Digital Ads Case Study: British Council (Education)

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At a glance,

Goal: Create demand for IELTS (English) examinations, targeting individuals looking to work / study in English-speaking countries

Result: Garnered an average of 34 leads / month and 14.9k website clicks across Google Display Network Ads and Facebook Ads over 6 months


As a UK international organisation, the work of the British Council revolves around cultural relations and educational opportunities. Established in Singapore since 1947, its main focus includes teaching English to people of all ages, offering English language exams such as the IELTS, promoting British education and providing information about studying in the UK.

The British Council’s goal for the digital ads campaign is to create demand and improve the registration rate for the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examinations. Specifically, they want to target people who are looking to study, work and migrate aboard to English-speaking countries such as UK, US, Canada and Australia. To achieve that, we worked with both the local team in Singapore, as well as their regional team.

The British Council had done other digital ads campaigns in the past. However, they faced some problems with their previous agency, which led them to turn to us instead. Hence, they requested for us to get better results as compared to their previous agency. In addition, they wanted an agency that not only runs the digital ads campaign, but also constantly look to improve methods and results.

What did we do?

To capture the demand from the different stages of the purchasing funnel (awareness, consideration and conversion), we employed both Facebook Ads and Google Display Network Ads (GDN Ads).

Facebook Ads (Sep 2016 – Feb 2017)

For Facebook ads, we created a custom audience that includes website visitors and current customers of the British Council. From there, we targeted lookalike audiences who have similar traits or interests with our custom audience. These people are likely to be interested in what the British Council offers as they are similar to those who already are.


At this stage, individuals from the lookalike audiences are not aware of what the British Council offers. To reach out to these people and provide useful information about IELTS, we used Post Engagement ads (Figure 1) on Facebook.

Figure 1: Post-engagement ads on Facebook

These ads allow us to grab attention and create awareness through the post while garnering post engagements such as page likes, reactions, comments and shares.


At this stage, most individuals have a purchase intent. Thus, the Facebook Ads serve as refresher ads to remarket IELTS to the target audience. This may consist of past website visitors who exhibited purchase intent. We used a mixture of Carousel ads (Figure 2) and Lead Generation ads (Figure 3) here.

Figure 2: Carousel ads on Facebook
Figure 3: Lead Generation ads on Facebook

The Carousel ads are interactive and contain Call-to-Actions which lead to the British Council website. On the other hand, the Lead Generation Ads attract the target audience to sign up for additional information with their emails, generating leads for the British Council.

Google Display Network Ads – GDN Ads (Dec 2016 – Feb 2017)

We served our GDN ads based on Website Topics. When people search and land on a page that is related to certain website topics, our ads are displayed. For example, topics include “Language Resources”, “Translation Tools and Resources” and “Foreign Language Study”.


By using GDN Ads, we capture prospects who are interested and thus looking for information on Google. Depending on the way they search, they may encounter any of our 2 forms of display ads – Academic Banners and General Banners, each catered to a different version of IELTS.

Academic Banners are served when individuals search for country-based keywords and land on a related website with our ad. When they click on the display ad, they are linked to a landing page catered to studying or working in UK, Australia or Canada. Since IELTS Academic is usually taken by those studying overseas at undergraduate or postgraduate level, we also targeted those who are searching for hostels in UK, US and Australia.

General Banners are served when individuals land on either

  • a site that is related to their search keywords and interests (relevant to our targeting) or
  • a website with a relevant topic

As IELTS General Training is typically taken by those who plan to work at or immigrate to an English-speaking country, the General Banners are also targeted at those looking to rent apartments abroad. In addition, we targeted people working in nursing, early childhood and IT jobs.


Facebook Ads


  • Reach: 166,586 People
  • Ad Impressions: 1,572,612 Impressions
  • Post Engagement: 40,009 (Cost per engagement SGD 0.07)
  • Link Clicks: 13,262 (Cost per click SGD0.36)
  • Leads: 205 (Cost per lead lowered from SGD 6~7 to SGD 4.77)


  • Total Ad Impressions: 1,021,790 Impressions
  • Clicks: 1,705
  • Average Interaction Cost: $1.74

Apart from executing the ads, we made the extra effort to monitor the ads and propose suggestions regularly to better optimize them. We ensure that we utilize the budget efficiently in order to produce the best possible results. Our mentality to constantly improve is what enables us to do better than the previous agency and achieve great results for the British Council.

Moving Forward

Want to reap the benefits of digital ads but not sure where to start? Let us help you reach out to the right prospects for your business!

Joey Wang

Joey Wang

Joey is captain of Appiloque's spaceship. He spends his time charting the company's future and spearheading innovation projects that make business sense. Occasionally, he gets mistaken for a computer since he doesn't need a calculator and overheats when running too many processes.

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