Google Ads remains one of the most popular digital advertising platforms. In fact, the internet giant holds 73% of the paid advertising market share.  

Google receives over 8 billion searches per day. Ultimately, for any business, there’s a good chance your target audience are looking on Google for the answers to their queries. The same applies to prospective applicants for independent schools.  

However, it’s not necessarily as simple as paying Google and hoping for conversions. The key is understanding your audience and your market to ensure you’re occupying ad space where your prospects are searching.  

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While making Google ads work for you may require some testing and iterating, they are still one of the primary methods that many marketers use to boost their reach. So, why should your school consider allocating budget for Google ads? 

What are PPC ads? 

PPC ads stands for Pay-Per-Click advertising. It's essentially as simple as it sounds. The advertiser only pays for each click on the ad, rather than paying one fee to host the ad. Search engines typically employ a PPC ad model, whereas social media platforms are often priced based on reach, location and length of advertising.  

With so many advertisers vying for space though, success lies in ensuring that your ad content is relevant and likely to encourage conversions. Google operates an auction-like system. Advertisers bid for keywords. This means the higher quality Google deems your ad to be, combined with the price you‘re willing to pay for a click, the more likely you are to appear above others in the search results.  

Google Ads for schoolsThe more popular your chosen keyword, the more difficult it can be to advertise on that keyword. It pays to be niche and targeted with your Google advertising. Continue to refine your chosen lists, and don’t be afraid to include long-tail keywords that are relevant to your audience. 

Why do schools need ads? 

Paid advertising forms a key part of any holistic marketing strategy. The best marketing requires a combined approach, and advertising can help to boost other areas of your marketing. 

Word-of-mouth marketing can be particularly powerful for schools. However, this means that it can be easy to rely on that. While making use of your existing school community is important, advertising can extend your reach beyond your current circle. This has the potential to really boost your admissions performance 

When done right, digital advertising can be an extremely cost-effective way to promote your school. Their impact can extend throughout the school year, as opposed to the time-restrictive nature of event marketing, for example.  

The benefits of Google ads 

With so many advertising options out there, it can be difficult to identify the right platform for your budget. While generally it is best to test and combine a variety of platforms, including social media advertising, Google ads remain one of the most popular choices among marketers due to the search engine’s established place in our daily lives. In fact, it is still the most visited website on the internet. Here are some of the key benefits of integrating Google ads into your school marketing strategy 

Tailored to location 

You might be thinking, this all sounds great, but I have a small school community, I don’t want or need to advertise my school to the entire world.  

One of the reasons that Google’s advertising platform is so popular is due to the range of targeting options available. Niche targeting makes for successful ads and helps you reserve budget where possible.  

Google understands that advertising space is a finite resource and strives to ensure that your ads can be as effective as possible. The search giant needs to reduce competition to avoid extortionate advertising fees and risking turning marketers off. 

Among the available targeting options is the choice to tailor the locations where your ads can be displayed. Geographic targeting allows you to narrow down to specific countries, areas within that country, a specific radius around one location, or multiple specified locations.  

Google Ads for schoolsFor instance, you could set your ads to only appear within a 15-mile radius of your school. This would be particularly useful for independent schools that are targeting only the local community. As mentioned, the more niche and accurate your targeting can be, the more likely your ads will be successful. 

Alternatively, this targeting approach could also benefit schools that are looking to recruit students from other countries, or boarding schools that are looking to reach those outside of the local community. Geographic targeting can make your ads as versatile as you need to impact on your target audience. 

Keyword specific 

Similarly to the above, Google encourages tailored targeting as much as possible. You can have as much control over where and when your ads are displayed by building a bespoke list of keywords.  

Needless to say, it would be extremely costly and inefficient to spend advertising budget promoting your school for every education-related keyword. Take the time to research your market, your competition, and your audience. Consider what search terms they are more likely to be engaging with and build a comprehensive list of keywords that are specific to your school.  

Google allows you to target keywords with a range of settings. You can target only your specifically identified keywords, or keywords that have a variation of those in your list. This level of customisation ensures that you have complete control over your results and your ad targeting. 


While paid advertising is a paid form of marketing, when done right, it can be implemented with a budget in mind. It can be challenging to know just how much budget to allocate to marketing as a whole for your school, and other areas of school life are often prioritised.  

Google ads may not be as cheap as other marketing methods, particularly inbound marketing. However, paid advertising can provide the boost that your other marketing methods need to perform. They are also not as expensive as many marketers think. 

The average cost per click on Google ads is around £1-£2. There are many keywords that can be targeted for less than £1 per click. Again, it pays to do your keyword research. Google regularly tracks and updates data on the cost per click of individual keywords, so using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can help you to understand which keywords fit into your budget.  

Continually evaluating ad performance and making changes accordingly is also particularly important for managing spend. Google’s ad platform provides a variety of metrics and analytics to help you with this. 

Google Ads for schoolsBoost your SEO and wider marketing strategy 

Using paid ads to point to your content or website, with relevant keywords, can help to boost your website SEO for those keywords. This is a particularly useful tool if you’re looking to improve web traffic, or you specifically want to occupy space on a chosen keyword. 

Paid ads can provide a quick shot of traffic to specific pages or pieces of online content, while also helping Google to understand what your website is about and whether users find it useful or valuable. Improved CTRs (click-through rates) are a clear indicator of the relevance of your page. 

Not only that, but the data from ad performance can be extremely valuable for your wider marketing strategy. For instance, if a certain message doesn’t gain traction on ads, you might need to tweak that messaging elsewhere, too. Consider Google ads for schools to be a vital resource in your marketing arsenal. 

ISAMS Admissions systems for frictionless applications 

So, your ads start to perform, and prospects become interested in submitting applications for your school. It’s vital that the next steps are as simple and clear as possible.  

Your admissions software has the potential to make or break applications. For applicants, it is the face of your school during the admissions process. It also ensures that applications can be handled efficiently on the back end and provides key support to your admissions team. 

iSAMS' Admissions system provides a branded and mobile responsive admissions portal, allowing applicants to manage their registration, application and deposits simply and securely. It syncs seamlessly with our MIS, ensuring that your admissions team can perform as efficiently as possible.  

If you’re interested in learning more about boosting your school admissions with paid media, we recently held a webinar with founder of Biddable Moments, Samantha Noble. Samantha took us through her top tips and tricks for using paid advertising to maximise conversions.  

You can watch the full recording and download her free guide below.Watch the Admissions webinar recording Sign up here