The Latest Digital Marketing Changes to Take Action On

The Latest Digital Marketing Changes to Take Action On

Keeping up with the latest changes and trends when it comes to Digital Marketing can be challenging. We recently hosted a great interactive webinar looking at the next big 3 changes you need to be aware of, how they impact you and what action steps you need to take.

Digital Marketing – The 3 big changes:

  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  • iOS 14 changes and a broader move to a cookie-less future
  • New .AU domains

Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

This is one change we have all probably been avoiding but it’s something you need to tackle as it will be compulsory from July 2023. This change is in line with the move toward a cookie-less future and is more privacy-focused; GA4 will no longer be reliant on cookies for tracking purposes.

Although the installation is more onerous, there are definite benefits to the new analytics. The home page dashboard is fully customisable, based on the data you want to see which will make your life easier in the long run.

Goals are now referred to as conversions; although the setup is more complex, our experience is that the data is far more accurate. Another change relates to bounce rates; GA4 now looks at engagement rates. The new analytics focuses on user behaviour and how they engage with your site, which is the exact type of data you need, especially when it comes to search engine optimisation and how the user is interacting with your content.

A big advantage of the new analytics is the introduction of machine learning with regard to data gaps. The system will automatically alert you to significant trend changes in your data and will provide recommendations. The insights you will receive will be more customer-centric and a lot more valuable for you as a marketer. 

Action steps

Yes, you are going to have to install GA4 but there’s no better time than the present! We recommend that you use Google Tag Manager for installation. We have found it preferable to run GA4 parallel with Universal Analytics as it will take time to convert all your reporting and you don’t want to lose any data. 

iOS 14 changes and a broader move to a cookie-less future

Opting out of tracking is now a default option on Apple devices, which makes our job of tracking our marketing efforts more difficult. This change only affects Apple devices and from an Australian perspective, this accounts for around 14% of your web traffic. At an initial glance, this doesn’t seem like a big number, but it is signalling a change in trend as consumers become more protective of their personal information. As digital marketers, we need to be looking at how to move forward in a potential “cookie-less future”. 

How does it impact you?

This change means that you can no longer easily gather information from visitors to your site and you won’t be in a position to track their conversions. With fewer numbers being reported, your conversion measurements will be less accurate and missing data will impact any related optimisation.

Retargeting becomes a challenge as you are no longer able to track your prospective client’s journey. Apple data will also be delayed by up to 3 days. This will impact any type of Facebook or Google advertising you are doing as there will be less data to work with when optimizing ads.

Another change is that you will no longer be able to receive any form of demographic breakdown of ad data. Basically, all your numbers are going to be less accurate and as any digital marketer knows, this is going to make your job more difficult. Having said that, companies like Google and Facebook are continually working on solutions and there are a few crucial actions you need to take to minimise the impact. 

Action steps

If you have a Facebook page or ad account, you will need to set up Facebook Conversions API. This will allow you to continue to track conversions, but occurs from the server side as opposed to via cookies.

The next step you can take is to enable Advance Matching on your Facebook account. This will allow you to obtain more data about your audience and identify whether or not they were a conversion.

The last step we recommend is to set up the Aggregated Event Measurement. This functionality supports marketers in being able to run effective campaigns while still preserving user privacy, however, you will be limited to 8 conversion events. We recommend setting up standard conversion events and then classifying all the different conversions into one of those categories, e.g. school tour bookings.

New .AU domains

The Australian Domains Authority has released a new domain extension for the first time in decades, which is now .au instead of .com.au.

Although most schools make use of the education extension, we recommend that you pre-book your domain to avoid the risk of a competitor or another business registering that domain.

Currently, preference is being given to owners of existing businesses but if you don’t pre-register, you risk losing that domain name once it is available in the open market.

We wish you all the best as you navigate all these new changes. Make sure to watch the full webinar for more detail. It’s definitely worth it!


Questions regarding this article? Please email me at mara@robertsdigital.com.au



How you can promote your event online and offline

How you can promote your event online and offline

Following on my latest posts, “How to advertise school events” and “Increasing attendance at school open events”,  let’s look at: How can you promote your event online and offline.

Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is usually broken up into three main audiences:

  • ‘cold’ audiences are people who have never heard about your College.
  • ‘warm’ audiences are people who may have visited your website or interacted with your content.
  • ‘hot’ audiences are on your email list and actively seeking a school.

Digital marketing can be used to promote your events to each of these audiences in the following ways:

  • Email event invitations – Your email list is your most valuable asset and works great to advertise upcoming events. We usually send about two emails per event depending on your email list and event schedule for the year.
  • SMS invitations – SMS should be used sparingly, but I like to send event invitations as text messages and also send booking reminders before the event.
  • Display ads to both warm audiences and interest-based audiences in your local area using Google Ads or programmatic display advertising.
  • Facebook Ads to both warm audiences and interest-based audiences.

