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Stevenson University

Stevenson University football fan carries flag at game

Getting Granular with Stevenson University’s Outreach

Following a successful website redesign and development, Stevenson tasked SAI Digital with the research and analysis, marketing strategy, media planning, and creative asset partnership to elevate their existing marketing efforts for Stevenson University Online (SUO) programs as well as undergraduate recruitment. The digital partnership with Stevenson has grown over several years and so have the outcomes. The marketing strategies planned and executed for Stevenson were part of a total digital solutions approach, where we not only build a client’s website but also devise the marketing strategies that drive targeted traffic to it.

Research is the Foundation of a Successful Campaign

More than just pushing messages out through a media channel, we tapped into the brand and messaging research developed for Stevenson’s website and bolstered it with additional marketing research to arrive at a solid digital strategy. From personas and student outcomes, to industry and career trends, to lifestyle and cultural behavioral layers, we paired critical information with best practices (and some outside-the-box thinking) to cut through and reach prospects. We aligned target audiences with geographic locations for pinpoint geofencing efforts. We guided the messaging and the retargeting process. We analyzed daily data to inform campaign progress. The result? Several maximized advertising efforts that not only delivered targeted impressions, but higher-than-average clicks-throughs, digital inquiries, geo-conversions (visits to campus), and a significant bump in traffic to key website pages.

Geofencing in a Nutshell

Geofencing puts a virtual boundary on areas identified by the GPS/location technology present in smartphones and other digital devices. When a prospect enters the boundary created, your ad is triggered. You don’t need to have a physical presence at a location or event—in this case, a conference—to reach people there. Since most people have their device set to “location enabled,” Geofencing lets you serve up digital display ads or videos as people browse online in the defined area. And best of all, the ability to stay top-of-mind with those you have “captured” is enhanced through serving retargeting ads after they leave your Geofence zone.

Cartoon phone with map markers

Matching Message with Target Audience

In the case of geofencing, delivering ads and/or videos that communicate specific messages to niche audiences is a key part of what makes them work. One geofence ad campaign for Stevenson’s online nursing and healthcare management programs focused on healthcare employees at specific hospitals where the school’s representative was visiting. We mapped out the effort to include pre-visit ads as well as post-visit and retargeting ads. This way, even if a prospect missed the on-site visit they could still follow through and request information, talk with a representative, and even apply – all through the campaign’s landing page. The digital campaign generated significantly more inquiries than the in-person visit would have alone.

Tracking Initial Engagement into the Funnel

Our partnership with Stevenson links their web and analytics team members with our digital strategists. Together we shared real-time data from Google Data Studio and Google Analytics to evaluate performance. We were able to identify ads within campaign sets that were outperforming others and determine why. We ensured that “next action” web pages beyond the landing page (i.e. Financial Aid, Apply, etc.) received campaign-generated traffic as anticipated. We even accounted for stealth activity, when geofenced prospects who took no digital action at all came to campus, because we geofenced the Stevenson campus and traced people back to their original geofenced location to underscore campaign efficacy.


A look at Stevenson's undergraduate geofencing recruitment campaign reveals top-of-the-funnel success.

  • 4,000 Verified Targeted
  • 143 Site Conversions
  • 141 Geo-conversions
"SAI Digital enhanced our recruitment and brand awareness efforts… We now target undergraduate and graduate audiences in innovative new ways… Geofencing has definitely changed the way we target market."
John Buettner
VP of Marketing and Digital Communications
Stevenson University

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