How crunching some numbers can help you beat the pack

Head of Business Intelligence, Lety Kemp

Results Day online marketing has become such an intense race among universities that the first minutes of a Boxing Day salenow pale by comparison.

Today, student recruitment is a fiercely competitive business. Universities offering an ever-wider array of courses compete for a dwindling number of students, and this has turned choosing a university into a buyers’ market.

On Results Day students count on their most trusted weapon to help them pick a winner: their mobile phones. 2018 was the first year where Clearing related Google search on mobile devices surpassed desktop. Despite some hints that the University Clearing process may change, August 15 2019 (or August 6 if you´re in Scotland) will be no different.

How to be visible online

For universities, student recruitment has become a complex marketing task. Consulting firm Deloitte predicts that over the next 12 months education will expand its marketing budget more than any other sector (by over 20%). Moreover, given the buying behaviour of digital natives, much of the marketing activities are to be taken online.

Authors Pucciarelli and Kaplan discuss the consequences of the “commercialization” of education in an article for Business Horizons (2016), and it might be a good idea to follow some of their tips.

They stress the need for higher education institutions, now acting as quasi-companies to adopt an appropriate strategy. Three critical success factors are identified:

  1. Enhance prestige and market share;
  2. Embrace an entrepreneurial mindset;
  3. Rapidly transform your strategy according to your demographic’s expectations: digital native generation Z.

Being visible online on Results Day has become vital; as this is the first place where your audience will be going. To be found online is yet another challenge, but certainly the key to success.

Making sure your university comes up on the first page, attracting visitors and converting them to enrolment takes time and money. However, with the right digital strategy in place, you can get the most out of your resources.

Data helps you get your digital strategy right

If you´re flying blind on Results Day, you could end up paying more than you need. If you have data though, you can get a solid Clearing strategy that is based on learning from past years.

Visualising previous Clearing data can make all the difference to your budget and success rate. We have some examples from our research comparing Clearing data in 2017 and 2018, after we sliced and diced the data by hour, TEF-classification as well as Russel or non-Russell Group.

When we saw that the price of clicks and click-to-call ads were costing hour per hour, we understood that there were some patterns to actions.

Some of what we found in a nutshell:

  • Some unis opened their hotlines at 6 am to get a headstart first, which turned out to be too early for students to call.
  • Students might be using a top-down approach when contacting unis: Gold Russell Group first, then gold non-Russel Group, then silver Russell Group and so on.
  • The most expensive time for click to call ads were 7 and 8 AM, but unis getting these earlier calls were Gold Russell Group.

Speak to us

If you pondered these questions and found that you do not have all the answers, please get in touch – [email protected] – 01792 709184. Let’s start a conversation about how we as an agency can help you gain a competitive advantage through our data.

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