University of Huddersfield boosts Open Day registrations through a reinvigorated digital marketing strategy

The University of Huddersfield is a TEF gold-rated university which is widely-recognised for its world-class teaching and its success in developing students as independent learners. A key objective for the university is to encourage prospective students to visit campus and experience student life at an Open Day which greatly increases the chances of attendees enrolling at Huddersfield.

The Brief

  • Promote the University’s five undergraduate Open Days
  • Maximise registrations by achieving strong conversion rates and lowering Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Brief and collaborate with the University’s design agency to deliver engaging creative across all media formats

Approach

  • Establish an ‘always on’ integrated digital media presence across Search, Social, Video and Programmatic channels
  • Built detailed “Audience” targeting from demographic profiles, first-party data, and custom affinities to pair influential messages with people who would respond to it
  • Utilised RH’s real-time reporting platform to measure registrations, optimise conversion rates, and drive-down Cost per Acquisition

Results

  • 50% of Open Day registrations attributed to campaign interactions
  • 37% increase in Open Day registration conversion rate
  • 36% increase in overall YoY Open Day registrations
  • Observed uplift in Open Day registrations from “new” locations targeted by the campaign

RH was tasked by the University to increase the number of signups to their undergraduate open days and build brand awareness across their full range of degree programmes. They also asked us to harvest any valuable insights into their target audience which could then inform their ongoing student engagement strategy.
Our planning and insight tools revealed that student journey towards University is becoming increasingly long and more complicated.

The campaign presented an opportunity to reach out to potential students who had yet to decide which University they were going to. So, as well as promoting Open Days and securing registrations, we used bespoke video content to share the achievements of current University students and offer a taste of student life before even arriving on campus.

In order to build engagement with students early in their decision-making process, we utilised the full range of digital media channels including paid search, social media, and remarketing for maximum visibility and to secure a dominant share of voice in a highly competitive market. To allow us maximise results, we developed detailed audience personas within our ad targeting – giving us control over not just where advertising was seen, but who saw it too. This yielded engagement rates over double the typical average for the HE industry.

Working closely with the University of Huddersfield’s internal web and CRM teams meant we could optimise the performance of all aspects of the campaign on a constant basis. With prospective students increasingly using mobile devices to access HE content, we quickly identified where improvements could be made to the University’s web experience for smartphone users, leading to sharp increase in Open Day registration conversion rates by 37% YoY. This had a direct impact on the number of registrations secured by the Open Day campaign, lowering average Cost per Acquisition (CPA) and drastically increasing ROI.

Campaign measurement, via Analytics, attributed over 50% of Open Day registrations directly to RH’s campaign. Our ability to quickly adapt to emerging trends contributed to a highly successful Open Day cycle for the University, who saw a 36% increase in YoY registrations overall.

As well as reaching over 1.2 million prospective students and generating nearly 200,000 additional website visits, post-campaign analysis revealed that people were engaging with the University earlier in their decision-making process earlier than ever before. Many registrations took over two weeks from a user’s initial interaction with the University – an insight we will use to adjust our strategy for future campaigns.

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