High-performance campaign surpasses targets to boost awareness of IBM’s apprenticeship opportunities

IBM turned to The Student Room to boost apprenticeship and gap year recruitment

Global consulting services and technology company, IBM, employs over 380,000 people in 170 countries.

To manage such a large recruitment programme, IBM needs to attract bright young talent as efficiently as possible.

IBM wanted to raise awareness of its apprenticeships and gap year schemes to drive applications amongst switched-on Year 12 and 13 students at the time they’re considering their next steps and pathway options.

With a huge student focus and 10 million users a month, The Student Room was ideally placed to solve IBM’s recruitment challenge. Kelly Markwick, IBM UK and Ireland Early Professional Engagement & Attraction Lead commented:

“We work with many third party suppliers directly promoting our roles on job boards to active job hunters. I really wanted to add into the mix a way of reaching more passive candidates. The Student Room really delivers on that and allows us to reach an audience who are exploring their options in a safe space and wouldn’t have necessarily been searching for IBM and our opportunities.”

How The Student Room helped IBM achieve its goal

Using first-party data, we were able to target the right age bracket and those we knew were interested in apprenticeships or alternatives to traditional higher education.

We delivered an over-target, high impact display and email campaign

To maximise IBM’s visibility and engagement with this relevant youth audience, The Student Room combined targeted display media with segmented email communications. The display campaign ran for 5 months and significantly outperformed IBM’s expectations across all KPIs, achieving 715,035 impressions (49% higher than target) and 2,947 clicks.

To optimise reach and results The Student Room built two custom email campaigns driving a strong recruitment call-to-action urging those interested in apprenticeships and gap year initiatives to apply. Both emails achieved great results with an open rate of up to 60%.

“The campaign overall has been very successful, and we are so pleased with the results. The campaign has generated applications and high click rates. We have also been able to use the platform to interact with students and answer any questions, which has been a great benefit to us.”

This high-performance combination of email and display advertising over-delivered by up to 74%, surpassing targets set and meeting IBM’s campaign objectives of attracting bright, new talent and driving applications to their latest student recruitment opportunities.

Client Feedback

“We found working with TSR a pleasure, Greg has been great at getting the campaign kick-started and we have had regular calls to catch up on stats, progress and made sure we were happy with the campaign.”

“We are so pleased with the results and were told they were some of the best campaign stats in the last three years!”

Campaign results and KPIs snapshot

Across the board, the campaign outperformed KPI expectations and exceeded benchmarks. Here is a sample of the success statistics:


total impressions


over-delivered on overall impressions


viewability on targeted impressions


average email open rate

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