When first partnering with the University of Winchester their paid marketing strategy primarily focused on Paid Search and HE Portals. With this practically blank slate and Winchester’s trust in our expertise and experience we have been able to expand their media buying portfolio exponentially. Evolving from a conversion-focused strategy to a more balanced approach, we have been able to show off more of Winchester’s fantastic brand and reach students across the whole conversion journey.
We introduced annual planning to the University of Winchester account from the beginning of our time working together. As opposed to campaign-driven planning, annual planning has allowed us to use our knowledge of the client and industry to continually think first and plan more cohesively. A holistic view of the year meant we could carry out a succinct always-on approach with core channels and explore more innovative channels in bursts, focusing on channels which were working well and removing channels not working as well. It also allowed us to consistently maintain a 60:40 split between brand and activation, proven to be the most effective strategy by the IPA.
Our always-on channels consisted of Online Portals, Google Paid Search, YouTube, Facebook & Instagram. On these channels we were able to plan key messages to promote throughout the year, in-line with the recruitment cycle and a succinct customer journey. Longer campaign periods within these channels allowed us to define the correct audiences at scale, optimise more efficiently and drive high levels of engagement. This is clearly seen through Winchesters Paid Search CTR of 7.62%, well above the Education benchmark of 3.78%.
Insight and innovation plays a core role in all Hunterlodge plans, so when it came to testing new channels Winchester gave us the freedom to explore a range of opportunities. Using our research and insight, we determined channels that could effectively reach our audience in digital spaces that were brought to the fore due to the pandemic. For example, video gaming channel Twitch, where we promoted Winchester’s new brand film to a highly engaged audience and achieved astounding results. We also went live on other audio and visual channels, such as Spotify and Addressable TV, which were exciting firsts for the university and demonstrates their expanding media portfolio.
Throughout the year we have seen a significant increase in engagement, clicks and conversions across all channels. We’ve witnessed a 16.18% uplift in web traffic and an increase in users of 24.32%. We’ve been successful in driving applications, as the University of Winchester has seen an increase in applications year-on-year. However, their most resounding success has been in their increase in market share, where they have grown significantly over the last few years. During a decade where the market has been particularly challenging it is incredibly rare to see such growth in a middle tariff university. We are very excited to see how we continue to grow with the University of Winchester as partners as the market and education landscape continues to evolve.