Azerbaijan Mission Report October 2016

Leading UK universities, including London Schools of Economics & Political Science, Kings College London, Warwick University, Manchester University and University College London, joined the HE exhibition in Baku last week.


Despite fears of reduced demand due to the local economy, global oil prices and the suspension of the Ministry of Education scholarship, interest was strong and high achieving students remain attracted to studying  in the UK.

Applications from self-funded students for 2017 have started more strongly that last year, and there are hopes for a return of the state scholarship next year, focussed on PG courses in ministry identified subjects, and joint programmes held in both countries.

The exclusive Alumni Reception again attracted a good number of UK university alumni, a vital source of university ‘ambassadors’ and referral enquiries for the future. University representatives were then treated to an evening of blues jazz at an exclusive restaurant, with the International Jazz Festival taking place in Baku.

The HE Exhibition takes place in October and April every year, and was the first UK-focussed education event in Azerbaijan, developed with support from the FCO and UKTI. Since 2013 the British Council has offered a competing event, which helps their local sales of IELTS courses and tests, products that globally help the BC earn over £1 billion per year. In 2016 the BC were forced to issue an apology to Levant Education for unfair competitive exploitation of Levant’s cooperation with UKTI / FCO in 2011/12.

Baku Autumn 2016

October 14 and 15, 2016
Marriott Hotel, Baku

We are looking forward to welcoming UK partners from HE and HE pathways to our Baku events in October.

Can’t attend? Our year-round digital marketing package is localise, published in Azeri-language and linked to social media, and is guaranteed to generate enquiries and provide traffic from Azerbaijan. Choose ‘online marketing only’ to register and confirm your Azerbaijan online campaign for 2016/17.

The first and original UK-dedicated event in Azerbaijan, this will be our 7th UK-focussed education exhibition in Baku since 2012.  We have maintained our focus on high quality exhibitions and networking events, working with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Education, SOCAR and SOFAZ, local schools and universities to ensure successful alignment with local institutions.

Institutions attending in the past 2 years include London School of Economics, Kings College London, University of Manchester, University of Glasgow, Warwick University, University College London, Aberdeen University, Aberystwyth University, Cardiff University,  University of Edinburgh, University of Newcastle, University of Southampton, Kings Colleges, Bell University Pathways, and many more.

Universities can chose to attend whether working with Levant Education

  • on agency terms (commission agreement)
  • on an annual ‘Direct Recruitment‘ package
  • or with no formal agreement
  • or sign up for online marketing only

All registered attendees will be supported by a full, year-round profile on in Azerbaijan. The event will be precisely marketed to attract a focussed attendance with better conversion rates.

Universities will also be invited to participate in the famous Studybritish Alumni Reception, featuring an Inter-University Challenge Quiz: current champions are University of Manchester.


Click the logo for further details and online registration: 


Education Seminars and Enrolment Sessions, Istanbul 2016

12th October 2016
Targeted recruitment sessions in Nisantisi, Istanbul


Registrations are open for universities, high schools, summer schools and pathway providers to attend our Study Abroad exhibition on Wednesday 12th October 2016.

Our targeted, well-focussed event aims to attract students who are ready to enrol for international universities and pathway programmes abroad. Students will be pre-filtered and attending with transcripts and support documentation to enable speedy assessment for admissions. Exhibitor spaces are strictly limited to 20 to ensure maximum conversion potential.


The event will include seminars for students and teachers, presentations and discussions aimed at providing the most complete event for those interested in studying abroad. We will hold a University Alumni Reception in the evening.

Universities, high schools and pathway providers are encouraged to register ASAP due to the strict limit on exhibitors.

Event Fee: £2950 (includes stand, presentation, dedicated online profile 12 months)
Event Times: 3pm – 8pm
Venue: St Regis Hotel, Nisantisi, Istanbul

Discounted Fee: £2250 (Levant Education Study Abroad Partners, Exhibitors attending the Baku exhibition).

Can’t attend? Our year-round digital marketing package is localised, Turkish-language and social media, and is guaranteed to generate enquiries and provide traffic from Turkey. Choose ‘online marketing only’ to register and confirm your Turkey online campaign for 2016/17.

Book online now:


Baku Autumn 2015: Report

UK universities returned to Baku with for a full programme of exhibition, networking and alumni events. 

ukaz_roundtable_webWith the emphasis on building capacity and developing HE in Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Education encouraged us to explore HE cooperation and partnerships between UK and Azerbaijani institutions. During a UK – Azerbaijan Round Table Meeting, UK and Azerbaijan international relations colleagues discussed best practice and realistic opportunities for working together in the next 5 years.

On the Friday evening alumni from 3 of the visiting universities – Kings College London, University College London and Manchester University – competed in a University Challenge Quiz, facing questions about life in the UK, international relations, UK education…with bonus rounds testing the alumni to their limits.

On the Saturday, more than 200 students from local schools and universities came to the Hilton for our UK University exhibition. Despite the current mystery surrounding the government scholarship programme, interest was high from ambitious future UG’s and PG’s.



