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The Open University is one of the most searched for UK Universities in Google

A recent report published by OC&C Strategy Consultants in collaboration with Google ranks the UK Open University as the top 5th UK University searched for in international online searches. The report highlights that increasing numbers of international students are searching online for UK universities.

Based on these facts, the report predicts significant future growth in the number of international students studying at UK universities. This growth will be driven primarily by an increase in the number of international distance learning students at UK universities and students studying at international branch campuses.

David Black, Director at Google UK, said: “British higher education institutions are among the best in the world, and many are already pursuing effective internationalisation strategies. This report highlights that there is a significant increase in the volume of searches for British universities from overseas”.

The UK is second only to the US as the most popular study destination, based on Google search activity and students are looking beyond heritage UK brands such as Oxbridge and Imperial College London, which regularly feature in the top-five most searched for institutions from overseas. The Open University, with its unique distance learning operating model, is attracting students because of its emphasis on understanding and responding to the needs of international students through a dedicated international team focussing on marketing, research, enquirer experience and student support.

Steve Hill, Commercial Director at The Open University said: “International demand for UK Higher Education is huge – and growing – which is why so many international students currently choose to study with The Open University. To meet this demand, we’re working with Google to develop our digital marketing capability to ensure we’re reaching those international students whose needs can best be met by The Open University’s flexible study model. Combining this approach with a clear understanding of our international students and innovative delivery methods, we are confident we can enjoy continuing success in our recruitment of overseas students.”

Mark Jeynes, Partner at OC&C and author of the report, said “Britain’s universities are highly sought after by international students and many institutions have well thought-through strategies in place to capitalise on this opportunity. Already, many universities are honing their digital marketing skills and developing a host of new capabilities to succeed in their quest for international expansion. In order to succeed, institutions must ensure they are offering a range of programmes, content and delivery mechanisms to suit new markets, as well as developing strong but flexible local partnerships to ensure their offering is competitive and attuned to local needs”

Notes to Editors

OC&C analysed Google search data relating to the 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 academic years, focusing on the top-50 source markets for inbound international students studying in the UK and the top-50 UK universities, based on The Times Good University Guide rankings. Google search data was also analysed for the top-100 universities globally, based on the World University Rankings published by Times Higher Education. Both the volume of search activity and the historic growth in search activity was evaluated to rank universities based on Google search activity. Google search activity was also analysed at the subject level for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
Founded in 1987, OC&C is a leading global strategy consulting firm that brings clear thinking to the most complex issues facing today's management teams. OC&C's client roster includes some of the world's most respected companies throughout the retail, consumer goods, media, private equity and business services sectors.

For more information about OC&C Strategy Consultants, please visit

Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.

Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

The Open University is a world leader in educational innovation, committed to widening access to Higher Education around the world. Since its establishment in 1969 it has taught more than 1.8 million students, combining scale with exceptional quality. The University has recently strengthened its international footprint by creating a dedicated team to promote its high quality distance learning programmes overseas.

For more information, please visit

Download the report:
Media contact: Emma Baddeley, Programme Manager, Open University Worldwide, Perry Building E, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK, Tel.: ++44-(0)1908-659568, E-Mail

Beatrix Polgar-Stüwe | idw
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