Clearing 2019 – The pathway of choice – Crunch Digital Media


Clearing 2019 – The pathway of choice

What’s been happening before Clearing?

Clearing has become the pathway of choice for many school leavers. Clearing is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, event in higher education. Here at Crunch we’ve been working with our university clients for months preparing them for this hectic and rewarding day. And just because results day has passed doesn’t mean Clearing is over, it doesn’t officially end until the 23rd of October. But what are we seeing two weeks after Clearing opened?

We know that students applying to go to university for that academic year are getting later and later, year on year. Therefore a bigger attraction exercise is needed for the run up, during and aftermath of clearing. Research by UCAS has shown that 364,380 students found places on university degree courses with 17,420 found their university place through Clearing services. On the morning of results day, 408,960 people from the UK and overseas had their places confirmed. Digital advertising has once again been the conversion and helped funnel the traffic to attract students.

  • We saw 30% more calls compared to last year – that’s even more students that we’ve helped get into university!
  • With more and more universities going through Clearing, students are taking longer to make their decision and ‘how long does Clearing last’ was a top searched keyword.
  • Unlike previous years where 9am – 10am was key, in 2019 we saw calls peak at 4pm which further shows the longer consideration period students are taking.
  • Students were well aware that they could get a place in a top-ranking university via Clearing this year and the top searched for universities were Nottingham, Birmingham and Leeds.

Over 75% of all clicks came through on a mobile device on results day, showing that we should absolutely have a mobile-first approach. Online users have an abundance of devices to choose from and with the average user spending 29-hours a week on their devices it’s vitally important for marketeers and universities to understand how behaviours differ between various device users. It’s highly important to understand the benefit of how separating campaigns into device specific sub-campaigns enables digital campaigns to have the ability to optimise and tailor campaigns to work with specific devices. Search Advertising connects with students while they are actively searching for universities to apply to. Both generic and course specific adverts may run, with course adverts being switched off once they reach capacity. This enables universities to focus on recruiting in priority areas.


Clearing started at 8am however the search online started rising just after 6am with the majority of the interest in England.  Below is the live feed from Google showing the use of “Clearing” started at 04.58 on results day and by 9am Clearing was in full swing.

By Sunday, our team had done over 12,600 changes on Clearing campaigns, which included 11,300 keyword changes and 6,000 bid changes. With the ads over 465 changes were made for our clients and 73 budget changes.

Clearing doesn’t end on results day

Hopeful students are able to apply to a university or course up until September. This is where retargeting, through programmatic or social platforms will play the strongest part. Retargeting will keep an audience warm, to remind students who have already viewed a university’s website to go back and have another look.

Speak to us

Contact our Ad-Ops team about university digital advertising e-mail: