The University of Melbourne SEM Case Study results for Recruitment


This account over the 2 years that we worked with them had an overall growth of completed applications through SEM by +1,493%, yes, you read that correctly.

After our first year working with the university we reviewed the whole account performance and worked with the University onto where we could take our learnings to the next level. There were a number of areas where we couldn’t move on improving the limitations of the account requirements, but we had a chance to optimise the accounts that would need a full overhaul of our existing campaigns.

We took this opportunity to wipe the slate again and rebuild the account for a second time in year 2. This wasn’t a light undertaking, but we took it upon our remit to rebuild it again with a whole review of their data from year 1. Where we learnt here was that we had to build and then rebuild again where we maximised the best opportunity to get maximum results. This was also fast-tracked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where 9-12 months work needed to be delivered within a 6 month period in order to capture the volume that was needed within this medium while advertising sensitivities where required.

With a solid plan in place that was formulated in February, prior to the pandemic lockdowns, we were able to accelerate the rollout due to solid planning and get to market early with immediate success. This primary early planning in a proactive sense, was one of the key reasons of the account’s success in year 2 of the account.

What we did?

The University of Melbourne had over 10 faculties, each with its own requirements and idiosyncrasies individual to each faculty, then some faculties with 10 or more key courses that required their own individual settings themselves. This took the account from year one of approximately 200 campaigns, to double the size of just under 400 campaigns. Further to this, the ad groups went from 400 to 2000 to match our planned approach.

Why did we do this? This is because we understood the requirements needed by the client and we didn’t sweat the hard stuff. Without looking to make shortcuts on our behalf, we could see the approach needed through strong data analysis, and we planned a solid execution process and executed efficiently and with precision each step of the way.


McCann/Smart worked in SEM with The University of Melbourne for 2 years. Within the first year, the Search team grew Completed Applications by +443%. In the second year, this grew again by another +377%. This account over the 2 years that we worked with them had an overall growth of completed applications through SEM by +1,493%, yes, you read that correctly.

Brendan Keevers
Brendan Keevers

Brendan has worked across many major Australian brands in delivering successful digital media driven solutions to maximise any project he’s been a part of. He understands the relationship that modern people have with digital media to create spaces where creativity can thrive and build on the ever-changing landscape that digital interaction evolves. Brendan has worked with University of Melbourne, Melbourne Airport, HiSmile Teeth, Muscle Nation, Navitas, Menulog, Movember to name a few.

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