The benefits of geotargeting for student recruitment

geotargeting for schools and colleges

Choosing a school or college is a major decision for students and their parents. Single-parent households and households where both parents work full time are increasingly common, making the daily school run and childcare a big challenge for parents. Location has never been more important.

What is geotargeting?

Geotargeting is a kind of segmentation that allows you to advertise to an audience based on their geographical location. The Student Room can custom-build a student recruitment audience that targets the right students, in the right location, at the right time. We have targetable audience segments of 327,174 GCSE-level users (Year 10 – 11), and 503,250 Year 12-13 users*. Our platform is also used by parents and teachers, which means your message will reach all the key decision-makers.

What are the key benefits of geotargeting?

Find students in your local area

If you’re a sixth form college based in London, it’s unlikely students in Edinburgh will be interested in attending your institution – so why advertise there?   By running a local campaign, you are far more likely to capture high intent leads. You can use geotargeting to eliminate students who are outside of your catchment area.

local students

Sussex Coast College Hastings ran a geo-targeted display ads campaign with The Student Room to find local university applicants. We set up a location parameter to capture a student audience within a 25 mile radius of the university. The successful campaign delivered 3,457 micro-conversions (users who engaged with the college’s branding on our site then visited the college’s site within 30 days).

Maximise your return on investment

Refining your audience targeting criteria by location also increases the efficiency of your ad spend by improving your conversion rates. Not only will you reduce budget wastage by not advertising to students who would never attend your institution, but you can also redirect that saved spend to other campaign activities.

student doing STEM

Complement your PR campaigns

Perhaps you’ve just had a great press release about one of your sports teams in the local paper? Or you’ve been recognised for the quality of your teaching and facilities? A geotargeted campaign is the perfect follow up reminder, prompting a warm and receptive local audience to take action by visiting your website.

school sports team

Personalise your message and improve the user experience

Research by Enconsultancy found 93 percent of companies see an uplift in conversion rates from personalisation. When you know where your campaign will land, you can use local knowledge to adapt your language and improve the user experience. For example, you could incorporate a sense of belonging and local community in your copy to make parents feel comfortable that their child will fit in at your school or college.

local community

Understanding your audience’s motivations

Getting the location right is just half the battle, you also need the right message. Conversations on The Student Room give us a great insight into some of the key topics that will resonate with prospective students. Here are some comments from users discussing their sixth form options:

“I’m currently a year 11 student who is a bit indecisive. There are two places I’m deciding between, one is a college and one is a sixth form (not my schools) so could anyone tell me which they’re at and the positives and negatives of it.”

“In September I’m starting year 12 and moving from my current all girls school to a mixed school for sixth form.  Any tips for boys/new school/ new friends would be greatly appreciated.”

“Leaving my current school and these are my two options but I have no clue which to go to. [School x] seems like a better school but [School Y] is more local and I know some people there. Does anyone have any insight into either of these ?!!! Also worried about making friends etc.”

How do you start doing geotargeting?

If you don’t have the systems or technology to run geotargeting campaigns yourself, you can always do this through an agency or third party. The Student Room has access to 10 million monthly student users, so it’s easy for us to find an audience that matches your precise geotargeting criteria. We also have in-house experts who are trained in content and creative optimisation to ensure you get the best conversion rates.

Please feel free to contact us to find out more about how we can help you to achieve your goals.

Call: 0800 999 3222

Or contact your Account Manager directly:

Lorna Greville
Education Account Director
The Student Room Group
DD: +44 (0)1273 646540
M: +44 (0) 7872 548934


*Data correct June 2020