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On Tuesday 10th August, students around the UK eagerly awaited the release of their A-Level results.

Despite a global pandemic, UCAS Media reported that a record-breaking 395,770 students had received a confirmed place on their full-time undergraduate course. 8% higher than 2020, it would seem students are ready to head into a non-virtual university experience once more.

However, confirmed places are only one part Results Day. Another important factor is Clearing. This is the process of selecting a university or course due to varying individual reasons – whether it’s a change of mind or the results students received were unexpected, Clearing gives pupils another opportunity to find the right course

Clearing, advertising, insight

Clearing (or A Level Results Day) is the big day in the education marketing calendar. It’s the day when prospective students are searching for a university or discussing issues with their fellow students, so naturally, advertising spend ramps up during this period.

We work closely with our Higher Education partners and prospects, and take pride in sharing the insight that we see throughout the day on our social channels.

We also use the insight to develop our advertising strategies for our Higher Education partners, helping them to maximise success during the Clearing period.

It’s a very volatile period for advertisers, so it’s essential to keep on top of trends, search terms and data to optimise campaigns throughout the day, helping them stay ahead of competitors.

However, it doesn’t just stop there. Once one year is completed, planning for the next year begins in earnest, and we use the data and insight that we’ve gleaned to plan and prepare for next year.

With caffeine in hand, we spent Tuesday 10th August gathering valuable insights about Clearing and, with thanks to our friends at Google, wanted to share those results with you, so everyone has a clear vision of what went down on Results Day so you can better prepare for Clearing 2022.

Live Clearing Insights

8:15 AM – Clearing searches started rising.

A lot of the top queries were standard clearing terms (University Clearing, UCAS Clearing etc.) However, medical-related degrees were in high demand. Medicine, pharmacy, and biochemical sciences were amongst the most popular courses being searched for throughout the morning.

Interestingly, general queries related to GCE (General Certificate of Education) began trending earlier than Clearing.

Though there could be a range of reasons as to why this happened, The Student Room  posted results of a study they conducted which stated “52.75% of respondents have said that their teachers have not told them how their grades will be determined this summer.”  

Perhaps the reason why GCE began trending early was due to students being unsure of how their results impacted their university choice.

By 8:30 AM, university searches similar to Clearing started to trend up.

Additionally, appeal searches began to trend shortly after. Most of the trending appeal searches were generic and related to A-levels. However, we did begin to see a few locations and financing terms trend alongside it. This was likely due to students researching costs surrounding university life, especially for institutions that are new to them.

By 2:30 PM, Clearing was still being actively and heavily searched for, as well as a variety of unique rising queries.

Furthermore, searches for UCAS had begun to trend back upwards, alongside some interesting topics related to the service.

We also wanted to highlight a few other insights we found intriguing throughout the day:

  • Opposite to what we saw last year, males aged 45-54 were being shown ads more frequently in comparison to women of the same age. Were Dads doing the searching this year?
  • Females aged 18-24, followed by females aged 45-54, were the top converting audiences by gender and age.
  • Interestingly, only 51% of traffic was coming from mobile. However, 76% of conversions throughout the day were coming from mobile devices when compared to desktops.

To the naked eye, that may look like a sizable amount of insight, but surprisingly, there was very little information being reported on throughout the day, both from the press and industry sources.

This could just be due to previous years being a lot more uncertain, with students having no concept of what grades they would get, particularly in 2020, leading to a huge uptick in traffic, discussion, and search queries. Nevertheless, the information we gathered through the day is still beneficial and will help you paint a picture of what students are searching for on and around Results Day as we look ahead to 2022.

See You Next Year!

It was a strange A Level Results Day and Clearing period with uncertainty still engulfing the world, with the HE sector not immune to this. Hopefully, as we move towards 2022, the recruitment cycle and results period will be much more settled.

Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming blog where we’ll delve into the channels that we saw success with throughout this year’s Clearing period.

If you’d like to supercharge your Clearing 2022 marketing efforts or are looking for innovative and unique ways to target the next cohort of students, get in touch with our expert marketing team today.


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