University of Pretoria

Full-funnel lead generation delivers best-in-class performance

An educated approach to generating course applications delivered 227% of the target volume of leads for the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at the University of Pretoria.

The University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT) knew that generating high-quality applications for its schools’ post-graduate courses would require a sophisticated approach. On LinkedIn, the Faculty was able to develop a three-phase campaign, with creative targeted to every stage of a potential student’s consideration journey. Doing so delivered spectacular performance, smashing benchmarks at every stage of the funnel and generating 227% of the target volume of leads.

The challenge

  • Target graduates with relevant experience in the Faculty’s fields of study
  • Drive relevant, high-quality applications for courses offered by the Faculty’s four schools: Engineering, Built Environment, Information Technology and Technology Management

The solution

  • Three-phase campaign targeting each stage of the funnel

  • Awareness-raising video to engage graduates with the experience of life at the Faculty

  • Follow-up content tailored to graduates with relevant qualifications for each school

  • Retargeting campaign stressing the potential for studying part-time

Why LinkedIn?

  • Most relevant environment for graduate students planning their next move
  • Ability to target by field of study, delivering the right audience at scale
  • Potential for personalising campaigns to different Faculty schools 
  • Retargeting capabilities of LinkedIn

The results

  • The campaign delivered 328 leads, 227% of its target
  • The total click-through rate (CTR) of 5.25% was 5x LinkedIn benchmarks
  • The video campaign generated 47,216 views at a view-through rate (VTR) of 30%
  • More than 10,000 potential students visited the Faculty site

Delivering relevant engagement at scale

The EBIT Faculty and its digital agency, Ogilvy, knew that an ability to target relevant graduates at scale would be crucial to the success of the campaign – and that LinkedIn provided the best platform for doing so. “We knew from the start that LinkedIn would deliver the relevance and lead quality we needed,” says Sarah-Jane Lowes, Senior Digital Strategist at Ogilvy. “We targeted people with fields of study that were relevant to the Faculty, which meant that we could keep our initial campaigns relatively broad, lower our CPM, and still reach the right audience at scale.

The first two phases of the EBIT campaign focused on building awareness and engagement among this broad target group. First, video in the LinkedIn feed showcased life at the Faculty. Then, Sponsored Content delivered tailored calls to action to graduates with relevant degrees for the different schools. “We were able to use the engagement patterns from the first phase to inform our approach to the second phase,” says Sarah-Jane. “We could see which audiences were driving the strongest performance, and we focused our tailored creative and calls to action on those segments.”

Graduating from interest to application

With personalised Sponsored Content driving a growing number of clicks to the Faculty’s application pages, the campaign had an ideal platform for addressing the bottom of the funnel. The final phase used the LinkedIn Insight Tag to retarget those who clicked through but had not yet converted. The creative approach focused on the flexibility of the Faculty’s courses and the option of studying part-time – and it delivered spectacular results. “Our CTR had been high at every phase, but the number of conversions went through the ceiling when we launched the retargeting campaign,” says Sarah-Jane. “The full-funnel approach really worked for us because at every nurturing stage we were able to narrow down our audience and drive clicks and leads at a higher rate.”

That intensifying of engagement and CTR smashed all targets that the Faculty had set for the campaign. The 328 leads generated through LinkedIn represented 227% of the target, while the 5.25% total CTR was 5x LinkedIn benchmarks.

INDUSTRY: Higher Education
NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 1001 - 5000 employees
HQ LOCATION: South Africa


“This was a campaign that massively exceeded expectations and more than achieved its targets for filling places. It proved the value of a full-funnel approach, and we’re now looking to adopt a similar strategy for other faculties at the University of Pretoria.”

Sarah-Jane Lowes
Senior Digital Strategist
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