Marketing for private Schools: Podcast Advertising

#AudioInsights       #Audio ads       #Marketing Strategy

Suzi Kuban

Suzi Kuban

marketing for schools

A look at how podcast ads are helping private schools improve their marketing and enrollment numbers. Plus practical tips to implement.


There needs to be a creative injection in marketing for private schools and education institutes. The generic copy and paste method is limiting enrollment potential. But now podcast and digital audio listenership is at an all time high, the opportunity to innovate is here!

Digital audio is more than just a way to advertise your school. Its creative, persuasive and trusted. We have seen how schools that embrace this channel in their marketing mix grab attention and boost enrollments.


The current school marketing tactics

All private education institutes, be it kindergartens or universities, are facing the same problem. A competitive market and a cluttered environment. The UAE is a great example of a place flooded with institutes .

Because picking a school is a high cost, high stakes investment there is pressure on school marketing to be distinctive and persuasive. Unfortunately, we are at a point where each school sounds the same. Tag lines and images could come from any school. Despite your best efforts to be distinctive – its all very “copy and paste”!

Successful school marketing strategies require a message that is both informative and inspiring, and most importantly, noticed!

If your ad strategy is a “spray-and-pray” approach (formats like OOO and radio) you’re not getting precise targeting or clear ROI. On the other hand if you’re putting all your eggs in the “search and social” basket, then your ad can be easily ignored or distrusted.

Education’s best hope hinges on personalising ads, precise targeting, and an environment that is engaging and trust worthy. This is where audio ads play a pivotal role.


Podcast’s boost to school marketing  efforts

The digital audio opportunity to connect with students (Gen Z) and parents (Millennials) is huge. That’s because they are the biggest users of podcasts, music streaming, online radio and mobile gaming. In fact they consume so much, they are dubbed the “audio generation”.

The average podcast listener is a millennial who is well-educated and has a high-paying job. Use among Gen Z is rampant too. Our 2022 survey in Saudi Arabia revealed 39% of Gen Zs regularly consume digital audio. Edison Research says Gen Zs spend more than a third (35%) of their audio time listening to streaming audio. And Audacy states 98% of Gen Z listen to Audio daily!

But it is not just about who is listening and how many.

More importantly (particularly for ROAS and campaign results) is quality. There are endless reports and studies that continually showcase the power of audio to engage, connect, and convert.

And the reason why data is so good? Well, when you consider how we consume digital audio, its easy to understand why.

Listeners are selecting shows based on passions and interest. This increases focused engagement which enhances recall of ads. Here’s a small sample of audio advertising effectiveness data out there:

  • A Nielsen study states 62% of those surveyed successfully recalled brand advertisements from a podcast.
  • Edison Research, Super Listeners 2021 survey, found 69% of respondents said podcast advertising increases their awareness of brands.
  • The U.S. Purchase Influencers 2019 Report found the majority of Millennials surveyed state they have made a purchase in the past 6 months as a result of podcast advertising compared to video and search.

Digital audio is booming particularly among key education target audiences. Its incredible amplifying effect is a result of less ad clutter, low ad-skipping, and high audience engagement.

Building trust and reputation with audio ads

Besides being popular and drawing high attention levels, another big reason audio marketing works in marketing for schools, is trust. People trust what they hear. This is strikingly true when compared to other media formats.

Research by Mindshare found trust for an advertised brand went down after the exposure to a video ad on social media but up when the brand was featured on podcasts. Among the student age range (Gen Z), Spotify research discovered that 50% had greater trust in podcasts than other traditional media sources.

Much like social influencer marketing, podcasts and their hosts influence listeners through recommendations, sponsorships and ads. But because audio trust is higher than visual, it can drive more conversions. The key is to carefully use contextual targeting to place your ad in the right genre and create a sound that aligns to the content, not disruptive.

Building trust with prospective students and their families is an essential part of education marketing. Placing your institute name alongside podcasts fast track you into the awareness and consideration phase.

Addressing Ad Blockers – reach the unreachable!

Another very relevant negative factor for school marketing is ad blockers. The use of ad blockers is increasing, especially among those aged 44 years and younger. For example, in the Middle East, data shows Saudi Arabia has an average 41.6% of internet users using an ad blocker and 39.6% in the UAE. The global average is 42.7% (Hootsuite 2022 Global State of Digital Report).

Podcast ads can bypass these ad blockers to put you in places otherwise inaccessible. The blocker tech cannot distinguish between audio content and audio ads delivering significant incremental reach to key consumers.


The bottom line

It’s time to give up siloed marketing plans that rely on image-based, mass targeting strategies. Instead, by introducing audio to the mix it will help your school better target ideal students and parents for optimal ROI. Podcasts are completely complementary to any current digital, print, TV, and OOH media plans. It will amplify your campaigns so prospects take more notice, have more trust, and are more likely to consider your school.

We understand education marketing often has limited resources. At Next Broadcast Media we have an extensive audio marketplace, creative recording, and full suite of audio ad solutions that fit small budgets and tight timeframes. Get in touch to discuss your situation and our options.

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