Here’s a typical example of how international university rankings directly influence university policies. This is a newspaper article about a national university, reported in a major national newspaper somewhere in the world:
“The university has started recruiting international undergraduate students in an effort to boost its image on a global scale. About 300 international students from various countries registered at the university here yesterday.
The Minister for Higher Education said recruiting international students was to improve its rank in world university rankings, such as the Times Higher Education Supplement’s (THES) World University Rankings.”
You could argue that it doesn’t make too much sense to focus on an indicator which only is 5% of the total score. But even more you could argue that a minister should base his objectives on national needs and national circumstances. Not base them on a widely disputed ranking which is characterised by flaws and errors.