Digital Marketing

The Impact of Facebook's Advertising Changes on Enrollment

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Over the past few weeks, several important events have happened in the world of digital marketing that will impact how higher education institutions will be able to reach prospective students. One such example is that as of August 23rd, Facebook (and, by default, Instagram) will no longer allow advertisers to show ads to people younger than 18.

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Due to increasing privacy concerns and scrutiny over the social giant, Facebook is now adding restrictions to their targeted advertising offerings.

Specifically, Facebook has announced that it will no longer allow marketers to target ads to anyone younger than 18 based on their interests or their activity on other apps and websites. Advertisers will still be able to market ads to young people based on age, gender, and location. These changes will apply to Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

How Does This Impact Higher Education?

Given these new restrictions, what tactics are no longer available to higher education institutions trying to reach high schoolers? The following list highlights the specific strategies that must be avoided for any audience under 18 years old:

  • Detailed Targeting (Interests, Behaviors, and Demographics)
  • Connections Targeting
  • Language Targeting
  • Website Custom Audience Targeting
  • App Activity Custom Audience Targeting
  • Customer List Custom Audience Targeting
  • Engagement Custom Audience Targeting
  • Offline Activity Custom Audience Targeting
  • Lookalike Audiences

Continuing to Reach Prospective Students with Digital Solutions

While Facebook may be closing doors for custom audience targeting, there are still many options available to colleges and universities wishing to reach prospective students where they spend the majority of their time.

Our Encoura Digital Solutions team was well prepared for this policy change and is ready to support institutions. We can help any college or university who is currently advertising on Facebook easily adapt with minimal impact to your current strategy. In fact, our team's preparation for these advertising changes has positioned us to be able to deliver even higher engagement for your enrollment team than Facebook would have produced.

Despite the targeting changes that Facebook is introducing next week, Encoura Digital Solutions will continue to deliver well-rounded digital campaigns to our higher education partners that include impressions on social, display, and mobile. Our team will continue to monitor campaigns on a daily basis, optimizing as we go, to deliver the highest engagement to help you shape future classes.

Marketing strategies affected by Facebook's policy changes:

Interests, Behaviors, and Demographics

via Website, App Activity, Customer List, Engagement, or Offline Activity

Marketing strategies affected by Facebook’s policy changes:

Interests, Behaviors, and Demographics

via Website, App Activity, Customer List, Engagement, or Offline Activity

  • Campus visit numbers exceeded expectations
  • Increased first-year
    student application
  • Overall enrollment increased from previous year

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  • #1 ranked advertising platform for reaching college-bound students
  • Click through rates and actions regularly outperform those of Facebook
  • Likely to deliver higher engagement for colleges and universities
  • Includes access to the country’s top rated 100% mobile app advertising network
  • Ability to reach students on their devices across over 100,00 mobile applications
  • Our Mobile App Network provider has earned the Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for visitation data 


  • Website engagement 5 times higher than with previous campaigns
  • Thousands of new students visited website
  • Highest levels of in-state student post-view and post-click interactions

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About Advertising to Young People Facebook

Facebook Reduces Advertising Targeting for TeenagersBloomberg

Facebook will restrict ad targeting of under-18sReuters

Facebook tightens ad targeting to protect privacy of young usersMarketingDive

Discover turn-key solutions and targeted digital media strategies in addition to your traditional engagement methods to help you navigate the ever-changing digital landscape

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