A university increased student applications with Twitter

Northumbria University, in the northern English city of Newcastle, is a research-rich, business-focused center of higher education. It has 35,000 students, with a high proportion of those coming from overseas. @NUstudents is its student-focused Twitter account.

Campaign objective

The primary goal for the team at Northumbria University is to recruit course applicants, which they work towards by raising brand awareness among potential students in the UK. To achieve this using Twitter, they ran a website clicks or conversions campaign, with Website Cards designed to drive applications.



Northumbria University targeted upcoming college students and potential mature students in the UK.



below target cost-per-engagement (CPE)

Keys to success

Test images and copy to learn what works

Northumbria University tries variations of their messaging to see what works and then updates campaigns to build on what they have learned. Sometimes, they run the same image with different versions of the copy. At other times, they showcase the same message in different Tweets, but vary the copy and the image.

"We find Website Cards particularly effective, because you can put a visual and a strong call to action along with the link, and you can include some extra text on the card."

— Paul Taylor, Digital Marketing Coordinator, Northumbria University

Reinforce your messaging to interested users

Northumbria University has found that their engagement rates are highest when they use the Tailored Audiences tool in Twitter Ads. They upload lists of existing prospects from their customer relationship management (CRM) database as an "audience" in the Twitter Ads dashboard, then advertise to that audience differently.

They also use website tags to capture when Twitter users visit their website. Then, they remarket to those users on Twitter.

The Website Cards for their remarketing campaigns take a different approach, with images and copy designed to show different sides of the university to prospects.

Showcase your audience to win attention

When someone accepts a place at Northumbria, they receive a university hoodie. The university runs competitions in which they ask prospective students to upload selfies featuring the hoodies, then use these images in Website Cards.

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