Our exciting project with the University of Nottingham

Posted on 10/06/2021 by Molly Watters

We have loved working with our client The University of Nottingham and wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the Global Media Plan we have created with them, looking at the success so far and what is yet to come.

Hallam and The University of Nottingham

Last year we started working with The University of Nottingham on a very exciting project. We put together a Global Media Strategy for the university and launched our most diverse advertising campaign to date, advertising across over 10 digital platforms, including television. The aim was to encourage prospective students to sign up for an Open Day at the university this summer.

How it started

To compile an advertising strategy for the entire globe was a hefty task with a huge number of considerations and outcomes. It was important to start with immersion sessions with the university, understanding their recruitment targets, whilst compiling in-depth research around their target markets and the differing media habits across the globe.

Once we gained the higher education trends and advertising insights to give us some UK benchmarks, we expanded our research globally. This included outlining the lower proficiency English speaking countries that would require translation and the areas of the world that widely used advertising platforms that don’t exist in the UK. For example, we identified Vietnam as a country that only searched in English 9% of the time, and we identified China as a country that could not have a Google Search strategy but used Search Engine Baidu instead.

International considerations

As Hallam are International Growth Partners with Google, we have access to tools that allow us to gain insight into growth opportunities, high-interest areas and advertising costs worldwide, amongst other important factors.

When it came to our media recommendations, we had to decide on how we would split their annual advertising budget, and opted for the following framework:

Deciding the networks

Although the primary goal is to increase student recruitment numbers through Open Day bookings, it is equally important to build the brand by considering which upper funnel advertising platforms would resonate most with the target audience of 17-24-year-olds.

Conscious that different platforms would work best at different times in the 6 month period of the campaign when we established the UK strategy, the platform durations emphasised upper-funnel networks throughout the whole period, with lower-funnel networks boosted towards peak times of search enquiries. We focused on the key times in which students would be looking for universities and built up momentum as we got closer to Open Day dates.

The UK campaign ran across Google Search, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Spotify, Sky Ad Smart, Twitch and Tik Tok. UoN provided us with their fantastic campaign creative, Normal Never Changed the World, to inspire prospective students and play on the personal and world-contributing benefits of going to university. We repurposed the campaign concepts to align with every platform, with all assets filtered down from the captivating video.

UoN screenshot

Tracking our success

To properly track the success of our work once executed, we used a purposeful landing page where we track students registering interest in the university and then booking an actual Open Day visit. Where possible, we would feedback data to show the university which departments generated the most interest, as each Faculty has individual targets to work towards.

For maximum impact, we have tied the digital campaign with out-of-home (OOH) billboard advertising. We focused on Nottingham itself with local advertising around the campuses and on key driving routes from the motorways and the train station to bridge the gap between digital and print.

Simplifying the complicated

The complexity of creating and implementing a university’s global advertising plan encouraged us to create a simple framework that would work for future advertising. The 6 key principles being:

  1. Determining budget
  2. Splitting the budget
  3. Targeting
  4. Networks
  5. Creative
  6. Measurement


As we move towards the launch of the international plan, we have simplified the number of networks because the number of targeted countries will be as many as key target markets, which include hugely populated countries like China and India.

Other considerations for internationalising the campaign include cultural considerations when it comes to the creative, and timeline differences when it comes to the university’s application dates.

A big success so far

In terms of the campaign’s current success, we are maintaining an overall CPA for open day bookings of £30, which is fantastic considering that includes all of the upper funnel networks. A huge factor of the campaign’s success has been effective reporting, which has been difficult for the university previously as there was no centralised hub for all the different faculties.

Now, we have a clear picture of all conversions and where traffic comes from, which will continue to influence the campaign’s success going forwards.

Need any help with your Paid Media strategy? Get in touch today.

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