Providing strategy and tactical management services across search, display, social & content lead marketing projects

The brief

4.5 million students study overseas every year, attracted by the opportunity to gain a respected university qualification and at the same time experience another country and culture. INTO University Partnerships is a global education organisation which offers an application system for students to enter into higher education. Forming long-term joint ventures with globally-ranked, ambitious universities in the United States, UK and Asia, INTO transforms the lives of thousands of students by delivering remarkable academic and cultural experiences.

Specialising in foundation courses for international students, INTO takes students from undergraduate to doctorate level. Oban International works with INTO across all of its digital endeavours, providing strategy and tactical management services across search, display, CRO, social and content lead marketing projects.

What we did

Our brief was to support INTO in its growth and expansion plans. At any given time we are working across more than 40 international markets with the objective of recruiting international students to study at UK, US and Chinese universities. In 2014, the challenge was to not only drive incremental results but also to grow the share of digital as a recruitment channel with respect to direct, agent based and traditional outreach tactics. To maximise our reach while maintaining relevancy of traffic, we chose to focus on display advertising, using new audience mapping and extension solutions.

Taking into consideration INTO’s budget and the need to make it work as hard as possible, we chose Google Display Network as it allowed us to work on the CPC (cost per click) model, rather than buying impressions. This gave us the flexibility to make higher bids for more engaged traffic.

The strategy focussed on three different campaign stages;

Display – to reach new potential students

Search – to cater to students with a clear and defined intent to study abroad

Re-marketing – through display to re-engage website visitors to drive final applications.

What we achieved

Our 6 month intensive campaign not only met, but exceeded INTO’s expectations both in terms of application volume and cost per application (CPA).

Campaigns ran across 18 markets for search and 35 markets for display, in English and Arabic languages

  • Year-on-year our strategy delivered 180% growth in applications
  • 45% reduction in CPA
  • 139% increase in applications from display campaigns
  • CPA down per YOY by over 25%