University of Arizona drives international recruitment with Unibuddy

university united-states-of-america

Kayla Harvey Lugo, Associate Director, Enrollment Operations & Strategic Communications International Admissions

The challenge

The University of Arizona was looking to bolster its recruitment strategies to hone in on the surplus of stealth applicants that they were getting. 

As a large public university, they received plenty of website traffic but they weren’t necessarily seeing it translate to conversion.

They were looking for a way to engage those visitors while capturing their information and providing them with answers to the questions they may have.

The solution

The international focus of Unibuddy was what stuck out to the school and led them to sign on with the platform. 

Associate Director, Enrollment Operations & Strategic Communications International Admissions Kayla Harvey Lugo liked the fact that Unibuddy works with other international institutions and understands the nature of their work.

“What we liked about Unibuddy and why we signed on was the international focus of the company, but also the fact that the platform would allow us to put our students at the forefront. A lot of prospective students do want to hear from current students—they don’t just want to hear from recruiters who are toeing the company line. It allows for students to have that peer-to-peer interaction that they’re looking for.”

She also appreciated the layers of protection that are added for ambassadors. As an asynchronous platform, they get to choose how much information that they want to disclose.

Other vendors seemed to portray a more transactional relationship, while Unibuddy offered a partnership that was invested in helping the university reach its goals.

They were able to utilize Unibuddy’s traffic drivers to an impressive extent when they underwent a website redesign in August of 2021. This allowed them to place ambassador popcards on all International Admissions pages so that any prospective student could easily speak to a current student with just a click.

The results 

In the month of May 2021, before the website redesign and widespread implementation of ambassador popcards, the university had only 534 visitors to the Unibuddy widget.

As for August 2021, the number of visitors skyrocketed to 4,607 for the month alone.

“We’ve also experienced an increase in the number of countries that we’re seeing students come from. A majority of our visitors are coming from Pakistan and India,” said Harvey Lugo, “We’ve just seen so much growth and Unibuddy has really exceeded our expectations.”

They’re also increasing and diversifying their ambassador pool so that they have more students on board who can form personal connections with prospective students from similar backgrounds.

“From Unibuddy, we had 27 applicants (a 5% conversion rate) and 5 enrollments (a 0.9% conversion rate). These numbers are low at first glance, but these rates are on par with our conversion rates from our larger digital marketing efforts (ad buys, retargeting, etc). This also tells me that students who are coming to our site through our ads are also likely engaging with the widget. We are very happy with these rates. As we continue to use Unibuddy, sign-on more ambassadors, and implement Community, I am confident these numbers will continue to grow.”


increase in monthly widget users with popcard implementation


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