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Ready to target your ideal K12 customer?

Teacher online

Let’s dive into how this all works specifically for the Educational Marketer.  We will use a K-12 educational product use case here to explain this. Let’s call this educational marketing company “Playground Time” and they sell playground equipment with a target audience of Elementary School Principals and District Superintendents as their target prospect audience.  MCH has comprehensive lists of both these titles, but for this customer, let's say MCH agreed to create two separate groups of these titles – eliminating the largest school districts and the very smallest school districts and focusing on more affluent areas. For discussion’s sake let’s say this more targeted list comes to 20,000 total ideal prospect targets for Playground Time.  In the Programmatic Digital world this is called a “custom audience".  Once MCH has created this audience, we load it to our aggregator partner. They then match this audience to their database and post on MCH's account a final list of the matched audience record IDs. Typically, the MCH aggregator match rate is about 80%-90% - which means that on an audience o 20,000 we would expect about 16,000 - 18,000 records that could be targeted with digital advertisements. This number can vary widely based on approach and targeted audience.

What is provided to MCH is a file of matched record IDs and nothing else. This file is not attached to the uploaded file, it is a stand-alone delivery, randomized. MCH and advertisers DO NOT get access to exactly who is being targeted beyond it is a subset of the records that were provided. This is how privacy is maintained. Advertisers are not gaining access to the educator details – this is in sharp contrast to how direct mail lists and email lists worked as marketers usually get that information when they order the marketing data. In Programmatic campaigns it is a team effort. No one in the process gets access to any identifiable information on who is being targeted, so there are no data breach possibilities and no one in the process has access to keep any identifiable information about any people they are marketing too. Likewise, an aggregator does not store any characteristics about a person beyond their contact information. The fact that MCH knows our list of people are all Principals and Superintendents of particularly selected school districts is what MCH brings to the table. An aggregator intentionally does not save any of that. It is how they keep the process privacy compliant, and it is what allows the process to work for both sides. If the aggregators were to keep the details, then companies like MCH would not work with them, because our data would quickly become their data. For this relationship to work properly, MCH (and others) have to be confident that the aggregator is not trying to create some all-knowing database on people. Companies like MCH that have targeted information on individuals are companies that got permission to gather that information (or collect it through public sources) and are still protecting that information for their own authorized uses.


How Does It All Work?

Over the years this generic contact data has grown and the crosswalk links to work information has been the major break-through improvement over the last 5 years or so.  Back before the pandemic MCH attempted to match our educational lists to a popular aggregator database, but the match rate was under 12%. 

Amazed guy

This is a game changer.

Today we are able to match over 90%.

As time progresses the Playground Time campaign continues to constantly look for individuals in our targeted set of Principals and Superintendents and each time one of these individuals are online (reading a digital publication or going to a social networking site) that publication or site will have the chance to grab the Playground Time ad and show it to one of these individuals for the bid price quoted by Playground Time. The ad exchanges act as an auction site and will typically allow the publisher to pick the advertiser willing to pay the highest price to serve an ad to a particular individual. Not every targeted individual is certain to see the Playground Time advertisement, but progressive metrics are easily obtainable in real time to see how well the campaign is working and how many impressions and individuals have been reached. 

Once a set of targeted Ids have been created. MCH can post this Audience set so an advertiser like Playground Time can pull it down and use it.  Playground Time is not charged for the list of IDs, but instead for each advertising impression that is generated once that audience is deployed with an advertisement. Playground Time can then have their advertising agency pull the data down and deploy the campaign, or MCH Strategic Data can do the actual creation and campaign deployment too.


To place the advertisements into circulation you need access to a Demand Side Platform (DSP) service. These subscriptions can be costly, and the software capabilities are complex. Typically, only large scale programmatic digital marketing agencies take the plunge to license the needed software. So, most educational marketers turn to digital advertising agencies or have MCH run the campaigns for them. The Ad agency (or MCH) will then make an advertisement (Banner Ad) that targets the right message that Playground Time wants to send to this audience. A landing page will be needed to manage audience prospects that click through. The Banner advertisement is then posted using the DSP software on an ad-exchange with the list of Ramp Ids to target and a bid price Playground Time is willing to pay to display the ad to these ids. When this audience of superintendents and principals are online reading, watching, or listening to any one of thousands of publications, content sites or social media platforms, they are identified by their device IP addresses or potentially their logged in email addresses. Each time an ad is served, the DSP tracks that served impression, and they are paid a fee for doing all this. MCH, the ad-exchanges and the content site that show the banner advertisement also earn a fee in the process. This is all calculated and handled by the technology platforms that run the process, and it happens with zero human intervention. The advertiser funds are collected by the platforms and the fees are credited to the appropriate partner accounts.

In MCH’s case, we know our list of people is a list of selected school Principals and Superintendents and our partner aggregator knows how to reach them on their cell phone, tablet, personal email, work email, etc. with digital ads. We get the list of Unique Identifiers from the aggregator, and they get to keep the matching contact info on those individuals (phone, email and address that we have supplied). It takes both parties to make something truly useful and that is the power of the channel.

Almost every campaign parameter can be easily adjusted by the DSP software to achieve the desired results faster or slower. There are many settings and options that are possible, so we are only scraping the surface with this explanation. 

We've discussed a little bit about what this means for privacy concerns, but how does that really work?

Ready to target your ideal K12 customer?

Ready to target your ideal K12 customer?

Ready to target your ideal K12 customer?

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