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The Glacier TeamJul 8, 2021 5:08:00 AM3 min read

Best Practices and Creative Strategies for Higher Education Advertising

Think of it this way: Only 9% of display ads are viewed for more than one second, and that number shrinks down to just 4% for any ad viewed for more than two seconds. So if a prospect can’t immediately understand your ad, they’re not going to click on it, let alone remember who you are.

It only makes sense then that your higher education advertisement's structure and creative are well thought-out. With the right tools and strategies under your belt, you can create higher education ads that are built to engage your audience and capture their attention - and we mean for more than just a few seconds!

Youth Advertising Best Practices and Strategies

Our best practices and creative strategies are now right at your fingertips. Use this list when creating your higher ed ads, and you’ll be sure to be remembered by your audience!

Focus on CONTRAST over Colours

If you’re in the marketing space, you likely know how powerful colour can be in advertising. Blue gives a strong, calming effect, while red triggers powerful emotion. Each and every colour has the power to make us feel something.


Choosing the right colours is essential, but focusing on contrast can make your ad stand out from others. In addition, it can help highlight certain elements that grab your viewer's eye so they aren’t left guessing on where their focus should be.


Context is important in buying decisions. So much so that the color of your call to action should match the state of mind your customers need to be in to make a purchase.

What Exactly Is a Call to Action? - Idea Associates, Inc.
For example, if they should be in a calm, clear state of mind when purchasing, green is a better choice for your call to action button. Especially if it’s something like “book your consultation” or “let’s talk more”, rather than “buy now.”

Social Media Cohesion

One of the best ways to create an ongoing conversation between prospective students and faculty or staff is with shared media. Half of students use social media specifically during the university selection process, and 80% report that social media conversations influenced their enrollment decision.

Social Media Icon, Photo Camera Instagram Icons Editorial Stock Photo -  Illustration of film, creature: 115032233

Social media helps prospective students better understand an institution’s culture and values. It also helps them determine whether or not they can picture themselves at your campus.

Change it up

It’s important to know that ads should never be in market for longer than six weeks. That goes for both digital and social media. So rather than using the same creative from the spring as you do in the fall, try changing things up.

Matthew Hunt on Twitter: "WARNING! Ad fatigue is a real thing! You need to  create a lot more ad creative than you think.… "

If you don’t have the resources to build all-new creative, change one thing: the message or the image.


We all know your call-to-action is an imperative element in your ad, but what rules should you follow to ensure it gets clicked on?

Your call-to-action button colour should be easy to see but not an eyesore. It should complement the website’s overall design yet contrast with it enough to eliminate the need to search for it.

6 Factors of Great Calls-to-Action for College Websites | Blog

In general, call-to-action buttons and checkout buttons should be big, clean, and simple. Be sure to set your button against a plain background that isn't distracting.

Test, Test, Test

Once you’ve put together some fantastic creative for your ad, your job isn’t quite done! It will be important to test your ads to determine what is and isn’t performing.

A/B Testing: An Introduction to Creative Optimization - Eyereturn Marketing

Test out different variations of your ads to quickly learn and make adjustments as needed. The more you can hone in on what works best, the more likely you’ll see great results!