University of Portsmouth

Digital marketing campaign generates a fantastic number of student enrolments for new course

Digital marketing campaign generates a fantastic number of student enrolments for new course

As one of the top 25 universities in the UK (Guardian University Guide, 2018), the University of Portsmouth asked our Education Digital Marketing Specialists whether they could devise a campaign that will help boost numbers for a brand new Master of Mathematics – or MMath – a course that it was providing.

Outline Strategy

As a university with lots of competition in the area, promoting a brand new course was always going to be a difficult task for the University of Portsmouth. With time running out, traditional marketing channels could only help so much, so the university asked us to help it give the campaign a boost. We devised an education marketing strategy that would give the course the exposure it needed by targeting a specific audience.

The first step was for our team of Education Marketing Specialists to work with the university to understand the audience profile in more detail – from this we set up a three-month Facebook campaign. Both image and video ads were used to target and engage with the audience, and both had significant success in pushing people through to the Universities website.

To complement the Facebook campaign, we also set up a Google AdWords campaign to target people that were searching directly for maths masters courses. With both campaigns in tandem, the new course got the exposure it needed and resulted in the department gaining more applicants than it ever thought possible.

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course signups
website clicks through AdWords
course signups
website clicks through Facebook
website clicks through AdWords


Although our Specialists and the University of Portsmouth remained realistic about the potential outcome of this campaign, the results were excellent, with more than 2,500 clicks through to the university’s website – this in turn resulted in more than 40 signups for the course, with many more prospective students booked into open days at the university.

The Facebook campaign generated lots of engagement, with more than 2,200 website clicks attributed to the university’s Facebook page. The video content created for the campaign was viewed for 10 seconds or more by in excess of 4,000 Facebook users – 1,125 of these users watched the first quarter of the video, and 285 users watched it all. Meanwhile, the AdWords campaign earned nearly 400 website clicks, with a click through rate of 5%.

Other institutions are known for having a MMath course but this is a new development for us. So far, we’ve had 41 applications for the MMath, which is really pretty good for a new course. Thanks to everybody at Tillison Consulting for their help and advice during this campaign.

Emma Fraser – Student Recruitment Manager, University of Portsmouth

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