As one of the most exciting countries in the world, the United States of America offers a truly unique experience, for every international student who chooses to study in one of the 50 vibrant states. From the bright lights of Manhattan, to the beaches in California or the snowy landscapes in Colorado; international students are spoiled for choice.

On top of what will no doubt be an enriched cultural experience, the educational system in America is home to some of the most prestigious institutions in the word. So, it’s no wonder that the USA has the highest number of international students attending their colleges and universities. If that wasn’t enough, a HSBC survey revealed that the USA was the top choice for parents who were considering a University abroad for their child.

But, how are you making sure it’s your College or University they're attending?

With high competition from both your neighboring institutions, as well as across the pond in Europe, you need to make sure you are doing everything possible to stand out from the crowd, to maximize enrollments from international student markets. This is where digital marketing comes in…

Ok, so how can you tap into the top international student markets for the USA?


With over 300,000 students choosing America as a study destination, China is the largest international market. Chinese students tend to lean towards program specific rankings, as opposed to the institution as a whole when making their choice. Therefore, it’s important that your marketing reflects program specific ads, showing off your institution’s facilities:

  • Ensure you are using Baidu (China’s leading search platform) and social media to engage with this demographic - 90% of Chinese students will use social media when looking at possible places to study.
  • Ask your current students from China for testimonials, which you can promote via digital campaigns; the Chinese student population responds well to peer reviews.


International mobility for the student community in India is on the rise, which makes them an ideal market to continue to tap into.

  • Make sure that your digital marketing campaigns are launched on Facebook and are fully responsive. Statistics show that Facebook is the most popular platform for people in India, with 70% interacting with the social media app via their smartphone.
  • The top programs searched for are Nursing and Engineering. Ensure that you are running targeted digital campaigns which promote these types of programs at your University or College.

Latin America

In Brazil alone, international students have increased by 600% since 2003, with social media and email marketing looking to be the most successful methods of recruiting. Automated email campaigns, with targeted messaging, varying on where they are in the conversion funnel, is an excellent way to keep your leads warm.

  • The student market in Latin America react well to video content; maybe your institution would benefit from a dynamic 360° video, showcasing the facilities it has to offer?
  • Ensure that all your content is fully responsive, mobile usage in this region is at an all-time high.
  • All digital ads and messaging need to be targeted accordingly to maximize conversion. Remember, the main languages spoken in Latin America are Spanish, Portuguese and English.

What should you be doing in the fall?

It’s important to make sure you’re delivering the right messaging, at the right time in the academic year. During the fall, you want to be making sure you’re promoting your College or University to prospective students. Virtual Open Houses are becoming a popular (and impressive) way to showcase the facilities of your institution; this works particularly well for an international market where traveling to an Open House in person might prove difficult.

Article by


Matt Payne

Senior Marketing Executive