Student marketing gets personal!

How do you get students to comprehend and get excited by your offering in a noisy, busy space? Speak to them personally and at scale with personalized video.
Personalized video marketing to students

Life is full of uncertainty at the moment, and sometimes all we really want is for people to grab the bull by the horns and please, for crying out loud, make an actual, real-life decision.  When it comes to students who have not yet committed to accepting an offer you’ve made, obviously we want that decision to be ‘hell yes, of course I’ll be attending’!

In an ideal world you might task a team with hitting the phones, contacting each potential student individually to remind them of their offer details, the fast-approaching deadline, and the myriad reasons your college or university is of course the only real choice for them… but with thousands of offers extended to students across the globe, ideal worlds quickly lose out to logistical (and financial) realities.

Most institutions fall back on email – indeed, email addresses are often the only details you can be confident you have for have for each and every contact.  But when it’s something as important to the student (and, in all honesty, to you) as choosing the next stage of their education, relying upon a simple email to deliver a complex, highly-targeted message that evokes the right kind of emotional response can border on the impossible.

The University of East Anglia found themselves in exactly that position – with deadlines tight, and an eye as ever closely watching budgets, they nonetheless needed to contact, and convince, as many students as possible as quickly as possible.

Email was really the only suitable delivery mechanism, but they were loathed to just dump everything into the body of the text and cross their fingers. They needed to do more than give the students a recap of their offer and encourage them to make a decision – they needed to remind them, as quickly and as convincingly as they could, why they had applied for UEA in the first place.

Thoughts turned to video – there is, after all, no better way to convey a large amount of information without forcing the recipient to wade through walls of text.  And in a classic case of ‘show don’t tell’, an email with a relatively short video could address not just the students’ offers, but also present a snapshot of university life.  The university had recently developed some new promotional videos, and were keen to leverage the investment they’d made.  The challenge lay in combining the personalized content demanded by student-specific offers with the generic promotional video – a challenge they found a neat way to overcome!

Email personalisation has been around since it first became a primary marketing channel, and the power of personalisation has long been understood.  But video personalisation, whilst delivering even more impact, can seem prohibitively difficult and expensive to produce.

Whilst this was undoubtedly true once, modern approaches are revolutionising what can be done in the world of personalised video marketing.

Working closely with PS Marketing and Challenge Marketing, UEA were able to take their existing video assets and combine them with the student data they had available – creating over a thousand targeted videos personalised for every recipient.  Each video helped the student imagine themselves at UEA, immersing them in the fun and excitement the university has to offer, with full contextual personalisation.

What is contextual personalisation?

It’s one thing to personalise introductions and subtitles, but it’s quite another to drop personalised content directly into the story being told by the video.  Using sophisticated 3D mapping, you can now add text and visuals in a way that they appear to be part of the original video – from someone’s face on a billboard in the background (audience depending!) to their handwritten name scrawled across a coffee-cup.

The end result is something leagues ahead of ‘Dear <First Name> <Last Name>’ – a video that makes your every contact the star of the show.

This is the 1st time we have used personalized video to reach our students and it won’t be the last! The results are amazing.

Laura, Marketing Manager

How effective was the campaign?

Remarkably so!  The audience was broken down into 2 groups covering almost 1500 contacts: international and UK. 

  • International Offer holders (undecided and firm/insurance) (exc. China & India)
  • UK Undecided Offer Holders who had suggested on a call that they’d commit to UEA, but hadn’t yet done so
  • UK Undecided Offer Holders for whom UEA had insufficient postal information

Across the 388 contacts in the UK-based audience, CTRs also rose above 21% and, more importantly, 29% of the international group went Firm/Insurance, while a full 52% of the UK group did so.

Overall, this represented an 800% Return on Investment for UEA, and made it clear that personalised video is something they will continue to take full advantage of!

See it in action


Whether you already have videos that could be repurposed or you want to create new ones, now is the time to be making them work harder AND smarter by adding personalisation points. It increases the watch rates and those all important conversions. More and more we expect that personal touch and if you don’t do it… the next educational facility just might!

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