Digital marketing for Saudi Arabian university student recruitment

Abdulelah Abed Althagafi*, Mike Mannion, Noreen Siddiqui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to develop a digital marketing capability maturity model (CMM) as a guiding framework in support of increasing international student recruitment to the public universities in Saudi Arabia (SAPUs).

The CMM was constructed by comparing the common practices of Web 2.0 usage for international student recruitment from five SAPUs and from five Scottish universities. The stages of the awareness, interest, desire and action (AIDA) marketing model were used to guide the analysis of the data and used as the business processes for the CMM.

All SAPUs use Web 2.0 for the recruitment of international students focusing on awareness and interest, but the content often lacks consistency and depth. Scottish universities use Web 2.0 across all stages of the AIDA model, and the content often has greater consistency and depth.

Research limitations/implications
The analysis draws on published content from a small sample of SAPUs and Scottish universities but did not solicit the views of the staff about the content's effectiveness.

Practical implications
This study extends the knowledge about the strategic use of Web 2.0 in SAPUs for addressing international student recruitment marketing challenges.

Social implications
Increasing the international student population at SAPUs is one strategy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's 2030 vision to reduce its dependency on oil exports.

This study applies the AIDA model to develop a CMM for the use of Web 2.0 in SAPUs explicitly for international student recruitment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1159
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Higher Education
Issue number5
Early online date25 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • digital marketing
  • student selection
  • Saudi Arabia


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