Paid Ads Management for Higher Education

Get more bang for your paid media budget with a unique approach that uses data-driven intelligence to reach more right-fit students. 

A New Way of Thinking About Paid Media

Tired of expensive paid media campaigns that don’t perform? We get it. In fact, the majority of our higher ed PPC clients come to us because their previous agency failed to deliver a meaningful return on ad spend (ROAS) in the form of enrollments and revenue. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to take a different approach — one that transforms PPC campaigns into an enrollment engine.

Our secret sauce? Deep audience insights combined with full-funnel, data-driven targeting and an attribution methodology that delivers dramatically higher conversion rates from the prospective students who are most likely to enroll at your institution.


play PPC Marketing: Why you need it


Increase in Enrollment


Decrease in cost-per-lead (CPL)


Reduction in cost-per-click (CPC)

How Do Our PPC for Higher Education Services Work?

When you’ve been in digital marketing for as long as we have, you start to notice things — for example, that most higher education ad agencies create campaigns that target the same audience in the same stage of the enrollment funnel with a lot of the same information. Not only does this approach make it almost impossible to stand out, it also results in a higher cost-per-lead, cost-per-application, and cost-per-enrolled-student. We knew there had to be a better way to manage paid media, which is why we’ve developed a unique approach that solves your most pressing pain points.

Auditing & Discovery

We conduct a full analysis of your existing campaigns, leaving no stone unturned — from past performance to your Quality Score, we’ll fix what’s broken, build what’s missing, and set your school up for long-term success.

Goals & Objectives

We’ll work closely with your team to set both short- and long-term goals and then make a plan to meet them, leveraging the entire enrollment funnel.

Budgeting & Execution

Once we know your budget, we’ll develop a strategy that focuses on often-overlooked areas of the market, targeting prospective students higher up in the enrollment funnel and reducing your overall spend. 

Future-proofing & Continuous Improvement

We’re obsessed with emerging trends, technologies, and changes in the paid media space, and we harness data and use AI-enabled testing to iterate and improve upon your institution’s strategy.

Explore Our Paid Media Services

Paid Media Strategy & Consulting

Enhance your institution’s digital presence and maximize your ROAS with a full-service strategy that applies cross-platform, data-driven intelligence to continuously improve ad performance. 

Paid Search

Drive qualified leads and boost enrollment with paid search ad campaigns. Our AI-friendly approach to managing and optimizing paid search ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines will prepare you for the future of AI-powered search.

Paid Social

Reach prospective students, parents, alumni, and donors where they spend time online with targeted paid social ads on all major social platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X, TikTok, and others.


Capitalize on audiences that have already shown interest in your institution through remarketing and retargeting campaigns across search engines and social platforms. 

Landing Page Creation

Convert more paid traffic into leads and revenue through conversion optimized landing pages that address your audience’s needs and interests to drive results.

Display Network

Reach more prospective students in more places and target new affinity audiences that your paid search ads might miss with ads placed on Google’s display network.

Ad Creative

From ad copy, images, and video to landing page copy and design, we create the eye-catching and compelling digital assets your paid ads need to drive clicks, conversions, and enrollment. 

Conversion Rate Optimization

Maximize conversions and minimize your cost-per-lead, cost-per-application, and cost-per-enrollment with paid digital advertising conversion rate optimization.

Vital’s Approach to PPC & Paid Ads Management for Higher Education

Here’s a revolutionary idea: Your paid media accounts are assets — assets you paid to build and optimize. That means you should own them, regardless of who your higher education paid ads agency is. 

You care about inquiries, applications, and enrollments, not vanity metrics. We only optimize for the metrics your university understands and cares about. 

We’ll spare you the jargon and unnecessary details, focusing solely on metrics that matter most to your institution. (Unless you want to nerd out — then we’re happy to talk shop!)

As a full-service digital marketing agency focused on higher education, our paid media program is built to support your overall digital marketing strategy, including content marketing, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and search engine optimization (SEO).

