Let’s take a peek behind the scenes of our campaigns from the summer

Let’s take a peek behind the scenes of our campaigns from the summer

We caught up with our Advertising team to hear their tips and tactics from this year’s summer campaigns…

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Advanced audiences: how to use first-party audiences in a strategic way

When tasked with planning targeting for a niche course or faculty, it’s often the case that Facebook’s interest targeting capabilities do not offer enough room for manoeuvre in reaching the right audience. So, this summer the team took a new approach to targeting for one of our international clients, planning their strategy months ahead of the live date.

The idea was to utilise lookalike audiences built from high intent first-party data to test against a more traditional Interest/Demographic targeting approach. The ability to collect large amounts of first-party data through the placement of pixels, engagement with Facebook pages and email lists meant the team had vast troves of pre-qualified audiences at their disposable to remarket to, or build lookalikes from. These audiences were then used to compare against the effectiveness of more traditional interest targeting.

And the result? Using first-party audiences more strategically, generated more high-quality leads, leading to higher conversion rates. In contrast, the Interest targeting ad set failed to produce a lead before being turned off. It also had a CTR that was 50% lower and a CPC that was 228% higher than the Lead Gen Form lookalike ad set.

Why brand awareness matters

Other than the obvious of course.

But when one university came to us this summer, concerned they lacked brand awareness in the run-up to A-level Results Day, it was essential we were able to roll out pre-Clearing activity in preparation for their PPC and Social campaigns during the summer months.

Boosting brand awareness in this way meant the team were able to use direct brand keywords on A-level Results Day to attract a higher score from Google and significantly reduce the CPC.

Interestingly, the team also tracked linear conversions through a series of key points in the user journey, giving them insight into where the traffic their campaigns were driving was actually going during various stages of the funnel – offering a wealth of useful data into user behaviour.

Delivering results on a low budget? Think outside the box

Delivering campaigns that are within budget and meet our clients’ expectations means we often have to think outside of the box. Particularly during Clearing.

After plenty of research, and despite the platform having an older user base, the team knew that Bing still receives a spike in activity on A-level Results Day. This could partly be down to voice search devices, such as Alexa and Cortana which run on Bing as default, becoming more prevalent. And for one London university, this meant they were able to receive high levels of traffic at a lower cost for the more expensive Clearing and course-related terms.

Similarly for another campaign, by thinking more strategically about keywords, the team narrowed down and created a highly-specific theme for the keywords that allowed them to generate a high number of clicks on a very limited budget.

Quantitatively identify creative that works

How do you know what types of images will get you the most traction? Or what words will be best used for a particular subject course?

These are all questions one US client faced when looking to attract international students to their Creative Writing course. Wanting to test two distinct sets of imagery, students in learning environments vs striking landscapes and buildings, we chose one image from each set and worked with one set of copy to run controlled split tests, testing the four variations against each other with the same audience.

The ability to test multi variants against one another demonstrated a clear winner, producing 43% of the total form submissions, the winning variation was then used for the remainder of the campaign, resulting in a 15% reduction in cost-per-application.

Take a different approach to Google Search pre-Clearing

Clearing is expected to be more competitive than ever before. To be more efficient and effective in how you place bids it’s essential that you carry out the necessary research to allow your budget to be stretched further during those critical moments before A-level Results Day.

For one client in particular, we deliberately focused the pre-Clearing strategy around several high volume/high intent keywords that do not reference ‘Clearing’ as part of the users’ initial search. Executing this strategy, as a result, drove a £0.40 cheaper CP Click vs Clearing specific keywords, while also unearthing some high-value search terms that can be utilised in the University’s subject-specific search campaigns later on in the summer.

Understanding what your prospective students will be searching is not only important to how you chose to manage your campaigns and place your bids, but it’s also necessary for landing page optimisation and aiding how content creators align their strategy to best suit the needs of these students in the lead up to the big day.

Using interest targeting on social to boost engagement

The objective of this particular campaign was to increase engagement with the University’s Facebook page to promote a number of their postgraduate courses. Wanting to measure how effective social influence and targeting peer groups can be, three different ad sets were defined as three audiences, each with different criteria for the likelihood of engagement. Results were favourable for those who were friends of those who already followed and/or like the University page with a higher CTR and a 75% lower cost-per-click. Going forward, the University can now capitalise on the shares/likes of those that have engaged with their brand and use their influence on friends to promote the University further.

Further to segmenting the campaign based on audience type and the likelihood of engagement, segmenting based on placement also demonstrated some impressive results. Although Instagram produced an overall higher volume of post and page engagement, likes, shares and comments were higher on Facebook.

How retargeting works across social to re-engage leads

When it comes to trying to re-engage your PG audience, we know that using two different platforms and retargeting those ‘uncontactable’ leads with a new message works well.

For one University looking to re-engaged a PG audience, we used Facebook Link Posts and LinkedIn Sponsored Posts to promote the University’s webinar outlining the benefits of their Online Masters courses, retargeted to the same audience. And the result? Facebook proved to be a much more suitable platform for retargeting disengaged leads for Postgraduate-level study with significantly more link clicks than LinkedIn, and a 39% lower cost-per-lead.

As always, if you’d like to discuss how Net Natives can help you reach your student recruitment goals and improve your campaigns, get in touch here.