How to attract students to Unis & Colleges | Clear Channel

How can universities and colleges can attract students?

12 Feb 2018 / Insights
By Clear Channel UK View Author on Twitter
Fusion advertisement on the side of a New World Payphone on a busy side street

Attracting students is a competitive market, and targeting a generation who have grown up with advertising can be tricky.

Attracting students is a competitive market, and targeting a generation who have grown up with advertising can be tricky. Especially among young people of university age, there is a growing level of apathy to online adverts, with 56% of young people actively seeking to avoid them entirely. It’s no wonder out-of-home advertising is quickly becoming the key solution when recruiting new students.

Social Media

Whilst it’s uncommon to find a millennial (a person reaching young adulthood in the 21st century) without a smartphone or a social media account, online advertising is not as effective as you might think. It can feel intrusive and unsolicited, which puts people off the brand and adds to a growing level of cynicism about the quality - and therefore legitimacy - of online adverts.
The physicality out-of-home adverts mean they are read as more heartfelt and honest, whereas the unsolicited nature of many online adverts can feel intrusive. Plus, out-of-home adverts can’t be clicked away, scrolled past or ignored. We can engage with posters, billboards, bus shelter advertisements in a more natural way as they are more a part of our everyday lives, instead of intruding into our leisure time on our phones.

On the Move

Prospective students are at the age where they’re beginning to explore their ever-increasing freedom, and spend a lot of time catching buses and trains. In addition to this, meeting friends at leisure centres, cinemas, cafes and shopping centres means 16 - 18 year olds spend a lot of time in public spaces.
The fleeting nature of online advertising, including that of social media, means it can often be clicked away and just as quickly be forgotten about. Billboards and other out-of-home advertising solutions can make a much bigger impact all year round, meaning at key times of year - such as enrolment applications - the university is much more likely to be kept in mind.

Targeting  Parents

Not only is it worth targeting the prospective students themselves, but between the ages of 16 - 18, parents are often still heavily involved in their children’s lives. Parents will more often than not, play a large part of the decision-making process - including researching options and attending open days with their children. Many parents will also be involved in subsidising tuition fees (if applicable) as well as living costs, meaning the decision of their children directly has an effect on them too.
University billboards and other forms of out-of-home advertising can seen by both parents and children alike on school journeys or shopping trips. If the advertising campaign is accessible to both parents and students alike, it’s much more likely to be successful.

Overall Image

Not only will outdoor advertising be seen by prospective students and their parents, but also a larger, city-wide audience. Enrolling students is important, but so too is helping their career prospects after they leave. Outdoor advertising can help create an image of a university that has a long lasting effect; employers will see it, which might increase your university’s employability ratings when students graduate.
Portraying an academic, vibrant and diverse image is a key component of any modern university’s marketing campaign. Maintaining this image throughout the year also means that when important times come round - such as UCAS applications or Clearing - the university is much more likely to be kept in mind as a contender.

Clear Channel Direct provides affordable outdoor advertising solutions for local companies, SMEs and public sector organisations across the UK. Our friendly and expert team can help make your ideal marketing campaigns into a reality. To discuss your outdoor advertising requirements, get in touch today.