This post was written by Audrey Gatta, who conducted an advertising experiment for Cognitive ToyBox this summer. She is a student at MIT pursuing a Bachelor of Science in architecture and design who has been an intern at the organization since June.
Teachers may not be the primary decision-makers when it comes to which technological platforms are used in their classrooms, but they usually have a strong voice in making purchasing decisions. It is critical for education technology companies to advertise specifically to teachers to ensure their buy-in, which is especially important when a yearly subscription is up for renewal. Through our own recent efforts, we have found that teachers are active consumers of media and teacher communities have formed across all social networks. Below we share three ways that ed-tech companies can efficiently market directly to teachers through social media advertising.
At Cognitive ToyBox — an ed-tech company dedicated to ensuring school readiness through an accurate and actionable assessment platform that combines game-based and observational assessments — we recently focused on social media advertising and marketing specifically to this all-important demographic in the ed-tech space. Our marketing experiments showed that teachers can be reached across multiple platforms, even if a company has a low advertising budget. Each platform has its own methods that allow for targeting types of users, which ed-tech companies can use to their advantage to present their product to teachers.
1. Target Specific Audiences Through Facebook
Facebook is widely used across the U.S. (and the globe), and it turns out that the usage rate by teachers is even higher than that of the general public. According to a recent study published by the MDR Marketing Team at Dun & Bradstreet, it is estimated that approximately 80 percent of educators use Facebook, compared to 70 percent of the general public.
When creating an ad on Facebook, you can edit the “Audience” to target teachers. Facebook allows you to specify locations, age ranges, and genders, which is an important factor to consider, given that April 2020 statistics from the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education cite that over 75 percent of teachers are female. That figure is even higher for preschool and kindergarten teachers: Over 95 percent are female. In addition, there is the possibility for more specific targeting, including by interests and detailed demographics (education, employment, household and lifestyle details). Certain job titles, such as “Kindergarten Teacher,” can be specified for ad targeting. A big upside to Facebook advertising is the scale of impact on the short term. By spending a total of $10 over just three days, we were able to get 700 impressions and 27 link clicks, for a cost per link click of $0.37. Facebook is definitely a go-to advertising platform to see fast results.
2. Pinterest: A Longer-Term Commitment
We chose to advertise on Pinterest as well. Although less common as a social media platform than Facebook, according to the same study, educators are close to three times more likely to use Pinterest than the general public. This is because Pinterest users tend to have a future-oriented mindset, which is common among teachers who may be using the platform to find lesson plans, resources, or new teaching ideas for their classrooms.
On Pinterest, we set up a consideration campaign with the goal of finding new customers. When setting up a campaign, Pinterest allows ad creators to identify interests and keywords, which guide user reach based on search words and other pins that they engage with. To reach early education teachers on Pinterest, we focused on interests nested under the Education category, specifically Preschool and Teacher Resources. There is also the option of specifying demographics, including choosing specific age groups, genders, locations, or languages. It is important to note that the Pinterest algorithm takes time to learn which types of users are most likely to interact with your pins, so you will need to run ads for longer periods of time. Yet even with a smaller budget, your pins can have an impact. Using a $3 daily budget we grew close to 1,500 impressions per day on average over one month.
3. Reddit and Clubhouse Can Build Community
Beyond paid advertising, there are other ways to reach teachers through social media, especially on platforms that are more community-focused. Reddit is a great example of this type of platform with its “subreddits,” or smaller communities that are centered around a certain topic or theme, such as r/teachers, or even more specific ones, like r/ECEProfessionals, for early childhood education professionals. Another community-based platform where teachers connect is Clubhouse. It’s a newer audio platform where users participate in or listen to conversations. There are many educator clubs that have formed on Clubhouse, with rooms and events centered around a wide variety of topics, almost like a virtual teachers lounge. It is valuable to check out these community-focused platforms to better understand the current conversations that are happening in the education space.
When it comes to choosing which products and platforms are used in the classroom, more often than not, administrators are the final decision-makers. However, for the product to be successful in the classroom, teachers must be excited by it. If they are, administrators will likely be as well. At Cognitive ToyBox, we value our teachers. We make sure that our teachers always feel heard, which is why we include them throughout our sales process in order to hear about the issues that they are currently facing and how we can best support them. Marketing to teachers will empower them to use our products and platforms in the classroom, and their excitement for these products is critical to the success of all students.