"I am looking forward to continuing to work on the USA campaign with SearchStar and striving to achieve good results. Lucy and Will clearly know their stuff and are well-placed in their respective areas of digital advertising. Viewing data and actually understanding it are often different. SearchStar are great at helping us dig into the detail."
UWE Bristol is a thriving, modern university that has been climbing UK university league tables for several years, becoming well known for student satisfaction and high employability rates for graduates.
Only 3% of American students study in the South West, and 0.2% at UWE Bristol. We were tasked with driving enquiries from potential applications and introducing them to a nurture track, providing reassurance and advice along the path to application.
While driving enquiries was the key KPI for the campaign, this campaign needed to be more than just lead generation. It needed to educate and inspire potential applicants and demonstrate why applying to UWE Bristol was the best option for them.
At the same time, unable to compete financially with large American institutions, it was important that UWE Bristol’s campaign remained efficient, and avoided wasting spend on applicants that weren’t considering international study.
Letting that efficiency shape our approach, we created a cross-channel brand awareness strategy on YouTube and Snapchat, using in-market and custom audiences to focus on prospective students researching UK study, or had an interest in the UK and were in the process of applying to university.
Leveraging YouTube TrueView, this audience was targeted with inspirational creative that showcased the vibrancy of the Bristol lifestyle. Six second Bumper Ads were deployed to retarget users who had watched the central brand awareness video to completion, to maintain initial brand interest.
Furthermore, key periods in the application cycle were emphasised with Snapchat Ads, and video-led creative was rolled out across Facebook and LinkedIn to generate leads from as wide an audience as possible. The increased volumes of traffic driven by these approaches were capitalised upon through remarketing, designed to keep UWE Bristol front of mind.
Finally, the brand awareness work was underpinned by a granular Paid Search campaign, segmented to take users looking for generic or brand terms to USA-specific landing pages or to the relevant course pages.
Overall website performance from users in the USA improved consistently each month throughout the campaign period, with greater traffic and conversion actions each month.
Users from the USA coming directly to the UWE Bristol website increased by 241% year on year, proving the significant impact of the brand awareness activity. The volume of users clicking through to start an application also increased by a huge 226%.