Baku April 2016

Our UK Education events have broken new ground in Turkey, Kurdish Iraq and Azerbaijan, boosting access to UK education opportunities and raising standards in UK HE marketing in the region.

We return to Baku in April 2016, once again taking residence for 3 days at the Hilton Hotel, Baku. Once again we will be working closely with local schools and universities, companies, Alumni Associations and the Ministry of Education.

Our events aim to better serve future scholarship students, as well as privately funded ones, and to enhance local networks. We will meet with the Ministry of Education on Friday 08 April.


Friday 08 April – Baku – Ministry Meeting, VIP Reception

Saturday 09 April – Baku – Private Seminars, Exhibition

Sunday 10 April – Optional Private Seminars


Exhibitors 2014/15:
Previous University Exhibitors

PPC Advertising for International Education

Marketing your school / university online, you will have considered, or been offered, advertising using Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. PPC is fast becoming the most important advertising channel for international education.

Before considering allocating precious marketing budget, it’s important to understand exactly how PPC works. Here we look at PPC options in an important market such as Turkey.

Google AdWords is the most well known PPC advertising channel, taking 90% of a £3bn market in the UK alone. Organisations and businesses bid on relevant keywords for their ad (paid-for search result) to be shown to users searching for those exact or approximate terms. As it’s a PPC model, advertisers set budgets and pay every time a user clicks on their ad. Your Adwords PPC campaign puts you in the listings you see in the top and right panes of your Google search results, with the first 3 being those advertisers who have the best combination of bid amount and landing page experience.

Bid amount

Depending on how competitive your search term is, you’re likely to have to bid quite highly to get seen alongside your competitors.

In the international education sector, using our Turkish example, search terms such as ‘yurtdışı eğitim (international education) or ‘yurtdışı yuksek lisans(international masters degree) are among the most popular search terms, making them the most expensive keywords to target for advertisers. A Turkish student or Turkish parents tend to search for education abroad before any specific country, so yurtdışı eğitim produces more clicks than Ingiltere’de eğitim, for example.

To consistently appear in the best sponsored result positions advertisers need to spend thousands on PPC advertising, spend which in reality is only feasible for large companies with a range of products (international courses, schools, colleges) to direct the enquiries towards. If you are a British university or language school, only a small fraction of the enquiries generated from the most productive keyword campaign will be usable or stand a chance of conversion. However, for a global education provider like EF, or a larger agency with many international partners, serious investment in PPC makes more sense. Such companies also benefit from greater economies of scale and better advertising rates based on the volume of business they put Google’s way.

Landing Page Experience

Aside from the amount you are able to bid for certain keywords, Google rates the landing page for quality of user experience, taking into account things like content relevance, bounce rate, conversion optimisation (calls to action), engaging features such as search facilities, comments or ratings, videos and clean navigation.

It is therefore important to be able to provide localised landing pages, optimised in the right language for people searching in the target country. Each keyword or phrase that you are paying for must, therefore, link to a landing page that is relevant to that keyword or phrase. A generic ‘Turkey’ page on your website, for example, is unlikely to provide an optimised landing page for specific keywords searches such as ‘ingilterede dil egitimi’ or a whole range of specific searches from students searching on Google.

SEO and Organic search results

For most school and universities, search engine optimisation (SEO) seems like a more cost-effective and realistic option to increase enquiries. By working to get your site listed organically on search engines, you can get your business seen without a prohibitive daily spend.

The reality is however, that investing in a competitive website with appropriate content, optimised in the right language, with effective link-building practices, that can match local (e.g. Turkish) websites will also involve considerable manpower and investment, which is usually beyond the reach of 99% of universities and schools.

Outsourcing PPC Advertising Management

Many schools and universities have found a solution with in-market specialist sites that are able to provide the local expertise and technical capabilities to produce better Return on Investment from PPC advertising.

Staying with Turkey, combines optimised, localised content about study in the UK with a regular organic each of 5000 visitors per month. A school or university will have unlimited opportunity for landing page creation to tie-in with Google PPC advertising. Local teams manage the PPC campaigns, ensuring optimised results in terms of CTR (click through rates) and CPC (cost per click), and ultimately gold: serious student enquiries.

Outsourcing online advertising in this way harnesses local knowledge and enhances advertising results many times over. has helped language schools and universities to conduct online PPC advertising (with detailed reports at the end), while they have focussed on the daily business of student recruitment channel management and student satisfaction. In the near future, most online advertising in international markets will be outsourced in this way, as it is specialised, accountable and reportable.

SHU Testimonial PPC

Focussed International Student Recruitment with PPC Advertising is our exclusive platform for generating student enquiries. Members of benefit from being on the most focussed website for study in the UK in the region, with an optimised profile in the right language.

The membership package includes:

  • Fully optimised and translated profile
  • Managed £1000 PPC campaigns per market to generate enquiries
  • Guaranteed enquiries and enrolments
  • Additional managed PPC campaigns at cost price
  • Social media links and regular articles
  • Monthly reports
  • A ‘Shout Package’ – 2 weeks of online and real world marketing to promote your visit/event in-market
  • Follow up / conversion if required (with Levant Education Study Abroad)

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

While most UK schools and universities are now investing in some form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on search engines and social media platforms nationally, PPC for international student recruitment is still relatively under-utilised, due to complications such as language and cultural differences.

