Solihull Sixth Form College is celebrating after claiming an award at the College Marketing Network’s annual FE First Awards last week.

Solihull Sixth Form College have been given the Silver Award for Innovation and Creativity for their use of Natives' software Akero Advertising at the 2019 FE First Marketing Excellence Awards. 

The award recognises new and innovative approaches to marketing in Further Education and celebrates the achievements of in-house college marketing departments. 

Solihull were commended for their ground-breaking approach to their open day campaign using Akero Advertising, a marketing and admissions software package from Natives for education institutions and course providers. As early adopters of this technology, they used artificial intelligence (AI) to create tailored advertising plans with guaranteed performance on budget. 

The success of the campaign was measured through clicks on the open day landing page, which were double the target KPI, and pre-registrations for the open day, which also achieved the target within budget. 

College Marketing Manager Bev Bishop commented:

“We were excited to use the new AI technology for our Open Day campaign and we were delighted with how the campaign went. 

“Not only was the Akero platform easy to set up, the performance tracking reassured me that the campaign was doing well. It was comforting to have guaranteed returns and ultimately it led to the highest number of Open Day bookings we’ve ever had, so it achieved its goal. We look forward to more such successful campaigns in the future.”

The College’s marketing with Natives won a Silver Award in the ‘Innovation and Creativity’ category. The digital marketing campaign to promote the College’s October Open Day was the campaign highlighted for this honour. Done with Akero Advertising, it utilised the world’s first AI-powered student marketing platform (launched for the first time this year).

The platform’s artificial intelligence selected the appropriate advertising channels and distributed the budget to maximum benefit. This was done by scanning billions of data points across Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Bing and more than 2 million websites. It also analysed millions of previous student advertising campaigns to identify the most effective distribution of the budget to give a smarter, more personalised strategy.

Solihull Sixth Form College used their own in-house creative in the form of short videos, but used the platform’s user-friendly asset uploader, guided by the Akero experts, to structure the campaign, which achieved its goals. Facebook, Instagram and Messenger advertising performed well and the use of Google Search was particularly useful, directing over 1,100 clicks to the Open Day pre-registration page on a limited budget.

College Vice Principal Janice Hamilton commented:

“We were delighted with how effective the Open Day campaign ran, as it gave us our highest number of pre-registrations ever. We have worked with Natives for a number of years and it has been good to lead the way as one of the early adopters of their innovative AI Akero Advertising platform. We look forward to more successful campaigns with them in the future, as we look to maximise our reach in a very competitive market.”

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