Why GIFs & Videos Should be a Part of your Higher Ed Creative Strategy

Thousands of companies are looking to capture their target audience’s attention online every day. Unfortunately, without more engaging methods of advertising, your creative strategy is unlikely to stand out amid the crowd of competitors. This is why using GIFs and videos can make a huge difference in your ability to succeed. They have a number of benefits that you’re unlikely to see using just images, and they give your audience a better idea of what makes your company or higher education program tick.

If you want to move people to respond positively to your online advertising efforts, your ads should also move. Here are 4 benefits to investing in ads that utilize GIFs and videos.

Capture the Attention of Prospective Students

If you’re a higher education institution, one of your target audiences is likely members of younger generations. Teenagers and young adults are often looking into secondary education, while older adults are less likely to.

Unfortunately, members of these audiences are often inundated with ads from your competitors. If you want to set your program apart and capture the attention of younger people looking to further their education, GIFs and videos are the way to go. To put it simply, ask yourself this: Would you be more likely to pay attention to a standard billboard or one that’s outside of the norm? The question answer are the same for online advertising. If every ad your program publishes closely resembles the content your competitors are posting, sooner or later, it will all become background noise for your target audience.


This is why, when creating your advertising campaigns, you must put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. If you were looking into higher education programs, would your current ads entice you to click through? Your answer should be a resounding yes, and if it isn’t, you may want to reevaluate your current techniques.

To start, ask your current students what caused them to choose your school over others. Engage with members of your target audience to learn what they’re looking for in their higher education program, and use engaging videos and GIFs to highlight how you fit those needs.

In online advertising, your goal should always be to get prospective students to stop, look, listen, and click. If you can do that, you’re guaranteed to come out ahead of the competition and get the CTRs you’re looking for.

More Opportunity to Add Information

In cases like Facebook, rules restrict the amount of text that image advertisements can contain without being penalized. With GIFs and videos, the permitted amount of text is much greater than the 20% you can put into a single frame image. This means you can add a significantly higher amount of information on your program and what you’re trying to advertise.

The more information your viewers receive about your school, the more they will be able to relate to it. When you relate to something, the possibility of you converting into a lead is significantly higher. So, if potential students like how your school is portrayed and can see themselves attending as a member of the student body, they may just click through to your website.

Here’s an example of Angelo State University’s Fall kickoff video designed to showcase the student experience to incoming students.

Another way you can include additional information is to add sound to videos, including voice overs from a dean, a current student, former students who found success, or a faculty member. The possibilities video gives you for providing a deeper look into your program are endless, and it’s about time more schools took advantage of it in their advertising campaigns. Moving advertisements give you access to those possibilities and increase your brand reputation as a school that’s relatable.

Enable Better Storytelling with Creative Strategy 

When you advertise online, you should ask yourself what the overall story is that you want to tell about your university or online program. How does that story address your target audience’s concerns and needs, and in what way does it portray your school?

Videos put a face, voice, personality, and life to your program, and they enable people to establish a connection and imagine themselves as part of the story, rather than as secondary characters. The most difficult part of advertising creating that connection. Once you make it happen, your enrollment goals will soon be met.

If you want your audience to actually engage with your program, you can’t just rely on photos to entice them to click. You have to have a conversation, and videos make doing so possible.

Improved Performance

In addition to capturing the attention of younger audiences, video ads are something that will always catch the eye. In fact, they’ve been shown to perform much better and bring in more leads than single image ads that contain stock photos. This is because they delve deeper into the overall story of your university, and they give people a better idea of what to expect when they enroll.

Videos and GIFs are also better performers because they give you more creative freedom. This said, if you are utilizing photos, you can certainly improve ad performance by adding zoom and pan effects. 

Remember, standing out amid the crowd is possible. It just requires a more personal touch.