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RDI university Clicky marketing

RDI/Arden University.

The client



The project


David Berry.

Strategy & Insights Manager

Richard Martin.

PPC Specialist

Established over 25 years ago, Arden offer career-focused international online distance learning courses, alongside blended learning study at their UK campuses.

Originally formed as RDI back in 1990, they’ve supported in excess of 50,000 students worldwide in furthering their education, and are the experts in flexible UK degrees, masters and MBAs. In August 2015 they officially became Arden University, the only specialist distance (online) learning university to launch in the UK in the last 50 years.

the brief

When we first met RDI 8 years ago, they were looking to trial the then brand new Google Display Network platform to understand the effectiveness of display advertising to support their paid search efforts. At the time, Clicky were just a team of two, the same as the number of marketing personnel at RDI. This would form the commencement of a lasting relationship that would span in excess of 8 years.

RDI brief


ppc & social advertising

Lead generation and quality has always been the key focus of all work we have undertaken for RDI and throughout our partnership, ambitious targets were set to ensure we consistently delivered a positive ROI, no matter which channel or platform was used.

Over time, as the world of online advertising developed, we collaborated with the client, both with a focus on ensuring all campaigns were market leading and ensuring we were constantly innovative, setting the standard in the competitive education market. Distance learning was a concept that was much less recognised as an option to learners as it is today, so it was also our aim to educate potential students of the fantastic opportunity RDI provided through flexible learning online.

“The success of the initial trail campaign led our one month, small contract, to grow to fifteen times the original time allocated each month with a diverse range of display, search and social media platforms being managed.”

Both companies grew alongside each other, and we supported the effective promotion of their digital advertising across the world, with campaigns running in a number of international regions, including Africa, Central and South America and Asia.

Such was the success, that combined with their wider marketing strategy, the business was able to invest in bringing in more in-house marketing resource to support the huge growth of the business.

Throughout our relationship with the client, they were keen to grow within their industry and explore new forms of advertising across a variety of new platforms, from Bebo to Adwords, to capture their audience perfectly. Due to their enthusiastic and trusting nature, we gradually became responsible for managing much of their social and display advertising as well as an extensive range of paid search campaigns.

RSI PPC display averts


As the usage of search amongst internet users continued to grow exponentially, it was clear that a more refined organic search strategy was required to support the wide range of advertising being undertaken.

We were delighted when they chose to move forward with our natural search service to enhance the existing online advertising and website support work we were undertaking. We were tasked with creating on-page optimisation for their UK, Nigeria and Caribbean sites, alongside monthly blog content research and blog optimisation, catering for the different countries. During this time we also supported website amends, and undertook landing page design, redevelopment and split testing projects.


In 2013, five years into our relationship, we were rewarded the RDI website redesign project, in which Clicky were tasked to develop a new conversion focused website solution. As the UK’s leading provider in online distance learning with a renowned record for student support and satisfaction, the client required a system that was user-friendly, intuitive but ultimately gave students the ideal pathways and options to progress their education based upon their experience and qualification level.

As part of the wider project, we also designed and developed two effective tools which were launched on the RDI website. The Eligibility Checker worked as a simple 5 step process in which visitors enter basic information on their experience and education level. The system intelligently calculated courses relevant to the specific user and provided them with course options based upon this criteria. Users were also emailed these options and could view and apply for courses instantly.

The Course Finder is a simple and quick tool for identifying available courses for applicants who know the level and course area they are interested in.

“We turned to Clicky Media because we had a complex project that needed to be delivered on time and on budget. We were not disappointed.”

Clicky Media kept us informed of progress at all stages, were quick to respond to changes to our plans and helped us meet our deadlines. We now have a website solution which takes us a big step forward in terms of design, process and experience for the user and we are planning to build on this foundation in the coming months with Clicky Media again.” – Ben Culling, Head of Marketing

To coincide with the launch of the newly designed RDI USA & Caribbean websites, we also launched a new mobile website for RDI UK back in 2012, as people were increasingly using mobile devices to access information on the internet.

“When deciding on who should help us develop our mobile site, Clicky Media were top of the list and we have no regrets. On time, on budget  – Clicky Media’s team listened at every stage, worked hard to make it happen and made the process easy for us.” Ben Culling, Head of Marketing.


Throughout our journey with RDI, we both saw huge growth. We’ve always believed that transparency should be at the centre of any client relationship, so as well as working as RDI’s digital partner and undertaking all of their digital advertising across the board, we also encouraged them to recruit internally to ensure the best results and a cost effective solution. This saw RDI’s marketing team grow from just one to over 10 members of the team and counting, as we took on more of a consultative role to help the team learn to manage the ads themselves in-house.

RDI clicky consultancy


As Arden have grown over the years, gaining a huge following and eventually earning their Taught Degree-Awarding Powers status, we built up the awareness of the university and grew with the client throughout our 8 year partnership.

When RDI became part of the Capella Education Company, they underwent a rebrand into Arden university which saw them grow massively to where they are today. This transition saw them expanding from a smaller business with 1 marketing team member to over 100 people, as a result of us growing together for over eight years.

Overall, after working closely with Arden as their digital partner over the years, we loved working on their entire digital strategy to drive results and increase conversions. Their trusting, open and innovative attitude made them one of our favourite and long standing clients as our partnership evolved over the 8 years we worked with them.

Arden stand as a fantastic example of how two businesses can effectively collaborate and partner to deliver truly effective results that deliver real tangible performance. As one of Clicky’s first clients, they continue to be one of our closest partners and we hope to work with them again in the future.




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