July 06, 2011 09:00 ET

Educational Institutions Increasingly Turning to Digital Marketing to Attract Prospective Students, Says New AdReady/Stamats Survey

Social Playing an Increasingly Central Role in Academic Marketing Campaigns

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - Jul 6, 2011) - When it comes to the marketing practices of educational institutions (EDUs), digital marketing is playing an increasingly strategic role in reaching prospective students. Sixty-two percent of undergraduate and graduate institutions, on average, plan to turn to the power of online display advertising as a key marketing tool by 2013, according to a new survey of U.S. EDUs released today by AdReady and Stamats. Interestingly, in light of this increasing use of digital advertising, EDUs are curbing their reliance on traditional marketing tactics, with 61 percent of higher education institutions reporting a flattening or decrease in their traditional marketing budgets since 2009.

While the majority of EDUs surveyed said they had not increased their traditional marketing budgets in the past three years, 55 percent said the percentage of their overall marketing budgets allocated to digital marketing strategies had increased. Further, respondents said they expected the trend of leveraging digital marketing as an increasingly greater percentage of the overall marketing budget would continue into 2013, regardless of the institution's annual budget size. In other words, even those institutions with smaller overall budgets are recognizing the power of online as an important medium to reach prospective students. Of the smallest institutions surveyed (those with annual marketing budgets under $50K), 55 percent are currently leveraging display advertising, focusing mainly on Facebook and Twitter. Of the remaining 45 percent that are reportedly not tapping display at this time, all are either considering it, or already have plans to integrate display strategies within the next year.

AdReady is offering a preview of the survey results to mark the start of the Stamats Integrated Marketing: Graduate School Marketing Conference, taking place July 6-8 at Boston's Omni Parker House Hotel.

"Online display advertising is being proven as an effective and affordable strategy for educational institutions that want to stand out from the crowd and reach prospective students," said Karl Siebrecht, CEO of AdReady. "It's especially fascinating to see that, even as most marketing budgets have decreased or stayed flat, display advertising is becoming a more critical part of that overall spend -- even greater than tactics such as search."

Key Survey Findings:

  • Digital marketing is an increasingly larger portion of both graduate and undergraduate overall marketing budgets: Sixty-two percent of educational institutions, on average, plan to increase their spend on digital marketing as a percentage of the total marketing budget through 2013.
  • Social platforms are playing a major role in digital marketing campaigns: Seventy-one percent of respondents say they do some display advertising on social media platforms; in line with recent data highlighting Facebook's growing prominence as a display ad publisher, 95 percent of respondents say they advertise on Facebook, followed by 78 percent on Twitter, 71 percent on YouTube and 71 percent on LinkedIn.
  • Display has slight edge over search concerning tactic of choice for EDUs: Thirty-nine percent of respondents say display advertising comprises a larger portion of their marketing budget than search; 37 percent of respondents say they do more search than display.
  • Increasing an institution's program awareness is primary campaign objective: Increases in program awareness emerged as the top objective, with 72 percent of respondents saying they expected their digital marketing campaigns to deliver this result. This was followed by nearly 69 percent of respondents who cited driving applicant registrations, 61 percent who cited increasing the institution's general awareness, and 25 percent who sought to meet specific action-oriented goals such as CPA/CPC/CTR/CPL.
  • Institutions are slowly adopting more complex display techniques to complement their media strategies: Rich media and video are being employed by 18 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of graduate institutions and 19 and 27 percent, respectively, by undergraduate institutions.

"We are interested in, and encouraged by, the notable shift of budget allocation to digital marketing initiatives suggested in this survey," said Sabra Fiala, Director of Marketing, Stamats. "As educational institutions' marketing channel options continue to expand, reliance on actual ROI made possible through digital will become a more important and critical measurement for monitoring marketing success."

The survey was conducted June 1-30, 2011 via email to more than 10,000 academic marketers across an array of EDUs in the United States. The survey generated a greater than two percent response rate.

About Stamats
Stamats is recognized and respected as the nation's higher education integrated marketing thought leader. Every year Stamats helps hundreds of colleges and universities with their goals for recruiting students and raising funds through research, planning and consulting, brand marketing, creative services, digital marketing, print media, and advertising. Our comprehensive array of innovative services has set the standard for pairing insightful, research-based strategic counsel with compelling creative solutions. Stamats promises clients the highest level of professional service and attention to detail in the industry because, in the end, we know our success is measured entirely by theirs. Visit

About AdReady
AdReady provides powerful software that enables any marketer to master online advertising. Unlike time-intensive, inefficient approaches that don't get the job done, AdReady simplifies the process with an intuitive start-to-finish solution that improves advertising ROI by successfully reaching and converting digital consumers where they live. More than 6,000 customers in the U.S. have run more than 560,000 ads across nearly 150,000 sites through the AdReady solution. AdReady has been recognized for "Best Ad Delivery Platform Innovation" by the Digital Publishing and Advertising Conference and "Service Provider of the Year" by the Washington Technology Industry Association. To learn more, please visit, follow us on Twitter @AdReady, or find us on Facebook.

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