Every month we look forward to our regular dose of what's working (and what's not!) from our expert Advertising team, keeping us on our toes and continuing to build the most successful student recruitment campaigns. This month's glimpse behind the scenes was particularly insightful that we couldn't possibly keep it all to ourselves?

Net Natives Advertising Team

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.


Article by


Megan Dillon

Content Marketing Executive