The Project

MintTwist were asked to help the University of East London execute an effective clearing campaign to reach their undergraduate student recruitment targets.

Our effective strategy

We developed a detailed campaign plan using a range of conversion and awareness platforms. Media spend was split between search (Google and Bing), display, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, Spotify and Pinterest.

Working collaboratively with the University, we split our budget by priority regions dependent on student application numbers and previous campaign results from each location.

We created individual search campaigns for each school, and the allocated budget took into account the varying priorities of each school’s recruitment. A branded search campaign was created alongside it to capture users actively searching for UEL, whilst ensuring that they also appeared for broader clearing terms to reach those searching more generally.

Search activity was complemented by a paid social campaign using highly engaging video content to reach the target audience, raise awareness of UEL to prospective applicants, and encourage them to apply.

Objectives of UEL’s clearing campaign

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Increase the number of applications leading up to A Level Results day and thereafter
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Increase the number of place offers and accepts from students
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Improve the campaign performance across all digital channels from the previous year
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Raise the overall brand awareness of the University of East London

Ongoing Optimisation

Throughout the campaign duration we reallocated budgets away from budgets that had reached their student recruitment targets to campaigns that needed a further push. We regularly adjusted audience targeting and channel budgets based on channel performance. Working closely with the University’s creative team, we implemented regular creative refreshes to reduce ad fatigue and improve on performance.

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The campaign’s successes

As well as reaching the core target audience, our analysis showed an increase in search intent from mature students and parents researching universities on behalf of their children.

As such the age targeting across all channels was not restricted to ensure that we reached this wider audience. The campaigns ran for over three months to cover pre-clearing, clearing day itself and post-clearing. This was to capture and drive early awareness and interest and applications on the day.

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Increase in applications


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Increase in impressions

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As a university with a high proportion of direct applicants outside of UCAS, clearing is the most important part of our recruitment cycle. We’re constantly striving to improve our performance and the clearing campaign was our most successful clearing to date. MintTwist worked incredibly hard to adapt our plans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, remained flexible as an unpredictable situation unfolded, and remained bold in reaching new audiences through an integrated and complex plan. We were incredibly happy with the results and we outperformed recruitment targets across the board.

James Hassall

Campaign manager

And so...

Because of the positive results from the clearing campaign and other domestic and international recruitment campaigns, the University of East London decided to continue to work with us after a rigorous tender process. We have taken the learnings from the original clearing campaign and used these within our current recruitment campaigns.

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