• Guy Andrews

How cues.ai assisted universities during Clearing

Updated: Sep 1

This year, cues.ai increased lead capture for our customers over Clearing – one of which managed to increase their leads by 65% compared to the previous year. Cues.ai also increased website user engagement for all clients. Read on to find out how…


What we've seen

The entire Clearing process can be very intensive for many institutions offering degree level qualifications. In 2020, applicants have spent more time deciding where to study, and the sector has had to be agile in its approach to both marketing and nurturing prospective students.


It seems that prospective students’ behavioural patterns around Clearing shift every year. The sector now needs to think about how it can support students in making the best choice of institution and course, over an extended period of decision making.


How your website presents key information to users is a key factor in this. It is – amongst many other things – your online prospectus where you showcase your course portfolio, facilities and what your student life has to offer.


Landing pages need to be optimised with the end user in mind. However, the higher education sector is an unique one because the end user browsing the website could be a prospective student, or a parent/guardian influencer, or an existing student, or a staff member...


It is not as clean cut as you find in say, online retail, where you have a specific landing page (e.g. a product page) tailored to a customer who's going to buy something. The main outcome for the page is either an add to cart or direct sale.


Basic landing page optimisation for websites focusses on key calls to action, strategically placed where your eyes naturally scan to, and above the page fold. The page needs to have a clear direction and an intended action for a user to take.


Here lies the problem...


The student journey to application is generally a long one – there's more than one key action for them to take, and those key actions vary depending on the student's circumstances.


That big red "apply now" button (because everyone likes a big red call-to-action) might be great for a domestic (UK) student, but they'll still need to head to the UCAS website to actually make the application. Even if you link direct to UCAS from this button – that international visitor visiting the same course page who's outside of the EU is now heading to perhaps the wrong destination, when you have an on-site direct application form dedicated for international students.


If the website can offer a relevant and personalised user journey, you'll benefit from users who engage at much higher levels – and this is what cues.ai enables. Content personalisation without any development or the typical high running costs of such advanced systems.


Watch our cues.ai introductory video above!


On most university websites, the content required for a full user journey from first website visit to application normally does exist, but is fragmented across the website or placed all on one very, very long course page.


We’re now in a world of users with very short attention spans – short-lived videos and images rule the content world – and higher education websites don’t really cater for this type of user.

The strategy: maximise on the moment.


Our strategy with cues.ai can be broken down into the following steps:


1) Find the most engaged users who are browsing the university or college's website.


2) Provide a personalised user journey to each engaged user. Visually prompt them to engage and view content they may not have seen.


3) Get the user to act by serving them the right message at the right moment.


As a user becomes engaged with your website content, you need to maximise on this moment and prompt them to take another action – keep feeding them great content and cater to that short attention span issue. This is what increases conversion rates.


To do this effectively, you can't simply serve static calls to action, or basic behavioural popups. You need website technology that reacts to users; technology that provides real-time decision making driven by data and informed by human expertise. This is where cues.ai comes in.


Users who interact with cues.ai on average have bounce rates 75% lower than regular website traffic, and view 40% more pages per session.

Sign up for your free trial of cues.ai now.


Clearing preparation

As cues.ai is a tool that universities use all year round, we were able to ensure our clients were maximising on guiding prospective students through the recruitment funnel ahead of results day.


The way cues.ai helps is that it figures out where a student might be in their journey to application, by serving a mixture of surveys and visual prompts (known as “cues”) on your website leading users towards viewing key content. Then, when it registers a strong enough positive signal that the user is interested in applying, it serves them a cue.


On the run up to Clearing, it was vital to know what users out of the high volumes of web traffic visiting cues.ai user’s websites were actually interested in applying. Cues.ai was able to use its engagement measurement engine to find these users, then survey them to discover their true level of interest.


From this, user segments were built, guiding engaged users with visual cues towards conversion outcomes. When the time was right for each user, cues would deliver a lead capture cue, asking for their name and email for a call back on results day itself. For one of our clients, this tactical approach to lead capture saw a 65% increase in leads compared to the previous year, where a lead capture form was placed in a regular popup across the entire site.


Both on and offsite messaging

Cues.ai helps with your digital marketing. Whilst it builds the user segments for displaying cues on your website, it can also build segmented audiences for leading advertising platforms with complete GDPR compliance. This means we can synchronise marketing messages both on and off the website depending on where the user is in their decision making process.


Interested in learning more? Give us a call on 01273 955877 or sign up for a free trial.

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