In early Spring 2017, Royal Holloway launched Unibuddy. They saw the platform as something innovative, yet authentic.
Marketing gimmicks were never their thing; they wanted something real and useful that would set them apart from the crowd. Most of all, they hoped that it could make a clear, measurable difference, both to their applicants and to their offer holder conversion.
Kirstie Gattner, Head of Recruitment Campaigns, said:
“We’re always looking for ways to enable our enquirers and applicants to be able to speak to our current students. The capabilities of the Unibuddy platform have enabled us to find a user-friendly solution that can be flexibly integrated across our website.”
Initially, they piloted the platform with five departments. They brought on board their most trusted ambassadors, and gave them the time and space to blog about the things that mattered to them.
Then they invited all current applicants from the pilot departments to come to the platform and chat with the ambassadors for their course.
Applicants clicked through to the platform and started chatting. What was the campus like? What was the social life like? What clubs and societies could they join?
The impact was huge. 58% of those who clicked the link and visited the platform signed up to chat. Some 88.3% of those who signed up and chatted to the ambassadors accepted their offer, significantly higher than the typical UCAS conversion rate.
Research with these students showed that it was the unknown that worried them, and hearing the experience of current students was just what they needed to overcome their fears.
Camilla Potter, Recruitment Campaigns Manager, said:
“We have been delighted to see our applicants chatting with student ambassadors and now see this as a really critical part of their decision-making. We are excited to make chatting with students via Unibuddy the main call to action on our study pages, and give this a really high profile through our social media.”