The great thing about using digital advertising to promote your event is that you can measure conversions (event registrations) and tell exactly which ads and audiences are working best to attract registrations for your school.

Traditional Advertising

Traditional marketing still plays an important role in our overall event marketing efforts. No strategy is complete without thinking about the people that may not be online. Having said that, not all traditional mediums are suited to call-to-action event marketing and below I go through my top recommendations when it comes to choosing traditional mediums:

  • Leaflet deliveries work well when done 4-6 weeks before an event. They can also be integrated with digital, with an SMS to register call-to-action and email follow-up.
  • Outdoor signage such as signboards and light pole banners can work well but need to be up about 8 weeks before the event.
  • Magazine ads typically suit longer-term campaigns because even though they may be distributed monthly or termly, they get read long after their publishing date.

One of the trickiest parts of mastering how to advertise school events is getting traditional mediums right for school events is getting all the details of how people can register in a tight space. The best way to do this is to have a similar look/design banner on your website home page that directs people to your registration page so that you can use your school home page as the go to location for registrants.

However you decide to implement traditional campaigns into your event marketing. Make sure that your digital and traditional campaigns complement each other and work together.

Questions regarding this article? Please email me at mara@robertsdigital.com.au

Increasing Attendance at School Open Events

Increasing Attendance at School Open Events

Following our blog post about “How to advertise School Events”, where we covered the event’s promotion, in this post, we would like to go a bit further and explain how you can make it successful by having high attendance.

We spend so much time and money in our marketing efforts trying to get people to register. That’s why it is so important that we do everything we can to increase attendance on the day.

We have a little formula we follow for open events and the communication leading up to the event:

1. Expectations

We always expect registration for the event. This helps with planning and checking in with how marketing is working leading up to the event.

2. Registrations

Once people register for the school open event, send them a confirmation email and SMS to make sure they know that they are registered.

3. Planification

One week before the event, send out another email reminding them about the event details with a picture of the Principal and details about what to expect on the day.

Two days before the event, send out another reminder. Try to work out your SMS reminder to be the day before the weekend leading up to the event. Say your event is on a Tuesday, send it out on the Friday before. This gives people the time and space to plan their attendance with their family.

Even with all the reminders, people may still not turn up on the day and this could be good marketing dollars gone to waste if not dealt with properly. What I do in these cases is mark people in SchoolCampaign with a ‘didn’t attend’ tag that will send them an immediate SMS inviting them to book a personal school tour.

Often people reply saying they are so sorry they missed the event and that they are still interested in the college. I find that offering them an option for a school tour at a time that suits them, works well to still get them into the school.

I hope this article on how to advertise school events will help you with your planning and promotions, and also help you increase your open event attendance on the day.

Questions regarding this article? Please email me at mara@robertsdigital.com.au

How to Advertise School Events

How to Advertise School Events

Schools have no shortage of events during the year, whether it be open events to drive enrolments or parent events, such as a school musical. Every event is a reflection on your school and both current parents and prospective parents will draw certain conclusions about your school based on your event’s success. The first part of a strong event is a great promotion. In this article, we will cover how to advertise school events so that each one packs a punch and is well attended.



How to advertise school events?

We’ve found that the sweet spot for open event promotions is 4-6 weeks prior to the date. If you provide too much time in advance, people may register but forget to attend or lose interest. If not enough notice is provided, they may not have enough time to plan their attendance.

I am also a huge fan of encouraging event registrations so that you can plan for the numbers well in advance and gauge how your school’s promotional efforts are doing as you go, making adjustments in the weeks leading up to the event. The registration form should be as short as possible and include fields, such as the attendee’s full name, phone number and email address so that you can send reminder emails and SMSes before the event.

Your registration page should be dedicated to one event at a time. If you have several open events a year, I would promote one at a time. Having too many date options leads to people postponing their decision.

We’ve drawn an example landing page for an open event that includes just enough for people to make a decision about your event and register their place. The page title should match the exact title in your advertising, and we like to use the same image for the header as what is used in your promotions so that people make the connection that they have landed at the right place.


How to Advertise School Events

Other details to include on the registration page are:

•  What attendees can expect to experience at the event
•  A short registration form
•  A little about your College, if this is a promotional event such as an open morning
•  Testimonials about your College or previous event attendees.

You will also want to create a unique thank you page so that you can track the success of your various digital promotions.

Event registrations should go straight into an enrolments database (check out SchoolCampaign) and registrants should get a confirmation email immediately after registration, as well as a reminder email and SMS before the event.

