Stoke on Trent College




Digital Marketing

Key Result

1,038 key on-site leads

Search, Social and Display Advertising

Adult & Young Learners


We increased site visits and enrolments for Stoke-on-Trent College with a strategy that was driven by data, and creative tailored to the end user. This allowed us to maximise ad engagement and on-site visits without compromising on quality.

The Challenge

Stoke-on-Trent College focus on delivering a range of mainly vocational courses for 16-18 year olds, and 19+, along with a selection of Higher Education courses.

Lesniak Swann were approached to look at a range of digital activity to suit a variety of audiences to increase and drive traffic to the college website. It was important to maximise reach but also tailor activity by audience and ensure a high quality of site visits.

The Approach

The approach was focussed on maximising reach, without compromising on quality.

These two things were conflicting; whilst it was possible to reach all in-market consumers, ensuring they were faced with the most relevant user journey was more challenging. It required a data-led approach.

We began by breaking our audience in to two distinct groups, thereby getting to the root of the problem:

Known user demographic and product >> Tailored creative
Unknown user >> Generic creative

The former gave us quality, and the latter worked as a catch-all to maximise reach, where the data was unavailable.

By sharing data between our different channels and Google Analytics at the earliest opportunities, we were able to transfer as many users as possible from the ‘unknown user’ group to the ‘known user’ group. This is explained more thoroughly in the following sections.

The ads and audiences were divided in to 6 groups to deliver a tailored and engaging experience.

16 - 18 year olds

Directing candidates to the homepage and course pages.


Directing parents of potential candidates to key financial pages.

Adult Learners
(Higher Education)

Directing candidates to the Higher Education pages.

Adult Learners
(Access to HE)

Relevant ads sending traffic to Access pages.

Adult Learners

Directing candidates to the adult skills and learning loan pages.

Other Users

Where we didn't have demographic or intent we served generic ads.

Paid Search (PPC)

It was important to not only ensure that the campaign covered a variety of channels, but that the correct tracking was set up through the website to monitor the effectiveness of the campaign. Events were set up through the site to track admissions clicks, prospectus downloads and enquiries throughout the four-week period.

Campaigns were created to cover generic terms such as `college courses near me`, and a wide-range of specific terms such as `best plumbing course`. The spend was adjusted throughout to enhance the effectiveness, with more weighting on generic search terms such as ‘local college’ which increased clicks.

  • 10% click through rate showing engaging ad content.
  • 3,600 clicks to the site.
  • Helped populate remarketing lists.

Facebook & Instagram Advertising

Strong, compelling student led imagery was used in the creative for Facebook and Instagram ads to showcase the nature of the courses on offer. Clear messaging and call to actions were included such as ‘learn more’ to encourage prospective students to click through to the website.

  • 4,690 reactions, comments, clicks and other actions.
  • 100% of comments and reactions were positive.
  • Users added straight to relevant remarketing lists to help sustain messaging.


24 animated remarketing banner ads of various sizes were built and used to attract prospective students who had visited the college’s website. Animated gif media was the chosen format to make better use of the smaller formats, break-down the messaging into more digestible portions and to make the adverts more visually compelling.

  • Over 1 million ad impressions served to local, in-market users.
  • 1,864 clicks to site.
  • Very strong click-through rate at 50% above industry benchmarks.

Overall Results

With over 1.8 million ads served to relevant local people and 9,580 clicks through to relevant pages, the campaign was a success. There was a 39% increase in traffic to the main website and 173% traffic increase to the adult skills website compared with the previous period. The Google text ads delivered an exceptionally high click through rate of 10% showing that the ads were relevant and the copy was engaging.


on-site conversion rate far exceeding other non-paid channels


Ads served in the local catchment area


Clicks from prospective students/families


Increase in traffic to main site


Increase in traffic to adult skills


Key on-site leads to date

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