Billed as the Black Friday in the education calendar, A Level Results Day is a day of drama, suspense, unpredictability, tears and heightened emotion? and that's just the students. Marketers take it to a whole other level.

Our education and digital specialists at Net Natives have their Clearing hats on pretty much throughout the entire year (I know right, that's dedication) to plan and deliver the best Clearing campaigns for our clients.

However, the day itself day itself has more of a buzz around it...

We were in the office at the crack of dawn to get things underway - immersing ourselves in all things Clearing. Because we are Premier Google Partners it was great to welcome our Agency Development Managers who were also on hand, to provide immediate support, technical advice, and guidance. As well as executing data driven, outcome focused, agile and optimised campaigns, we still found time to take note of any interesting discoveries, findings and insights - for education marketers.

Visual site links owned the day - and Natives have the key to them

Search and Google was the big player on the day and, whilst of course, we ran Programmatic, Social and OOH campaigns,visual site-links really performed this year on Google Search. The visual impact these adverts can have on users can be really powerful and allow your institution to stand out on the Google result pages. Users are given the freedom to share specific pages, in a carousel like format, to access the page they want. This product is currently in BETA testing at the moment and is only available to be booked through Net Natives. You can find out more information here.

Facebook Messaging was also a success

Some of our clients were actually making offers on this platform to Clearing applicants. Perhaps students enjoyed capitalising on this immediate service; where they could connect with multiple institutions? Your University needs to be aware of this in years to come, are those handling your Facebook Messaging equipped to answer your call.

Instagram Stories have also done well

The image based platform continues to flourish, and Instagram Stories generated huge levels of success for institutions during A Level Results Day (in terms of calls generated). Students were most likely going to the platform to see how their friends had performed on A Level Results Day this year, after all it's ultimately a day of celebration. Institutions can use this as the perfect opportunity to tap into this audience with Clearing adverts. Get in touch for more information on Instagram stories.

Brand searches trump course searches

Our audience data told us that the amount of Google searches for brands was far greater than those searching for specific courses. Universities need to make that their website's course search functionality is easy to navigate. Make sure to do more brand awareness campaigns for the 2017/2018 academic year to compliment this search trend.

Where were the boys on the morning of clearing?

A general finding was that the highest percentage of clicks across all platforms were coming from women during the morning. Was this because more women were nervous about their results, or this there another factor to play? This would be in line with the overall trend, where boys outperformed girls for the first time in 17 years. Institutions might want to be using creative, programmatic and messaging that appeals to the demographic which they are finding is most active on A Level Results Day to optimise their budgets.

Clearing is not just one day

Confirmed by our Director of Education, Murray Simpson, in our post Clearing roundup recording, there is more to Clearing than just A Level Results Day. Studentsare not as active on results day as they have been in previous years, maybe Clearing students recognise that they have more choice till later on to apply. HEIs will be hoping this is the case as student application numbers are down compared to year on year.

Remember, when our teams say pre-clearing, we don't just mean in the months running up, we mean around September time ahead of next year's student recruitment. This relates to the point above aboutlong term strategic branding!Reach out to our team to start planning your Clearing activity for 2018 - it's never too early.Actually, we are already booking in our 2018 campaigns now!

And one more thing...

People (not Net Natives) are failing to entertain negative keywords

It certainly kept us entertained throughout the day!

Looking to stand out online and recruit more students to your institution? Our team of digital experts will work with you on brand awareness, open day promotion and recruitment campaigns to ensure prospective students are choosing you.


Article by


Matt Payne

Senior Marketing Executive