Open University

The Brief

Drive international
revenue growth 
through digital channels

Two pronged attack: relaunch the international website, and launch and optimise a portfolio of digital channels to maximise traffic and revenue at the lowest possible cost.

View the site

A three step process

Note: this work was carried out firstly as employees of Open University Worldwide (the international division of The Open University) and subsequently as freelance.



Following recruitment and training of a new digital team, a range of digital channels were launched, complete with full tracking and performance analytics.

A Test and Learn programme was set up (both for campaigns but also for user journeys on the website) to improve performance over time. 

Channels included SEO, SEM, SMM, Email, Lead Gen, Partnerships, and Ambassador Marketing; across both B2C and B2B.



The existing website (an arm of the existing UK site) was replaced by an all-new  dedicated international site, designed for optimal UX and revenue performance. 

A 2 year Test and Learn programme was set up to test site designs and user journeys, and a continual content development programme initated to develop, test, measure and re-develop content to maximise UX metrics and conversion rates.

Website content included optimising landing pages for campaigns, and testing mutli-landing page journeys.



Large global partnerships were set up with Google, Linked In, Monster, Study Portals, the BBC, and a range of digital advertising platforms to test new sources of traffic and to test and roll out new Beta digital initiatives .

Examples included a white label LinkedIn in-platform lead capture and registration process, and a Google ad attribution model.

The attribution model consisted of three parts: ad attribution using DoubleClick, lead scoring (leads  scored for age, country, course availability, behavioural responsiveness to email campaigns, web pages visited, and enquiry form completion), and, via an API, optimised against revenue performance from the OU platform.

The results?

At a revenue level, the year on year sales decline was reversed to give the international business a double digit growth rate (the fastest in 10 years, and despite reductions in budget and staff resources in local markets). But other important results included: a 78% reduction in the cost/enquiry KPI, an SEO channel from zero to 20% of all enquiries/est 40% of revenue, and a doubling of website conversions to enquiries.

Digital Channel Work

A 78% reduction in the cost per enquiry KPI metric, mainly from the Search Engine Marketing optimisation work.

SEO was also a major driver to lowering cost per enquiry and raising the quality of traffic and the conversion rate to registration.

Website development and optimisation

The scale of website development in a university cannot be under-estimated given the size of the teams involed and the complexity of the site interfaces with OU systems.

Partnership work

The is area of work was highly successful with partnerships including Google, Linked In, Monster, The Football League, RTE, Studyportals and the BBC.

Matt is a uniquely enthusiastic and creative marketing executive. Matt’s forte is digital marketing but he is equally adept across channels. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him on a major OU international programme.

Subroto Duttaroy
Director International Prospect Conversion at The Open University

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