Universities Wales

The advertising campaign attracting international students to ‘Study in Wales’, prompting tens of thousands of students to research Welsh study online.

The website of the Study in Wales campaign by S3 Advertising

Universities Wales’s Big Bite

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Universities Wales wanted to attract international students to study in Wales, against the backdrop of the pandemic​.

International students are incredibly important to the Welsh economy. S3’s previous campaign for Study in Wales had seen Wales land the largest YoY increases to international student levels of all UK home nations – but this time, Covid had hit, and with a halt on most international travel the new task was to set grounds for a strong recovery in 2021 and 2022.

Natural Strength

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The same attributes that make Wales a popular tourist destination – its unique variety of coastal, rural and city experiences in close proximity – could also be its natural strength for study. We just needed to create that link.

Universities Wales has identified India, the US and the far-away exotic lands of… England (ahem) as the most lucrative markets to target. So S3’s strategy team set about researching what motivated each nation in the context of Covid. While attitudes to study centres varied, all countries’ markets desired a fulfilling out-of-class experience, particularly when they were set to build news lives here.

Knowing this we turned the brief on its head and set out to promote Wales as an exciting place to visit first – then present the ‘study’ creds as an added bonus.

The Skills

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Study in Wales had recently re-branded to become part of Welsh Government’s ‘Brand Wales’ initiative. This made it a sister brand to Visit Wales, which created the perfect breeding ground for our travel destination-first strategy.

S3 produced creatives carrying the new line ‘This is Study… This is Wales’ alongside breathtaking Visit Wales-style imagery. On the radio, an inviting ‘tourism’ ad revealed itself to be one as a destination for study.

With populations of millions and even billions across our chosen markets, it was important to spend media budget in a targeted and useful way, so we focused on cities with high youth populations and relevant affluence. We ran TikTok ads, Instagram story ads and plenty of YouTube pre-roll – all targeted at a Gen Z audience.

All activity drove traffic to the Study in Wales campaign website, where S3 had built fully tracked campaign landing pages featuring outbound links to the HE institutions. Each ‘click’ was a lead presented to the institution that they could nurture into an enrolment in 2021 or 2022.

The Success

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A campaign that inspired international students and delivered leads to every one of Wales’s eight universities.

It was clear the pandemic hadn’t halted students’ dreams – interest in the Study in Wales campaign was high and a bank of student leads are now ready to be marketed to as the world opens up international study once more.

A whopping 16million ​views of campaign 17k visits to ​website in 5 weeks 409 leads delivered​ to universities Digital campaign efficiency​ +50% YoY​


Study in Wales campaign by S3 Advertising
Study in Wales campaign by S3 Advertising
A screengrab from S3 Advertising's Study in Wales campaign
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