UNICAF generates >520K conversions by experimenting with Smart Display campaigns

March 2019

UNICAF is dedicated to increasing access to higher education in Africa. It wanted to test Smart Display campaigns to see if they could generate more leads and conversions in an effort to register new students.


Founded in 2012

Company dedicated to increasing access to higher education in Africa

Headquarters in Larnaca, Cyprus


Reach as many leads as possible

Increase conversion rate of leads to registered students


Tested Smart Display campaigns in the Nigerian market

Expanded Smart Display campaigns to 17 further markets


>520K conversions

104% increase in conversions

Headquartered in Cyprus, UNICAF is part of an extensive higher education organisation with campuses and learning centers in Europe, Asia, and Africa. UNICAF offers quality tertiary education online, in partnership with European, UK, and African universities. UNICAF is committed to promoting quality higher education in Africa, by investing in new technologies and working with governments to expand the online learning environment.

Africa, the sole continent that UNICAF focuses on, has limited Google Search activity which meant the company was directing 90% of their budget to Display campaigns, making this its largest channel. But wanting to increase the number of leads reached and convert more of those leads into registered university students, it decided to experiment with Smart Display campaigns.

Smart Display campaigns make the process of setting up and managing Display advertising straightforward, requiring far less time and effort to create. Businesses can quickly create highly performing campaigns that automatically optimise in a matter of days thanks to machine learning.

UNICAF’s principal concern prior to starting the trial was keeping the cost per lead low so that the final conversion cost made financial sense. It was also concerned that Smart Display campaigns would not provide enough control for precise demographic targeting as its scholarships were not suitable for the 18-24 age category.

With these concerns in mind, the team chose to initially put Smart Display campaigns to the test in the pivotal Nigerian market. The results were extremely positive and after witnessing great success in Nigeria, UNICAF was persuaded to expand this approach and roll out Smart Display campaigns to 17 further markets.

Between November 2017 and October 2018, Smart Display campaigns helped UNICAF generate 520,358 conversions while driving a 422% PoP growth in Display conversions. The company also gained valuable insights that provided a better understanding of the customer journey, allowing it to improve its targeting to reach new customers while maintaining a similar cost per acquisition. The results exceeded UNICAF’s expectations which has led the company to consider Smart Display campaigns as an integral part of their expansion strategies moving forward, contributing to a 298% PoP uplift in its Display advertising budget.

“The introduction of Google Smart Display campaigns in our digital marketing activities played an instrumental and critical role as part of our expanding business model. The insights really helped us understand the consumer journey better and improve our audience targeting.”

— George E Kyriacou , Digital Marketing Director of UNICAF

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