We had previously worked with Hartpury ahead of their 2019/2020 academic year to design a clearing campaign that would attract undergraduates to their key five areas of study: agriculture, animal, equine, sport and veterinary nursing. This initial campaign proved to be a huge success, and generated 101 applications, which exceeded Hartpury’s original target of 80 enrolled students.
With the results of the previous year speaking for themselves, Hartpury approached us once again for help with their 2020/2021 clearing campaign. The goal was to generate as many applications for their clearing courses as possible, with the hope of exceeding the previous year’s staggering results.
However, this academic year posed a whole host of challenges which we had not originally forseen but working with Hartpury would have to overcome. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, we had to adjust our strategy and messaging to reflect the current situation for students around the world. Due to decreased teaching hours and the pressure of the pandemic, many students were not receiving the results they had expected to achieve, forcing them to rethink where they were going to attend further education in the coming academic year, making clearing an even more important part of the student acquisition process.
On top of this, the fluctuating travel restrictions and social distancing measures made it impossible for Hartpury to host open days, which would usually give students the opportunity to explore their facilities. This meant that Hartpury’s only option was to offer virtual open days to students, which required successful promotion across all platforms to generate interest and attendance.
For this year’s clearing activity, we wanted to try and widen the net, targeting as many users as possible and encourage them to consider Hartpury University and College. We ran the campaign all the way from pre-clearing to post-clearing, as to provide us with plenty of scope to tailor our messaging, calls to action and advert formats throughout various stages of the clearing period.
Running the campaign on Facebook, Snapchat and Google Ads, we tailored our messaging for each platform to connect with students who had received unexpected results. By using messaging such as ‘Unexpected exam results? Degrees available at Hartpury University’ and ‘Changed your mind? Degrees available at Hartpury University’, we were able to directly address and sympathise with students, which led to an increase in engagement and leads.
For our calls to action, we made sure to tailor them around the specifics of the clearing process. During pre-clearing, we implemented a ‘Learn More’ call to action with a focus on increasing brand awareness. Once students had received their results, we shifted to an ‘Apply Now’ call to action. And, when clearing was over, we maintained ‘Apply Now’, as there was still a chance for students to apply.
In terms of the format of the social ads, we saw this as an opportunity to experiment and see which content gained the best response. Whilst, in 2019 the most popular advert type was video, this year it was single image adverts, allowing us to focus our ad format and increase engagement levels.
- On Snapchat, we gained 880,657 impressions and 8,478 swipe ups which proved to be hugely successful for increasing the brand awareness of the client.
- On Facebook, we saw 6,525 users accessing the website and 821 contacting Hartpury.