Questions regarding this article? Please email me at mara@robertsdigital.com.au

Virtual Open Events For Schools

Virtual Open Events For Schools

As a school marketer, you may be on the fence about how to respond in our current climate, deciding if you should wait it out or offer a virtual open day. There is no doubt that virtual open events are new for our schools, but as we’ve embraced the change for our clients, we’ve seen some fantastic results. The feedback has been that parents are asking a lot of different questions on their tours, that conversations are more relaxed and parents are focusing on what you are saying to them. Most importantly, parents feel they can still put in an enrolment application after having met so personally with the team.

A virtual open event can be run at a specific date and time or made available on demand. It provides you the opportunity to create an online experience with additional options, such as live or recorded presentations, a video gallery, live chat, and a resource download portal. Parents can choose the content they engage with and individual connection is encouraged with live chat. Virus or no virus, these are great tools that we can use to engage our families.

Our schools have built online experiences that will continue to be used when the COVID-19 crisis is over, as a warm-up to in-person tours and a tool to engage interstate families and boarding students.

Visit our ‘Virtual Open Events’ page for ideas on what your virtual open event could look like.

Building Your School’s Marketing Team

Building Your School’s Marketing Team

What does your school’s dream marketing team look like? In our quest to build our marketing capabilities, you may ask the question, ‘Should we try to cover areas such as website management, SEO and digital advertising in-house?’ The answer to this question really depends on the skills of your team and your school’s long-term goals. 

In a world with ever-expanding digital opportunities (and consumer expectations), it takes an ever-increasing amount of time to keep up with it all. We’ve gone from managing one school Facebook page to a world that includes so much more. Our digital marketing needs for schools have grown.

Great leaders are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and have a plan of how they are going to achieve their marketing goals with their current team and capacity. In this article, we will try and help you make decisions about how you can cover your digital marketing needs using the skills and resources available to you. 

Shouldn’t Our Marketing Person Cover It All?

Often there’s the perception that once a school has hired a marketing team member that all their marketing needs are covered. Have you ever been called the school photographer, or been asked to arrange a parent get-together all in the name of marketing? Similarly, it can be an expectation that school marketers will do it all, from writing copy to taking photographs, event management, website editing, and digital marketing media buying on Facebook and Google Ads. Not to mention the day you spend trying to fix your SEO. We’re always learning as marketers, and while we can cover some of these areas to the best of our ability, we also need to realise when we may be hindering our schools’ growth by trying to do it all ourselves.

Once we have a clear understanding of what we can bring to the marketing department, we then need a plan on how to cover the areas outside of our remit. And the question remains, ‘Do we cover it in-house or outsource?’

Covering Digital Marketing In-House

Building an in-house team may sound like a dream come true and a few schools have afforded the opportunity to have most of their marketing needs covered in-house. Digital marketing is one of those areas where a qualified professional is needed for the role. If your school is looking to hire an in-house digital marketer to add to your team, there are a few considerations to bear in mind:

  • Great digital markers typically come with a price tag (expect to pay around $80,000 plus).
  • They’re hard to retain because of the demand for skills in this area.
  • They will have their own specialisation and you will have to work with each new hire according to their strengths to ensure you hire according to your biggest needs.

Having an in-house digital marketer on your team can be a huge advantage, however, it is not always possible to do so. Hiring a digital agency may be the next best step to ensure your school is proactively promoting through digital mediums.

Engaging an Agency to Join Your Team

So, what are the tell-tale signs indicating that it’s time to outsource to a digital agency?

  • Your digital projects keep being skipped on your list of things to do and you find yourself stuck in the day-to-day of the role rather than on your marketing.
  • You have a great strategy in place but rarely follow it or often find yourself off track.
  • You’ve had a brilliant marketing idea sitting on the ‘we should really do that’ pile for more than six months.
  • Certain issues within your marketing are starting to bottleneck the success of your overall campaigns, such as an outdated website or poor SEO.

An agency may be able to help you start to tick off some of this work. There are several advantages to hiring an agency:

  • Digital agencies will be able to offer you a wide variety of skills within their team for much less than the cost of hiring a marketing professional.
  • You’ll pay for a desired outcome and if that outcome isn’t met, you can choose a new agency. 
  • They’ll offer you flexibility and the ability to respond to market needs. For example, you could switch from SEO to digital advertising for a season, rather than being restricted to the abilities of your team.
  • You can save money by hiring an agency for what is needed, instead of employing a digital marketer and paying a salary. Time training a new employee is also saved as the experts are already prepared and ready to help you.

Whether you choose to go in-house or outsource, it is important to first identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team and the goals of your school, so that you can clarify what it is you need from a digital marketer. You will likely need to outsource at least some elements of the technical digital strategy to take full advantage of new technologies, so having a clear plan as to what you want to achieve and a budget, will help you find the right digital marketer or agency to fit your team.

Questions regarding this article? Please email me at mara@robertsdigital.com.au