IMU (International Medical University) is a local private medical & science university located in Bukit Jalil. We’ve taken a look at their Facebook ad, and while they are informational, we can’t help but notice some ‘common mistakes’ being made on their ads that may be impacting their Facebook campaign performance.

At Cause Effect, we have experience as digital advertising consultants for colleges/universities such as KDU, so we’re quite familiar with structuring ad campaigns strategies for universities and colleges as our clients.

Let’s take a look at IMU’s Facebook ads and see how we can improve them. After we’ve gone through the potential improvements to the ads, we’ll discuss what type of audience IMU should be targeting with their ad campaigns.

Ad 1

What’s Nice

  • The ad copy is quite well written!
  • By stating that it requires only 2 steps to apply, it breaks the perception of medical-related courses being difficult to apply for.
  • Now that users know that the application process is easy and only has 2 steps, this may increase the click through rate of the ad.

What Could be Bad

  • We noticed that the choice of font for the “MEDICINE” text is quite unsuitable for the ad. It stands out from the rest of the text in the visual, but that’s because it looks really odd, in our opinion.
  • To keep the branding guideline intact, we would suggest using a font that’s showcased on their website so that the ad can be in accordance with IMU’s branding guidelines.
  • A common Facebook ad tip is to use the headline to grab the viewer’s attention. This headline is asking the viewer to apply for the course now, but it could be written in a more interesting way in order to grab the viewer’s attention.

How to Improve

  • Increase the text size for ‘Nurturing Doctors of the Future’ & ‘Feb 2019 Intake’, this will make the text easier to read and help increase the ad’s click through rate.
  • When a viewer scrolls down the newsfeed, the first thing that grabs their attention is either the image or the headline. But it depends on how well they were designed/written. Perhaps a more interesting headline like ‘Passionate About Saving People’s Lives?’ would be more  engaging than the current one which says “apply now”.
  • The original ad copy is fine. But perhaps we could spice things up by replacing the ad copy with interesting statistical data like: ‘Doctors in Malaysia save thousands of lives each year’. This creates an emotional connection with interested viewers which might encourage them to engage with the ad.

Our take

Here’s our take on the ad. Notice the choice of font and colour contrast with the background which makes the text on the ad more eye-catching and impactful.

The new copy and headline are also more intriguing than before, creating an emotional connection with viewers and potentially increasing the click through rate of the ad.

Ad 2

What’s nice

  • Good use of orange to stand out more in the crowded bluish Facebook news feed, although the shade could be a bit brighter for maximum effect.
  • The image of a nurse smiling does a good job of selling the profession in question.
  • Stating ‘Guaranteed Employment’ gives viewers a very good reason to follow through with joining IMU.

What Could be Bad

  • We think the words in the visual are slightly crowded.
  • The dark pale green color of the ‘Apply Now’ call to action (CTA) doesn’t mix well with the orange background. Plus, the CTA doesn’t make us feel like we should click it as it is.
  • The smallest sized text in the image may be too small for viewers who are using their mobile phones.
  • These are common mistakes in ad creation that most people don’t realise could hurt their ad performance.

How to Improve

  • Make the visuals clearer and easier to read by brightening the orange background and adjusting the colour and sizing of the text.
  • Make the “apply now” CTA more convincing by re-positioning and re-designing how it appears in the ad.
  • The current photo of the nurse is alright, but it could be improved by selecting a photo that does a better job of portraying the caring nature of the profession.

Our Take

Here’s our take on the ad. The words in the visual are now clearer and easier to read compared to the original ad, and we’ve also brightened the orange a little more so that the ad stands out even more.

The ‘Apply Now’ is now thicker and a little bigger. Plus, it’s on a red rectangle to make look more like a button to initiate action.

We’ve also managed to find a brighter photo with more caring faces that we think may sell the profession better. People who are empathetic and want to have a job that care for others may get a higher emotional connection with the ad visual of a nurse caring for her patient.

