From education to employment

Ambassador-generated content drives 500 per cent increase in engagement with prospective students

TAP’s Chief Strategy Office, Nik Higgins

How ambassador-generated content became a global university provider’s most powerful marketing tool 

AN INTERNATIONAL higher education provider with links to some of the world’s most celebrated universities has told how ambassador-generated content has driven a near 500 per cent increase in engagement levels with prospective students.

Senior figures at NCUK, which helps international students to gain entry-level qualifications for partner universities via a network of global Study Centres, used videos independently created by ambassadors to deliver key messages.

The authentic nature of the content led to a surge in traffic to the organisation’s website and a lift in social media activity.

Ambassadors shared their content and connected with potential recruits using digital technology provided by edtech firm The Access Platform.

Dawn Hayes, head of marketing at NCUK, said:

“This year has been testing for many people wanting to pursue their studies further, either in their home country or abroad. For some, it will have sparked a fear that their dreams of going to university could be dashed.

“But that is why we are so pleased to be working with TAP, as their software enables our prospective students to remain connected with our NCUK ambassadors, in an engaging and safe way whilst also providing quick syndication of their content to our website and social platforms.

“And as our ambassadors continue to create relationships with potential students and answer any questions they may have about university life, many have gone above and beyond their role to boost morale by sending uplifting video messages filled with information to prospective students.

“At a time of huge uncertainty, they have allowed us to communicate in a calm, informed and uplifting manner. They have become one of our greatest marketing tools.”

Establishing education partnerships since 1987, NCUK teamed up with London-based The Access Platform to build a platform whereby prospective students had the opportunity to connect virtually with current university students.

The Access Platform’s innovative technology, which is being used by more than 100 universities across four continents, allows prospective students considering a place at university to interact on a personal level with existing students and ambassadors.

From asking questions about their academic courses to life on campus, students are able to get the answers they want from their peers currently studying at the university.

In 2018, UCAS Media found that 89 per cent of university applicants wanted to see content created by current students.

Despite Covid-19 having caused severe disruptions in international education, NCUK has seen a huge boost in online engagement and content published thanks to its team of dedicated student ambassadors.

Since March, many of NCUK’s ambassadors – who have continued their studies during the pandemic – have been creating videos for prospective students about keeping positive and motivated.

They have also been on hand to answer the questions from their potential peers about uni life, via TAP’s online communications tool.

During the first three months of the global pandemic, NCUK recorded a 121 per cent increase in the amount of content posted online on their channels which sparked a 460 per cent increase in FAQ views by prospective students.

TAP’s Chief Strategy Office, Nik Higgins, said it was great to see how NCUK’s ambassadors had used the platform.

He added: “What has been demonstrated through the way in which NCUK’s ambassador-generated content was received, is the absolute importance placed upon authentic and informative messages.

“There are no production values or set scripts imposed upon ambassadors when it comes to UGC. These are not polished and professionalised edits which have been through a selection process with the weakest being left on the cutting room floor.

“What you see is raw, uncut video content which is wholly reflective of that individual’s views – and that can be extremely powerful.

“Peer recruitment is increasingly being proven as an incredibly effective form of marketing. Genuine content, the likes of which we have seen from the NCUK ambassadors, immediately humanises and brings authenticity to the process.

“It’s brilliant to see how much content NCUK has produced over the last couple of months. Not only has this given their channels vibrancy and a boost but it’s helped the organisation continue their important recruitment work”

Since its inception, more than 35,000 students have gone through NCUK to gain a place at a university of their choice.

NCUK has a global network of more than 75 Study Centres in over 30 countries, providing international students with the opportunity to study undergraduate and postgraduate pathway qualifications to progress into leading universities in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canda and the USA.

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