This April, we presented the initial findings from the Higher Education Marketing Survey with Times Higher Education. 

With responses from over 300 education marketers worldwide, including a large segment from the UK, the webinar provided valuable insight into the latest marketing trends and tactics. It reviewed everything from the priorities of institutions’ in-house marketing departments to their annual budgets and technology solutions. Our Net Natives strategists then explained how these institutions can compare these insights to their own current capabilities and use them to drive performance.

So, how exactly does your marketing strategy measure up against other UK universities? Here are a few of the key takeaways.

First, many universities want to improve their recruitment strategies.

  • 77% of respondents ranked meeting/exceeding enrollment targets as their top priority
  • 66% of respondents want to improve their conversion rates 
  • 38% of respondents would like to improve their brand positioning

If you’re struggling to recruit prospective students, you’re not alone. The majority of participating universities are in similar boats with stretched conversion targets, and a substantial number want to level up their brand positioning. This suggests that you may need to adjust the platforms you’re using to connect with prospective students, as well as the messaging you’re sharing. 

We work with universities all over the world to help them find their voice in this busy space, engaging students to stop scrolling and find out more. Have a look at what we came up with for NYU Silver when it came to promoting their two main programs in need of an enrollment boost.

The survey also revealed that 36% of institutions want to increase diversity within their student body. And promoting diversity starts with student recruitment. What are you doing to make your applications accessible to students of all backgrounds? What makes your university a safe space for minority students? Overall, if you’re not meeting enrollment targets, it may be time to rethink your marketing strategy and the type of content you’re promoting.

Another important finding from the survey was the shift in advertising budgets. 

The majority of respondents to the survey (36%) had an advertising budget between £100k and £299k.

  • Nearly 50% of respondents have maintained the same budget over the last year
  • 14% of respondents have had a budget decrease of up to 10% 

For institutions looking for a guideline on how much they should be spending on advertising, it seems like around £200k is the standard. Of course, every university has its own budgetary demands – some may be able to spend more, while others will need to be more frugal. 

Whether your budget is increasing, decreasing or remaining the same, it’s safe to say that all universities want to maximize conversions and get the most out of every dollar they spend. While having a smaller budget can be a challenge, it doesn’t mean you can’t meet your marketing objectives. It’s all about finding the right strategy. Ensuring that you can track true ROI and cost per enrollment is critical to making sure every penny counts. Through using Akero, one UK institution client saw a huge 44.6% decrease in cost per lead because of the advanced tracking capabilities Akero offers. Want to find out more? Head this way.

And on that note, the survey covered what universities are lacking in their marketing strategies. 

  • Almost 40% of respondents aren’t tracking their cost per application
  • Over 30% of respondents don’t know how they measure up against the competition
  • Approximately 45% of respondents don’t know their lead times

Like we said, it’s difficult to craft an effective marketing strategy when key information is missing. How are you supposed to maximize your budget if you don’t know your cost per application? How are you supposed to get a leg up on the competition if you’re not keeping track of what they’re doing? Leveraging this data is key to connecting with prospective students. 

These insights help us better help you and understand the challenges you face so thank you for everyone that got involved. The next steps? Why not take part in the next Higher Education Marketing Survey 2022/2023?

By participating, you’ll contribute insightful data that helps broaden our understanding of student marketing models on a global level. Not to mention, we’ll connect you to focus groups where you can engage with other universities and give you access to the data through Akero.

With your Akero Data Labs dashboard, you can complete the following: 

  • Identify which segments you should be targeting
  • Discover where there is potential to grow market share
  • Unlock cost per enrollment metrics and maximize your budget 
  • Develop an effective marketing strategy based on real data

To take advantage of these key findings, sign up for Akero Data Labs today

If you want to find out more about what was covered in the live session, get in touch and our team will be happy to share the slides and insights with you. And if you have any questions about participating in next year’s survey or using Akero, get in touch at

Article by

Karina Thadani

Content and Campaigns Executive