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University of Dundee

Open days

As part of our annual plan for the University of Dundee, we planned and delivered an undergraduate recruitment campaign targeting UK applicants (excluding Scotland).  We had objectives around brand awareness, engagement and data capture throughout the undergraduate recruitment cycle, but the key measurement and the campaign’s primary KPI was registrations for Dundee’s open days, which ran from June – September 2017.


Prior to working with Penna, the University had allocated the majority of its budget towards
’tenancy’ type media such as profiles on education sites including What Uni and The Student Room.  
With Scottish University of the Year awards, we felt Dundee had much to shout about so, when devising media strategy, we placed more emphasis on attraction than profiles believing this to be the best way to reach more people and increase brand awareness amongst the target audience.

We took an ‘always on’ approach using programmatic, paid search and Facebook and running for almost six months but with regularly updated messaging, dependent on the stage in the undergraduate cycle.  The campaign was optimised throughout based on conversion data and the client was able to access live data 24/7 through an online dashboard.


he campaign delivered over 30,000 clicks and we recorded around 16,000 sessions on the Dundee website. Average cost per click was £1.04.

In terms of media performance, Facebook is proven to be a cost-effective way of targeting not just the prospective applicant but also parents.  For this campaign, the Newsfeed adverts targeting parents recorded some of the highest engagement levels. Carousel adverts allowed the University to share a range of information around topics including funding advice, open day dates and branding messages (for example, TEF results and the Scottish Uni of the Year award).

Because we wanted to expand the reach of the Dundee brand, we included competitor keywords in our paid search campaign, as well as more generic university open day keywords.

Our programmatic campaign included a range of banner ads that were shown to a very specific audience through contextual and behavioural targeting.  The mobile wide banner was the most popular format, delivering 46% of the channel’s traffic.

Ultimately there was a 10% increase in registrations and subsequent attendance for the August open day, with no increase in budget from the previous year.  The client had the added advantage of using the additional captured data from this campaign  in targeted conversion activity and retargeting for pre-Clearing and Clearing campaigns.