMS) and push notifications.


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+ Create a successful mobile-first student recruitment campaign. 


Implement a chatbot on your website. 

Chatbots use messenger apps to carry on conversations with customers. They can cut down on lengthy hold times, provide quick and accurate replies to queries, and engage customers through targeted marketing campaigns, all while saving companies the expense of hiring additional staff.

For colleges and programs associated with higher education, chatbots can quickly and easily provide prospective applicants with a vast array of information as well as make suggestions regarding services and events that may interest them. They’re a truly useful and modern addition to the college recruitment experience.


See our complete guide: Recruiting Students – A Marketing Plan to Increase College Enrollment.




Here at MSS Media, Inc., we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSS Media, Inc. a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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