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google ads for education

Google Ads for Education: How To Setup An Effective Campaign

Google Ads is a powerful resource and tool for advertisers to run education related campaigns. It has all the tools to help you reach students and those looking for degree, course and educational programmes.

For universities, colleges and schools and other institutions of learning, targeting students through Google Ads is made easy with the many campaign types and tools that are available.

Whatever courses, educational programmes or degrees you want to advertise, the Google Ads system helps you to reach your audiences as they are actively searching or browsing other websites.

It also helps you to raise awareness with video campaigns on YouTube. And you do all this and more in your Ads account.

To get started, visit to create your account if you don’t currently have one. And then follow the guidelines below to setup your first pay per click (PPC) campaign in Google Ads.


Campaign objective

A Google Ads campaign for education should focus on driving leads and signups. So, the “Leads” objective is the best to select for your needs and with that you can focus on getting people to take action from your ads and website.

Campaign Goals

A Leads objective can help you track any action you like, including a download, a call from the ad, application submission on your website and so on.


Campaign type

With a Leads objective you can now focus on choosing the right campaign type. As a university, college or school you will benefit mostly from running a campaign that targets people that are actively searching. So, the Search campaign would be the best to setup.

Campaign Type

Other campaign types like Display and Remarketing help with raising awareness and to bring people back to your website. And you can create these later when you have more data.



For schools and universities wanting to run education campaigns in Google Ads, having a sufficient budget is important. There is a lot of competition for the keywords you want to add so the budget should be good.

So a good budget to start with for your campaign is at least $1300 or £1000 for the first month. And you can increase it each month as you see performance improve and as you get more targeted searches.

Google Ads Budget



It’s important to set the right bids at all times. You can do that manually by updating bids regularly using the Manual CPC bid strategy. And you can add the enhance CPC option to it so it updates bids based on the likelihood that the searches will convert.

However, it’s best to start with an automated bid strategy. This is a lot more efficient and will set the right bids based on your goals, and the likelihood that they will convert.

Google Ads Bid Strategies

A good strategy to start with is Maximise Clicks. It will set bids automatically and get you as many clicks as possible for your budget. Later you can check the Recommendations page for suggestions for bid strategy changes based on the machine learning system.



Google Ads has tools to help you find education related keywords to promote your university, college or school. The Keyword Planner tool helps you find these keywords and the actual searches that people use on Google.

Keyword Planner Tool

This is a free tool and you can also use it to do keyword forecasting to get an idea of what you will spend. And use this tool regularly to find more keywords as you also check your Recommendations page to find some new keyword opportunities.


Text ads

Google Ads provides you with different ad types to promote your educational institution. These include Responsive, Expanded, Call-only and Dynamic search ads. You can use these all at different times in your campaign management. For example, Dynamic search ads can be used to automatically target searches that your keywords are not targeting.

But the best ad type to use is the Responsive search ad format which has a lot more headlines and descriptions than the other types. That helps to improve your targeting and improves performance for click through rates and Quality Scores.


Ad schedule

Set your ads to run at all times to target people when they are searching. The default setting in your campaign is for ads to run all days and hours and it’s best to leave it at this in the beginning.

Ad Schedule

Many people looking for courses or degree programmes will search at various times. But with time you’ll be able to see which are your best performing times when you check the Segment reports. You can find these on the Campaign tab.

Time Segments Report


Where your ads appear

When you setup a Search campaign, your ads are eligible to appear on Google. This can be at the top of the page in one of the four available slots above the Organic results, or below the page in one of the three available spots.

Your ads can also appear on search partner websites if you opt into the Search Network. So, when people search on these sites, your ads will appear, as they do on Google.

Google Networks

There’s also the option to opt into the Display Network as the screenshot above shows. This network includes millions of websites and apps that you can advertise on. But it’s usually best to setup a different Display campaign to promote your courses, degrees or educational programmes.


Get in Touch

Need help setting up a campaign? I have extensive experience setting up Google Ads campaigns for educational organisations like universities and schools. Use the form below to contact me.

    I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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