Digital Campaign

Made In Windsor

CLIENT University of Windsor
YEAR 2018-2019 & 2020-2021
ROLE Advertising Agency

01. STRATEGY

OBJECTIVES

  1. Drive student applications for University of Windsor’s various programs and offerings.
  2. Increase brand touchpoints and increase impression thresholds in efforts to stabilize year over year campaign results despite macro factors such as the Coronavirus. As such, awareness channels such as digital audio, YouTube and connected television accounted for 40% of spend.
  3. Better media performance efficiencies by focusing on lessening overall cost and increasing media performance results per channel.

Targeted Prospective Students on the Social platforms they use most and tested emerging ones: We diversified our Social investment strategy to test new channels and drive incremental reach of prospective students on the channels they use most beyond Facebook to include Pinterest, SnapChat and Instagram

  • Used a Video First Creative Strategy: Leaned into ad types that were attention grabbing and thumb-stopping in a mobile first world with a predominantly video strategy employing long form video creatives (30 seconds) to tell the story of University of Windsor and drive home the unique value proposition
  • Retargeted Prospective Students who showed interest and pushed them down the path to Applying with a full funnel Social strategy: Built retargeting audiences off of consumption of longer duration videos (30s) and used shorter video cut downs as a continuation of the brand message – using these to support a full funnel strategy on Social. This allowed us to target students who have shown interest in the University to continue to interact with the videos in a new way, and drive them down the path of applying to the school, showcasing their unique value proposition in new ways.
  • Used 1st Party Data to Build Lookalike Audiences to Improve Effectiveness of our Campaigns. Used 1st party audience data of prospective students and current students to build lookalike audiences alongside retargeting audiences which aided in increasing the quality of traffic to site and student applications

02. INNOVATION

  • Leaned into automation with new Ad Formats: Employed RSA and DSA ad formats which rely on site content to create engaging ad copy – which had a positive impact on Generic Search performance
  • Diversified our investment strategy to target students in their consideration phase prior to selecting a school with our Generic and Program specific campaigns
  • Optimized our bidding strategy to drive maximum new student application – testing new bidding strategies for the University
  • Increased Brand Impression share to maximize Brand Building in Search
  • For a vertical that has historically relied on traditional methods of outreach and qualitative methods to reach prospective students, Digital Nar saw an opportunity to bring both digital innovation and accountability to University of Windsor’s marketing programs, ensuring every dollar spent laddered up through direct attribution to the overall objective of increasing consideration and student applications.

    Utilizing existing and emerging programmatic channels such as Display, Video, Audio and Connected Television through one unified buy point, Digital Nar was able to open up access to touchpoints most relevant to the target generation in a controlled and performance driven manner through geolocation and proximity-based strategies.
COUNTRIES@2x

03. RESULTS

Domestic Graduate program applications GREW 39%

International Graduate program applications increased 14%

International Undergrad program applicants decreased 29%

 

This is an incredible feat! We are immensely proud of partnering with the University of Windsor to help them get their incredible pivot out there to prospective students as it paid off beyond all expectations!

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04. Marketing during a pandemic

COVID-19 hit the education category hard. With uncertain times ahead, students weren’t sure what their futures would look like. The University of Windsor heard the concerns of students and put a plan in action to tailor their programs and offerings to help students learn skills that would help them throughout the evolving landscape of COVID-related lockdowns and beyond. Providing new course offerings alongside virtual courses empowered the University to stay ahead of the curve.

 

 What’s the point of staying ahead of the curve if you don’t tell anyone about it?

That’s why our 2021 New Student Application Paid Media Program included standalone campaigns supporting Virtual Open House Initiatives, using paid media. This helped the University get their message out and encouraged students to interact with them in safe and healthy ways, while driving home the value of a University of Windsor education. The Virtual House Campaigns in conjunction with the New Student Application Paid Program helped the

University of Windsor create a competitive edge, distinguishing themselves from those competitors in the space who were too slow to act.

 

The result of this hard work and quick thinking translated into major results for the University. How major? Well, while other schools suffered double-digit declines across the board, this approach helped mitigate major new student decline.

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Tactics & New Approaches

#SOCIAL MEDIA

Tactics: Funnel Strategy (Awareness, Traffic and Conversion Campaigns) on Facebook, Traffic and Conversion Campaigns on Pinterest, and Swipe Up Campaigns on SnapChat. Carve out 10% of budget to target GTA region therefore expanding our geographical targeting without taking away support from our priority cities

What’s New: Expanding over coverage on Pinterest to include Conversion campaigns now that we have pixel implementation - we can now measure the channels impact on driving new Student acquisition

#PROGRAMMATIC

Tactics: In-Market, Publisher Category, Keyword, Location,
Remarketing, Gmail Sponsored Promotions, Connected TV

What’s New: Gmail Sponsored Promotions: Utilize both first party lists and in market segments to reach prospective students in their Gmail inbox, a high engagement environment
Location: Expand location based targeting to include prospective students in the vicinity of high schools and colleges

Keyword: Leverage existing generic keyword lists from Paid Search to place UofW messaging alongside relevant content as determined by Google Search trends

#PAID SEARCH

Tactics: Text Search; Brand Campaigns, Generic Search Campaigns, Responsive Search Ads

What’s New: Testing Max Conversion Bid Strategies on RSA and Generic Search Campaigns, while focusing on Target CPA on Brand Campaigns to help improve conversion rates and CPA. Expand targeting to all of Ontario and layer in additional In- market and Affinity Audiences on top of Remarking lists (emails and web retargeting). Add in Mid-Funnel Conversion Actions to help build audience pools and qualified audience