Don’t miss out on any of your budget - here are your quick, tactical Clearing wins

4 min read

Clearing is here and this year, it’s bigger and more disruptive than ever. With the pandemic throwing students’ plans into disarray, and a huge four-in-10 now considering applying through Clearing, it’s not the time to take a backseat. If you still have places to fill at your institution, we’ve got some last-minute tactics that can help:

1. Personalise the user journey

If you haven’t quite hit those recruitment targets, there’s still time to boost your enrolment numbers for September by running a dynamic, optimised advertising campaign. By now, you should be sitting on a wealth of first-party user data, so use it to segment and tell your story to remarketing and lookalike audiences.

Akero can get your campaign live in just a few clicks and deliver personalised, targeted media plans that go live immediately and get guaranteed results, with performance forecasts plugged straight into your CRM. Leaving you time to be more creative and strategic about how you're going to convert all those lovely enquiries into enrolled students. 

2. Don’t forget the parents

This year in particular, parents and other key influencers within the household are much more likely to be concerned about the choices students are making. In fact, 15% of students say that their university choices have been influenced by their parents’ concerns over Covid-19. Targeting parents and those who influence students’ decisions on Clearing has never been more essential.

Use your own data to set up look-a-like and custom audiences on Facebook and segment them to target potential students and their influencers. Targeted carousel ads are effective for engaging students and parents alike, as they allow you to tell your brand story in a really creative and narrative-driven way.

3. Is your call-tracking on point?

Last year’s NCS showed that 73% of students preferred phone calls to live chat functions, so make sure your team are manning the phones and aren’t neglecting the more traditional forms of communication. Phone lines are also far more effective for tracking ROI than live chat methods such as Facebook Messenger. Call extensions are really easy to set up on Google Search, which is where the majority of your energies should be focused on Results Day.

Through the call-tracking service that we offer, we can attribute ROI for phone call conversions to each connected tactic. One of the great benefits of Call Tracking is that we can optimise campaigns in real-time, based on performance. By rotating the ads that are driving the most calls to the fore, we can ensure that your phone lines are ringing on Results Day and beyond to help smash your intake targets.

4. Think outside the box

Some of the best results we’ve seen in previous years have come as a result of the institutions we work with trying something a little different. Don’t be afraid to innovate and stretch your budget a bit further. Often, the unexpected decisions are the ones that reap the best rewards.

For example, supplementing your Search activity with a lower-budget campaign on the oft-neglected Bing can be a cost-effective way of generating traffic and maximising your online presence. Due to lower competition levels on the platform, Bing can often generate results extremely cheaply.

Also, remember that Results Day is not the be all and end all when it comes to students applying via Clearing. If you still have places left at your institution, then extending your campaign for an additional week or two is a great way of generating additional applications at a much cheaper CPA. Many of your competitors will end their campaigns prematurely, leaving space for your brand to dominate the digital landscape.

Have a look at what others are doing and dare to be different; one institution promoted their bursary scheme heavily within their messaging, simply because no one else was doing it, running a successful campaign that cut through the noise and resonated with their audience. 

5. Choose the right bidding strategy

Are you looking to generate as much website traffic as possible, or are you focused on phone calls and conversions? Pick your goals and choose your tactics accordingly. From Results Day onwards, it can be a bit of a rollercoaster, so look at what’s worked in the past and stick to your guns where possible.

There’s always a chance that something may not go to plan, so the option to change bidding strategy is always there. But, going in with a clear strategy and sticking to it will usually yield the best results, provided you’ve done the research.

For more ideas on how you can still make an impact with Clearing this year, click here. And if you want to know how Akero can help supercharge your Clearing campaigns, get in touch with our experts today