How To Use The Search Monitor in Higher-Education Advertising

How do you know when the time is right to incorporate a tool into your paid search strategy for higher education? It’s a risk to not utilize the tool to its fullest potential. That’s why some tools offer a layer of security that you need in order to know where to spend budget, along with what your competitors are advertising for. The Search Monitor (TSM) tool not only helps you understand the degree programs your competitors are advertising for but also which competitors might be bidding on your brand. Why does this matter? Simple. Seasonality is a major player in higher education, and owning the most market share during peak application season is essential for capturing enrollments. Find out how your college or university should use the following features of The Search Monitor:

1. Trademark Report

My favorite feature, the Trademark Report sets up monitoring of all variations of your trademark. TSM releases its crawling tool to find out who’s not only bidding on your terms but also using your trademarks in their ad copy. Bidding on another advertiser’s trademark isn’t a violation, but using it in ad copy can be. As you can see from the AdWords Trademark Policy Google will investigate and may restrict the use of a trademark term within ad text. Monitoring this can also reveal when your affiliate schools use your brand name in ad copy.

2. Market Share Report

Market Share Report is designed to show you who your most visible competitor in search results is. Along with the ability to monitor trademarks, you can also monitor keywords that you bid on. The Market Share Report reveals why CPCs increased or decreased during a given month, due to competitors falling out or entering the space. Use this information to regulate budgets and decide when to become more prevalent in the space.

 Keyword Frequency vs. Average Rank

This chart is an example of a market Keyword Frequency vs. Average Rank chart. This determines who owns market share in this keyword space (currently, it’s “You”). The left top quadrant is where you aim to be.

3. Rank Report

Rank Report is designed to help you quickly see where you and your competitors are winning and losing the ranks. This goes hand in hand with the market share report; once you see where you stand in terms of owning the space, you can discover the difference between your average rank and your competitors’. The “Times Seen” feature gives you the number of times the item was seen in the time period used for the report. The example below details what something like this might look like:

Rank Report

Although your top competitor is being seen the most, they are in a lower rank. This report shows that the competitor might have a larger budget or runs ads more frequently than yours. However, you are bidding higher than them on the monitored keywords. You can determine when to cut back on CPCs or become more aggressive, especially for peak times in the academic year.

4. Ad Copy Details Report

The Ad Copy Details Report shows your recent ad copy so you can find the most-served variations. It allows you to view the type of ad copy that’s working and what you might need to refresh. Although it doesn’t display conversions, it does show the ad that was shown the most times in its average rank. Higher education marketers can use this to see the copy variations for degree offerings. See what works for other colleges, and choose something to test accordingly. What tools are you using for your higher education advertising and paid search? What are your favorite features of The Search Monitor?

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About Alexa Feckanin

Alexa is a Senior Online Advertising Specialist at Fathom with an extensive background in paid search. She has a deep understanding of digital marketing and has worked with clients across several verticals including education, energy, financial services, hospitality and retail. During her career, she has worked on primarily Enterprise clients with a goal of driving awareness, growing businesses through online marketing channels and increasing revenue. Alexa has experience with bid management platforms, project management, ad copy, keyword optimizations and keyword research.

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