Top marks to news media in reaching uni students

As universities battle to recruit the best and brightest, the latest emma data shows newspaper media ignites the imagination of young students. Adrian Fernandes analyses the numbers

Infographic_UNIVERSITIES_DIGITALEight of the world’s top 200 universities are Australian, according to the new global rankings of The Higher Education Supplement published in The Times, of London.

The nation is the fifth-best represented on the list and all eight institutions improved their positions compared with last year’s table.

Australians increasingly value education, according to the latest emma data. With one in three readers holding a tertiary qualification, it is the natural medium of choice of universities trying to attract the brightest students to their campus.

Generation Education

emma data shows three out of four Australians believe a formal education is vital for success in today’s economy.

Gen Y (those aged 23-34) are the best educated generation in history with 50 percent completing a tertiary course.

The growth in demand for university education shows no sign of slowing. Figures from the Commonwealth’s Department of Education reveal 273,743 applications were made to universities by Year 12 students this year.

Postgraduate education is also on the rise. emma finds that 192,000 white collar professionals are continuing their studies.

Reaching Out

For universities targeting prospective students, many take advantage of the exceptional reach of print across each state and rely on metropolitan newspapers to cut through the noise.

National/Metro Newspaper Reach by State*

NSW 69%
VIC 78%
QLD 69%
WA 73%
SA 75%
ACT 72%
NT 79%
TAS 90%

Universities can reach those actively considering a tertiary education in dedicated editorial supplements, careers pages, and The Australian’s respected Higher Education section published on Wednesdays. emma data shows these environments reach 770,000 each month.

Local Knowledge

Local newspapers provide an additional dimension, especially because so many young Australians like to study in their home city.

Some 7 million Australians read a regional or community newspaper each month, and local area marketing in these publications can increase ad visibility dramatically. Many readers rely on local newspapers to highlight services, including education opportunities, in their area.

Right Environment

A jewel in the crown of many universities is the MBA program and represent fees of up to $75,000.

This prestigious qualification is highly desired by ambitious junior and mid-ranking executives, who have already completed a Bachelor degree.

Newspaper media has high penetration rates among professionals, providing universities with a direct channel to a key target market. Nine in ten (89%) of managers and professionals in Australia read a newspaper last month. One in two read a business and finance section in the same period.


Digest the Detail

The variety of tertiary courses offered by universities presents a communications challenge. While it is important to maintain a consistent brand, university marketers must also convey the nuances and benefits of a range of courses across the social spectrum of potential students.

Newspapers are the perfect platform to conquer this challenge, as print advertising allows universities to include information in an environment where readers have time to digest the detail.

Here’s a great example of how QUT married eye-catching imagery with detailed copy to great effect.

The University of Sydney used newspapers to reach potential MBA candidates in the Australian Financial Review and Sydney Morning Herald.


You don’t need a PhD to figure out that newspaper media provides the perfect environment for university advertisements to reach an engaged audience.

* emma™ conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, People 14+ for the 12 months ending July 2014, Read newspaper in the last four weeks.



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