One of the most effective strategies I have used for schools is Yahoo’s local behavioral targeting program.
This year, Yahoo introduced a category to reach parents of school age kids. It was like hitting the jackpot! We had previously used the Education and generic Parent targets, but they never quite clicked like this new group. Education was reaching those searching for tech schools, graduate programs or other solutions for adults. Parents tended to reach those with young kids.
With parents of kids 6-18, the click through rates are higher and conversions are substantially higher. Yes—CPM’s are higher but the results justify the investment. One school had its largest Open House event in the past five years! The only change from past advertising efforts was to switch from the newspaper site display ads to Yahoo Behavior Targeting (full disclosure—paid search and print were used to round out the mix).
This is why I believe it is critical for newspapers to understand how to leverage and sell this tool—for their own sites as well as Yahoo inventory. Given the power of reaching the right people with the right message, newspapers can no longer to afford to simply be the “biggest.” In many cases, it’s simply not true in the online world, and given everyone’s focus on managing the bottom line it’s not a smart strategy.
Yahoo works because of its deep understanding and sophistication in developing behavior targeting models. National advertisers have had access to this type of advertising and now it can be effectively and efficiently implemented by local advertisers.
Yahoo—I know it works as an advertiser. My goal, as a Fellow, is to find out why it works for some newspapers and not others. It took a few tries to land on the right target for my product—and perhaps some newspapers need a few more tries to make it a success for their staff and bottom line!