Another thing that we felt could help improve the ad was relocating the ‘Full Sponsorship and Guaranteed Employment Available’ in the original ad image to the headline of the ad.

This makes for a really good reason to click the CTA, so an attractive headline could be:  Full Sponsorship + Guaranteed Employment.

Ad 3

What’s Nice

  • Professionally taken images of students posing together with the facilities display the learning environment better and in a more favorable light.
  • Although there was a grammatical error in the ad copy, it does pose a question to potential students and raise curiosity in them, so it was well written in that regard.
  • Coupled with good and precise targeting and slightly improved imagery, this copy could generate good results.

What Could be Bad

  • Again, a common ad creation mistake is tiny text that is hard to read and may cause the viewers to skip the ad.
  • As we mentioned before, there’s a grammatical error in the copy – ‘but is uncertain’ should be: ‘but are uncertain’.
  • The choice of text in the headlines doesn’t really make good use of the opportunity to engage with potential students.

How to Improve

  • The current images used in the ad are appropriate, but results could be improved if we went with something a little more eye-catching.
  • Similarly, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the headlines being used in this ad, but we could improve the click through rate if we reworked it to potentially engage the audience better.

Here’s our take! Taking the space constraints of the ad into account, we’ve removed the course descriptions as we believe that the course titles are already self explanatory. Having too much information in the ad is problematic as it reduces the viewers’ focus on information that is more important e.g. intake dates.

We also needed a more suitable font for the ad, so we used one that’s currently used on their website for branding consistency.

The branding requirements of this ad are to show professionalism – which is fine, but it does make it difficult for the ad to stand out. We added a border around the image to adhere to the branding guidelines while maximising the visual impact on viewers for a higher click through rate.

As headlines are one of the main attracting factors of an ad, we thought that the current ones could be better written.

For example:

  • 1. Do you want to be a doctor?
  • 2. Or a Nurse?
  • 3. Or a Pharmacist?

With these headlines posing as questions, it makes the viewers subconsciously process the question in their minds and require them to make a decision of what profession they want to choose – an effective way of engaging the audience and making them more likely to follow through on the CTA.

Target Audiences

Audience 1 – Parents who are Interested in Enrolling Their Kids

Let’s face it: It’s the parents who are more interested (and worried!) in searching for the best colleges/universities for their kids.  So, how can we target parents who are more likely to click on a university Facebook ad?

Well, on a wide scale of audiences, we can pick parents who currently have children aged 18-26.

Next, we can also experiment with parents who have children aged 18 – 26 while also having liked university/college Facebook pages in Malaysia.

To further narrow our targeting, let’s take the 2nd target audience we just made and further narrow them down to those who have liked content related to medical courses. With this narrowed targeting, the chances of the audience clicking on the ad are much much higher.

The downside to this is that the audience size is much much smaller than the wider audience that we mentioned above.

Audience 2 – Lookalike of Current Students or Their parents’ Emails

By collecting IMU students’ emails or even their parents’ emails, we can make them into a custom audience. 

From there, we can make lookalike audiences. If you’re unsure of what a lookalike audience is, we’ve actually described it in our previous article featuring  Dahmakan.

By utilising this lookalike audience, we’re able to show our ads to people on Facebook who have similar characteristics & behaviours as the custom audience that consists of the students/parents’ emails.

Audience 3 – Retargeting IMU Website Visitors

We can see that IMU already has a FB pixel installed on their website, so it’s safe to say that they’re probably already running a re-targeting ad campaign.

Most of the website visitors usually have a higher probability of clicking on IMU ads. We say usually, because it’s not necessarily people who want to enroll in medical courses.

The website visitors could be people who are simply curious, web developers who are looking for web design inspirations, or even marketing teams from different universities trying to study their competitors.


We think that the marketing side at IMU can greatly improve their ad campaigns with our suggestions.

We might just be able to help them to save more on advertising while making their ads even more effective.

Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in maximising your ad performance and boosting the digital presence of your business!

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