Where it is attempted, advertisers often target the wrong platforms, or use keywords/phrases better suited to an English speaking audience. There are clear competitive advantages for those who do some research, harness local knowledge and prepare accordingly, as well as cost effectiveness and ROI benefits.

For many years international marketing managers have committed serious budget to attending fairs, unsure of how they were promoted and usually feeling like the students attending are either at a very early stage in their research about study abroad, or actually interested in something related but a million miles from studying in the UK.

For example, many students attend fairs in Turkey because they see advertising about work & travel programs, scholarships or competitions to win prizes. Exhibitors pay a fortune to meet the random results of such marketing.

Why use PPC advertising

With most pre-purchase research carried out online these days, PPC advertising offers a much more targeted way to reach students – and you only pay when the student has shown an interest. Anyone searching for ‘work and travel’ will be safely guided to a suitable site, while a student searching for ‘UK master in Engineering’ or ‘language course London’ for example, can be directed to the right information.

In sales, we always prefer qualified leads, and the beauty of PPC advertising is that the leads, or prospective students, qualify themselves!

The main challenges for international student recruitment concern linguistics and specific market knowledge. Not only does the landing page designed to catch the students need to contain the relevant information in the right language, the PPC advertising needs to use the right combination of keywords and phrases that enhance conversions and beat the competing advertisers.

Sample Month
5000 visitors per Month (

Before you even get to designing a PPC campaign, you need to be sure you will be using the right platforms. In Turkey, 91% of searches are carried out on in the Turkish language. Facebook is widely used, as is Twitter and Linked In. In Azerbaijan different platforms are effective in different combinations.A well-managed campaign will pay attention to bidding strategies, budgets and scheduling to enhance the conversion rates of any campaign.

Pay Per Click Campaign

You may be very familiar with the keywords that students are using to search your university domestically, but for successful PPC campaigns in Turkey, for example, local assistance is invaluable. Simply translating your existing content or campaigns, and not taking into account cultural subtleties and up-to-date searching patterns, will harm results. The same goes for the information displayed on your landing pages also.

Click here for an example of a landing page in Turkish, or here for Azerbaijan, on our targeted site for UK education enquiries, Click here for more membership information and registration. 


Unrest in Turkey

Implications of the unrest in Turkey for student recruitment from Turkey


While the demonstrations are ongoing and the results still uncertain, there are some pointers for the international education student recruitment industry:

Traditional Media: For several years now the Turkish media has effectively been shackled, with dissenting  newspapers facing crippling fines for daring to oppose the government. So it is not surprising that TV and Newspapers massively failed to cover the protests, largely following the government narrative or ignoring what is happening. If young Turkish people were already infrequent readers of traditional print media, the current unrest has only confirmed that newspapers are generally under government control, and to be avoided. Established TV channels have shown themselves to be unwilling or afraid to do anything other than follow the government line.

Social media: The only way young people have been able to quickly communicate and broadcast within Turkey and to the outside world has been through Facebook and Twitter. As usual, the government has blamed the medium (eg Twitter) for carrying the message (about corruption, police brutality and creeping islamification). As has happened in other countries facing demonstrations or upheaval, ‘foreign elements’ have been blamed. The increase in use of ‘smart’ phones and social media does highlight that using Social Media is easily more important than print media to reach the target segment for study abroad.

Learning English / Studying Abroad: State control of the media has frustrated millions of Turkish people who saw that their protests (whether demonstrations or pot-banging on the balcony) were going on unreported. In turn people were keen for the outside world to understand what the protests were all about – meaning that posting/tweeting or publishing adverts in international press had to be done in English. So, there will have been a massive realisation that not having the ability to communicate in English leaves one at a disadvantage compared to being bilingual, and that those with an awareness of international media, legal and political systems are better off than those without.

Digital Marketing + Event Promotion

Harness online marketing in Turkish to attract students to your event in Turkey..

How can you conduct local digital marketing to reach Turkish students in the real world?

Levant Education conducts events and marketing campaigns in Turkey with a single theme: studying in the UK. enables our members to run year-round content marketing in Turkish, fully plugged into  Turkish social media, ensuring that your news, articles, events, testimonials and stories are adding to your brand perception in Turkey.

We have the most focussed database of Turkish students interested in studying in the UK. And there’s you, coming to Turkey, with something to SHOUT! about…

Our SHOUT! package is a 2 week intensive marketing campaign that gets the word out, combining e-shots, news features, banners, Facebook posts, Tweets and a dedicated registration form for your event. The student contacts and a full report are included.

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Add Facebook and Google advertising packages to drive more traffic to your profile, and therefore enquiries for you / your agent.

Sign up for year-round online marketing with event / campaign promotion:

Numbers at March 31 2013:

Average number of private visit student registrations: 15
Studybritish student database: 3,560
Facebook Fans: 4200