Using TikTok in Higher Ed Marketing

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Using TikTok in Higher Ed Marketing

TikTok is one of the most popular social networks and apps currently, boasting 100-million users in the U.S. What’s more, 60% of those are in the all-important 16-24 age range – making TikTok a goldmine for reaching Gen Z student prospects. 

If you think the platform is all dance videos and memes, you may be missing out on a key channel to expand outreach for your school. Your student acquisition marketing may already be covering the big players like Facebook and Twitter. But if you aren’t prioritizing TikTok content and ads to help drive more enrollments, here are some reasons why your strategy needs to change today (and some ways to do it successfully).

What is TikTok and Why Should EDU Care?

TikTok is a social media platform focusing on short-form video content. With more than a billion global users, it’s an endless supply of influencer videos, products, homemade content, and more. But it’s also rapidly becoming a resource of information for a younger demographic looking to research or consider something – such as higher ed. 

That key Gen Z demographic gets information differently – it’s not just about search and remarketing. Platforms like TikTok provide a unique, short, visual way to consume content. Schools have taken notice, using TikTok content to highlight life on campus, unique selling points of the school, and other features that are more engaging than simple copy on a website and academic information.

TikTok Ads to Reach Higher Ed Prospects

Creating a strong organic presence on TikTok is highly advised for any school. It provides an opportunity to highlight virtual campus tours, athletic events, life on campus, and much more that is better served up in bite-sized videos to an increasingly on-the-go and connected demographic. 

But if you want to proactively reach a more targeted segment of prospective students with just the right content to sway their decision, TikTok ads are worth exploring.

TikTok ads work similar to many of the other popular digital advertising channels for schools looking to grow enrollment. You can use TikTok ads to generate website traffic, push video views, or even optimize to a specific conversion such as an inquiry about a school program. But the true power of TikTok ads for your school comes in its targeting. The normal selections are there, such as age demographics:

But from there, audiences can be narrowed down based on proven interests in a number of education-related concepts:

This allows your ads to target prospects in certain age ranges who are already demonstrating an interest in higher ed, so that you can deliver eye-catching video content tailor-made for them. And if you’d like to get really refined, you can even target users who are following TikTok creators who focus on education content:

Or those who are viewing other content directly related to education information:

The bottom line is that TikTok – and especially its ads offering – is a lot more robust and tailored to higher ed marketing than you may have realized. TikTok is rapidly growing, a hit among Gen Z, and populated by dozens of colleges and universities who have already found its power when it comes to student acquisition marketing.


If you’re looking for ways to leverage TikTok – or any digital strategies – to help boost enrollment, we can help! Connect with our team of higher education marketing experts and let’s start a conversation today.

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