Increasing international student recruitment through cost-effective digital display advertising

Increasing international student recruitment through cost-effective digital display advertising

Heriot Watt University of Dubai

The brief

Our client sought to target advertising for their portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate taught and research programmes to prospective students in a range of target international markets across the Middle East and Asia, where there had been very little previous advertising.

The campaign goal was to generate student enquiries across the programme portfolio, allowing the University to identify both potential recruitment ‘hotspots’, and territories that were initially unresponsive to their programmes and that may require an even more tailored approach in future campaigns. Campaign performance was judged on its ability to deliver high volumes of traffic at a cost-effective level, and on the volume and quality of programme leads generated.

The solution

Our campaign was designed to apply judicious use of the Google Display Network (GDN), placing advertisements in contextually relevant and brand -safe environments, for both UG and PG audiences. Traffic volumes were recorded using Google Analytics, with geographic segmentation, and agreed quality metrics, including Bounce Rate, Dwell Times, and Goals completed.

The campaign also included relevant content on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram) and education listing portals such as StudyPortals and Hot Courses.

The results

UG and PG traffic delivered to the website significantly surpassed our client’s expectations, in terms of both volume and quality, allowing us to set a benchmark against which we could judge and refine future performance.

The number of programme leads generated across the target regions were higher than the admissions team anticipated, providing a far greater level of ROI from this campaign than expected.

This campaign has since been refined in approach and expanded in both the level of funding and geographic scope to form a key part of the client’s recruitment strategies in the subsequent two years.

Over 40% increase in leads generated YoY

Organic Website traffic increased by 41% YoY

Over 300 million ad impressions

Expanded audience reach within targeted regions