Swansea University is a research-led institution set in Swansea Bay. Providing education for over 15,000 students, Swansea University covers a wide range of academic disciplines including the arts, engineering and life sciences.


With ambitious plans for campus expansion and international student growth, Swansea University wanted to use a UK-based digital media agency to reach new audiences in their target markets. Red Squirrel Digital were asked to create a digital marketing strategy to drive international student recruitment enquires in the key target market of Nigeria.

With a need to reach a niche audience in very specific locations within Nigeria, the challenge was to be able identify the right audience that matched the course entry criteria for Swansea University. The secondary challenge was to ensure that all applicants were processed in an effective and efficient way from the UK, a procedure that is traditionally carried out by in-country agents.


With a brief to provide a strong ROI with a limited budget, Red Squirrel’s approach was to use very niche targeting on a real-time bidding process to ensure maximum reach and ROI. With Nigeria leading the way in the mobile market in Africa – 25% of consumers own a smartphone – the group’s research and analysis highlighted that a mobile campaign would deliver the furthest reach and return. Using a mobile ad display network, the campaign ran for a period of four weeks targeting set university campuses around key cities, with ongoing optimisation of location, user device ID, publisher sites, and creative to deliver a higher ROI.


Red Squirrel’s first step was to research the market and identify the Nigerian cities that held the highest number of post graduate students. They then set up geo location targeting for mobile devices within a 5 km radius around five Nigerian city campuses and targeted users of publisher sites that had a strong student audience. Location targeted cities and districts included Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano & Ibadan.

The next step was to research the device usage in the Nigerian market to identify the banner sizes needed for the campaign. With a high Nokia feature phone usage rate in the Nigeria, we briefed our creative team to produce dynamic and creative device ad formats to provide a high CTR. All clicks were driven to a dedicated landing page for recruits to sign up to a meet and greet at an in-country event. Upon completing the form all applicants were sent a response email with further information and were presented an overlay which directed them to download the university prospectus and link through to the main university website.


Red Squirrel Digital outperformed Swansea University’s key objectives by delivering a far reaching branding exercise as well as a 520% increase in ROI:

  • 13,730,225 impressions
  • 91,815 clicks
  • 8,458 data captures
  • 3,683 PDF downloads
  • 4,573 clicks to website