How Can UK Universities Create a China-Focused Advertising Campaign for Gaokao

Looking into how you can recruit more international students for your university? That’s great! 

It’s a fantastic way to build up your University’s reputation on a global scale and broaden the cultural diversity on campus. 

China’s study abroad market has declined slightly in recent years, due to a change in population demographics. The college-aged cohort is smaller than what it once was, but this does not mean that Chinese students have stopped wanting to study abroad. 

There’s still around 40 million students in higher education and it remains the highest study abroad market in the world.

Plus, the Chinese economy has recovered well since the pandemic, being closer to pre-pandemic levels than almost every other country. 

Recruiting Chinese students is therefore quite competitive for universities in the UK, who all wish to tap into this wealthy economy. In fact, international students from China are thought to bring in a huge £1.7 billion to the UK Higher Education sector, making up a substantial 10% of revenue for some institutions.

Want some tips on how to effectively market your university to Chinese students? We’d recommend targeting students who have sat the Gaokao. 

Why targeting students after Gaokao exam is a good idea

The Gaokao is a highly competitive exam for students aged 18 or older in China. Depending on their results, they’ll be offered places in universities, colleges, or vocational and technical colleges. 

Think of the Gaokao as the equivalent to A-Levels in the UK. It’s also known as the National College Entrance Examinations (NCEE) but more commonly referred to as the Gaokao.

A huge proportion of students in China still test for the Gaokao, with 10.78 million sitting it in June 2021

It’s no easy exam. Around 80% make it into a variation of tertiary education, with only half of those (40%) actually being accepted onto a Bachelor’s program.

This leaves a lot of disappointed and worried Chinese students who didn’t make it into their choices of colleges in China. Many of them remain unsure how to progress to the next level of higher education. 

That will be the case imminently for millions of students, awaiting their results this July.

That’s where clearing comes in. 

If a college finds that they still have spaces to fill for the following academic year, targeting students who have taken the Gaokao is a good idea. You’ll be recruiting plenty of hard working and ambitious students. 

The time is ripe for UK universities to capitalize on the Chinese market in the next couple of months. Running ads from now until the end of August is a great opportunity to recruit international students from China, especially those who need some college inspiration. 

How can UK universities create a China-focused ad campaign with

Setting up an ad to target Chinese students with AdChina is super easy. Let’s take the example of WeChat, one of the country’s most popular platforms.

Select your ad placements 

You can advertise in various ways on WeChat, including ‘Moments’, ‘Banners’ or ‘Key Opinion Leader’. 

Choose your landing page

When students click on your ad, where would you like them to be directed? We’re guessing a page on your college’s website that addresses prospective international students.

Select your specific audience

Choose your audience demographics, such as location, age, education and finance. Include the college ages as well as the right level of education – don’t forget Gaokao! For location, input Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities, plus Hong Kong. 

Make sure that you also select a specific psychographic. You’ll want to target interests such as  ‘studying abroad’ to make sure that you get a great return on your ad investment.

Get super specific

You can even choose to target people who are specifically interested in studying abroad in the UK. 

Upload your ad creatives and copy

Make sure that you use engaging visual imagery to attract attention. It’s representing your college after all.

Use ad copy which will drive Chinese Students to take the next step. Use clear and specific calls to action so that they know exactly what you want them to do with your ad. 

Choose the ad duration 

What date will your ad start and when will it finish? As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to get going straight away and run your ads right up until the semester begins. You’re trying to tap into that market of students who are waiting for their Gaokao results and might not get what they wanted. 

Choose your bid

Choose how much you’d like to spend per click on your ad. The interface will suggest the optimum amount to get the most out of your campaign. 

Set your budget limit

You can limit your spending per day as well as the overall budget, to make sure that you don’t spend more than you want to. 

Review your ad

Double check that you’ve included all the key information, a call to action and imagery that’s reflective of your university.  

Go live and recruit!

If everything checks out, hit confirm and you’re off! Now students throughout China will be seeing an ad for your university and considering whether or not to apply. We’re sure they’ll be eager to attend!

As the campaign runs, you’ll be able to review how it’s performing i.e. which age demographic are responding to your ad, how many clicks and impressions it’s receiving and so on. 

Ready to get recruiting?

Now you know how to set up the perfect ad campaign to recruit Chinese international students into your college, let’s get started. 
You can set up a free account with here.

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