Five ad tactics that are getting our experts excited ahead of Clearing

Five ad tactics that are getting our experts excited ahead of Clearing

Based on our ten years of specialist student marketing experience, recognising and delivering killer creative concepts, our leading partnerships with the likes of Google and Facebook and armed with more knowledge than any other (we wrote the book, literally) – we’ve continued to help institutions smash their Clearing targets again and again.

On the 15th May, we’ll be broadcasting a live webinar highlighting the secrets to our incredibly effective advertising before, during and after A-level results day. And to give you a sneak peek, we caught up with Net Natives’ Head of Global Advertising, Tom Setter, to let us in on some of the new developments that his team are excited to put into action during 2018.

Linking digital to the physical – Digital Out of Home and dynamic content

WEB_170316_SpecialReport_Image1For maximum impact, Out of Home (OOH) should be included in all strategic Clearing campaigns as it often provides the stimulus for active behaviour. With a new study from the OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) claiming OOH is the most effective channel for driving search, with over 45% of people having gone online after seeing an OOH ad, OOH is fantastic for brand awareness. Something Google has nailed with their DOOH campaigns.

Great mediums traditionally used by universities include roadside and bus stop 6-sheets, but you can reach a broader audience by adding sites in or around pubs, gyms and cinemas. Use dynamic content feeds to link Out of Home to your audience’s digital activity, driving engagement and connecting OOH to the digital ecosystem.  

Programmatic – incorporating rich media and video

Programmatic can be used for all stages of the advertising funnel and the creative formats we can use vary widely.

When looking at a full funnel approach, consider video and other high impact formats across the awareness phase of your campaign. Branding is essential for any clients that are looking to engage new audiences. Rich media can be utilised at all phases of the funnel, whether that be a brand message, or dynamic remarketing. Creative is at the heart of any great advertising campaign, so utilising the right format for your KPI is essential to success. High impact, rich media such as Lightboxes, Backdrops and Billboards will all look fantastic and make your brand look brilliant.

Facebook Messenger Home Ads

The National Clearing Survey found that 58% of Clearing students are using Facebook Messenger on a daily basis to communicate with their friends. Although it’s just a small part of the platform, take advantage of Messenger’s reach and run ads on the app’s home screen that drive user engagement. Messenger ads work just like any other ads on Facebook, and when users tap on your creative, they’ll be sent to the destination you choose, whether that’s your site, app or a conversation.

Facebook Video and Image Ads

Although this isn’t the newest or most exciting ad development on the scene, it’s important not to forget the basics. And this is a great tactic which delivers high quality, engaging, brand level content to a broad audience. Use this tactic in the early part of Clearing to present a broad experience of your university – lifestyle, clubs and societies, accessibility, support, identity – these are the broad themes students care about. Later in the cycle, target with subject-specific ads.

Search Click to Text

65% of consumers say they’d consider using messaging to connect with a business to get information about a product or service or to schedule an in-person appointment. The National Clearing Survey found that 33% of students would like to use a Live Chat service to secure their place versus 10% who actually did. Incorporating Click to Text ads in your Clearing campaigns could increase lead gen and conversions. Check out the Search example below. Tapping on the texting option launches a user’s SMS app with a pre-written message tailored to the course they’re interested in.


We hope these five tips give you some idea of just some of the exciting options open to you ahead of A-level results day. The promotion ecosystem is a complicated one and students have more choice in Clearing than ever before. Make sure your advertising and promotion is connected and delivered at the key moments.

We’ll be talking in more detail about these five tactics in our upcoming webinar; ‘How can universities smash their Clearing campaigns this summer?’ on the 15th May. You can sign up for the free webinar here.

If you’d like to speak to our Clearing experts about your campaign or any other aspect of your student marketing strategy, get in touch.