Starting off, 60% of students surveyed preferred in-person open days. The main reasons for their choice are because they felt like the most important experiences, they can get from an open day are walking around the facilities, meeting others in-person, and seeing the accommodation.
31% said that they preferred virtual open days, as the ability to visit multiple open days in a short space of time and reducing travel costs, all from the comfort of their homes, was most important to them. 9% had no preference.
Our exclusive data reveals that before your open days, students are going to the website, google and UCAS to find out and shortlist university open days. These are the main 3 places to focus but you should prioritise a full holistic approach across many platforms to capture all audiences.
On the day, you should concentrate your efforts on delivering course specific content, students voted this as highest priority for both virtual and in-person. You should aim to tweak the content slightly as the impact on students differs from online to physical.
After the open day, you must follow up with the students and give them the information they need to keep your institution front of mind.
Connect, Consider, Convert! – If your campaign is constantly active then use this 3-step system to guide the student down the pipeline finishing with an application. To best perform here you should; introduce retargeting from different sources to ensure you’re maximising the audiences you have built, tailor messaging to these audiences depending on the interaction you’ve already had with them, use countdown ads to drive urgency and increase your click through rate.
Is your open day a standalone event? If so, focus on video in the “awareness” phase to drive engagement effectively. Remember that video is cheaperand ensure you place high emphasis on google and use image callouts for maximum impact. Don’t forget to target based on your data; key feeder schools, postcodes, and look-a-likes from previous activity.
The last thing you want is for your ad to appear as uninspiring and unoriginal in a student’s feed, it won’t even cross a student’s mind to keep scrolling. To avoid this, the first thing you need to ask yourself is, are you pushing your open day to reach statistics or are you truly wanting to offer a unique experience?
You’ll cultivate an authentic perspective by integrating with your audiences and understanding the problems they face. Deliver honest, clear communication of the value offered.
“Explore our campus”
“Leaving home for the first time can be daunting. Where is the laundrette and how far away is the supermarket? We’ll show you everything you need to know at our next open day”
“Chat to our students”
“Finances were a big concern for Sophie before she started university. She received great advice from a previous student and wants to share her tips with you too”
Tap into the student’s internal thought process and queries, make sure to get more personal with the combination of their issues and your ad copy
Another small tip is to not be afraid to use humour – you can still stand out even with those ad guidelines in place.
The 80/20 budget rule – 80% goes to tested and proven medias, and 20% goes to testing new material to get ahead in the newer spaces. If you’re active in the new platforms, it’s much easier for a student to recall your brand, a great example is the metaverse, 3 out of 10 students have used the metaverse so this could be a good place to resonate with students using that 20%.
Discord – is slowly becoming a more popular chatting platform for everyone, not just gamers. Some US universities are already using this platform effectively with many sub-feeds for many audiences. You can use this not just for your prospective students but also your current students and ambassadors too.
Instagram – Less stories and more reels.
Instagram are testing a new immersive experience in the main home feed. Video will become a bigger part of the feed and will take up a bigger space. Aim for optimal recording for this update.
The videos don’t have to be too polished either, users lean towards more authentic styles of content, so the algorithm will prioritise the content that best fits the feed, this will help draw traffic to your content.
Google – Add video to the “discover” feeds to show personalised content to users when they open chrome on mobile. As part of your google strategy, test these ad types to reach new audiences not actively searching for your open day
YouTube – The newest feature to promote the highlights of your open days is YouTube Shorts. These clips, anywhere between 5 and 60 second long, are a new way to share bite-sized clips of longer videos and live streams. Platforms will boost these clips as a test to learn if they need to expand on these features.
WhatsApp – Reach out to audiences with business initial messages across the user journey. Once you’ve secured a user’s “opt-in” you can initiate messages to them on WhatsApp. These messages must be created with customisable message templates and can be text-based, media-based or interactive
BeReal – In the era of authenticity, Be Real spontaneously prompts all users to post a picture in the exact moment to show what they are doing in real life. Since this is a new social media, you would be wise to capitalise on this not-so-saturated platform.
Unicom can help with live examples of competitor advertisements and provide you with a clear-cut and consistent campaign that’ll have those open day positions filled out!
Book an Open Day workshop with one of our experts TODAY!