University of Derby

Project Brief:

The University of Derby is a modern, innovative education provider that achieved its university status in 1992. Teaching at Derby dates back to 1851, when it was a Diocesan Institution for Training with over 160 years of expertise in education.

The university offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, from engineering to business.

The UK higher education sector is more competitive than ever, and universities are having to work harder and smarter than ever to raise awareness of their courses and attract the right students. The marketing team at the University of Derby wanted
to push the message that the University of Derby is ranked in the top 10 for graduate employability, an especially strong message for prospective students in the current economic climate.


Step 01

Gather all information

The team wanted to actively prospect to both students and their guardians. In addition to raising awareness of the university and the programmes offered, the marketing team wanted to actively drive information and prospectus requests, attendance at open days (including virtual open days), and applications for courses.

To achieve these candidate acquisition goals, they decided to test online display advertising. They needed a programmatic advertising partner that could provide them with a straightforward, in-house platform that offered complete visibility into performance and spend, and help them understand how to successfully achieve their goals through online advertising. 

Step 02

Find Solution & Solve it

YouYaa worked with the University of Derby team to help them set achievable goals for an initial 6-week campaign, and provide full training and account management support to help them understand programmatic advertising and how to manage the platform themselves. A CPA target of £50 was set, with a candidate acquisition target of 500. Three distinct tactics were also employed to help precisely target the right groups:

Targeting Students

Targeting prospective students themselves was a key part of the campaign. It was decided to specifically target those aged between 18-24 years old, in particular UK cities and regions (for example, Liverpool & Birmingham, as well as specific London boroughs). Contextual targeting was also employed, to target prospective students with an interest in college, career advice, career planning, job search, education, news, style & fashion and sports websites.


The majority of web traffic doesn’t necessarily convert, so the team decided to also use retargeting for visitors to the University of Derby website who did not register or sign-up for additional information.

Parent Targeting

It was also decided to target the parents of prospective students as part of this campaign, as they will a major influence over the choice of university for their children. University of Derby looked to target two specific age bands – 40-54 and 55-64, who look at business, education, careers, news, personal finance, travel and automotive websites. Geographical targeting was also employed, identical to that for prospective students.

Step 03

Finally Get the Result

University of Derby achieved their campaign target of acquiring candidates at £50 or less, with a cost per acquisition of £49.97 over the 6 week campaign period.

Candidate acquisition targets were also met, with over 500 conversions achieved.

Through regular testing, they were also able to understand which creatives performed most effectively.

The team is expecting even better results moving forward, as YouYaa’s programmatic technology continues to learn and optimise over time.

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