Say goodbye to long-term commitments — our PPC contracts run month-to-month and require 30 days notice to cancel. We believe in earning your school’s loyalty with actual results, not contractual obligations. 

No autopilot here: We manually manage your campaigns on a daily and/or weekly basis, depending on the velocity of your spend. This approach enables our PPC managers to rapidly respond to changes in account performance and make real-time updates to deliver optimal results.

The next best thing to a fully embedded member of your team, you’ll be assigned an account manager, who will serve as your primary point of contact. From providing weekly updates to answering questions in 24 hours or less, your dedicated account manager will be committed to delivering exceptional service and support, whenever you need it. 

Behind every successful paid ads campaign is a team of highly skilled professionals dedicated to your school’s success. From account managers and PPC specialists to graphic designers, branding and content strategists, web developers, and more, we invest in recruiting and retaining top talent to ensure your campaigns consistently achieve optimal performance. 

We’ll work closely with your team to determine how much you should spend to acquire a new student, including your ideal cost-per-lead, cost-per-application, and cost-per-student. Once we’ve set these goals and objectives, we’ll closely monitor your ROAS and continuously optimize your campaigns to drive enrollment success while reducing your overall investment. 

Essential Reading

Ebooks: Digital Enrollment Marketing for Higher Education

What’s in the eBook? This 30-page guide is your digital marketing playbook for attracting more qualified applicants, building your academic brand, and bridging the gap between acceptance and enrollment to fill more seats and grow your school’s programs.

PPC for Higher Education Services Structure

Here’s what we do to ensure your paid media engagement starts off on the right foot. 

Questionnaires & Audit

At Vital, filling out questionnaires on your audience, competition, and marketing campaigns establishes a comprehensive foundation for all your digital marketing efforts, not just PPC. Our tailored audit process evaluates your paid media accounts, identifying quick wins and potential issues using our higher ed expertise, setting a baseline for improvement.


During your kickoff meeting, you’ll meet your dedicated paid media team, we’ll walk through each step of the setup process, and review your completed questionnaires to fully understand your institution and your goals. 

Keyword & Audience Research

Post-audit, we identify missed opportunities, conduct extensive keyword and audience research to refine your strategy, and create a keyword list, which you’ll review  and approve before we proceed.

Account Setup or Restructuring

Vital optimizes new or existing PPC accounts with strategic settings adjustments for superior results, covering everything from Ad Groups to Call Tracking.

Ad Writing & Design

Combining art and science, our copywriters craft compelling PPC ads within strict limits, continuously testing with AI tools for data-driven improvement. We also have a team of designers to produce eye-catching ads in recommended sizes, ensuring your campaigns make a strong first impression on prospective students.

Landing Page Setup

We’ll create engaging landing pages that combine compelling copy, visuals, and conversion-driven calls-to-action, applying our experience with testing different landing page formats for optimal performance.

Report Creation & Weekly Status Calls

We provide a custom dashboard for monitoring your campaigns’ success, offering clear, actionable reports focused on meaningful metrics such as applications and enrollments rather than vanity metrics. You’ll also receive weekly status updates from your dedicated account manager on your paid media campaigns, ensuring nothing is left to chance.

The Investment

Pricing for our PPC services for higher education are pretty straightforward, with no long-term contracts. We charge a one-time cost for account setup or restructuring, which will vary depending on the status of the account we’re onboarding, plus a monthly fee as a percentage of your spend. On average, our clients spend between $5,000 and $11,000 for their initial setup, anywhere from $5,000 to $1M for monthly paid media spend, and $1,000 to $20,000+ for our monthly management fee. 

Schools we’ve Helped:

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Want a PPC Proposal from Vital?

Think Vital might be a good fit for your school’s paid media management? Let’s talk about it. Fill out the form on this page, and we’ll set up a call to see how we can help.