Bryant University in Rhode Island prepares innovative leaders, offering top-ranked undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business and the liberal arts.
Leading up to 2017, Bryant had seen applications steadily increasing by a rate of 10 percent year-over-year. However, the percentage of accepted students who ultimately enrolled in the college was consistently below their expectations. The university wanted to utilize personalization to target accepted students and increase enrollment — with an emphasis on female applicants and international students.
Bryant University had never included personalization in their digital marketing strategy prior to partnering with OHO Interactive, and the implementation of Acquia Lift came on the heels of a full site redesign and migration to Drupal 8. Acquia Lift was new, cutting-edge technology, and the Bryant team needed to learn personalization best practices as well as a new tool to implement them.
Time was also a major factor. OHO Interactive worked with Bryant to develop a strategy and implement that strategy in less than two months in order to impact matriculation for the fall 2018 semester.
First, OHO Interactive helped to developed a stand-alone undergraduate admissions website for Bryant (https://admission.bryant.edu/). This was a complete redesign with a new strategy, information architecture, content approach, and infrastructure on Drupal 8. This site was based on a comprehensive discovery including user research.
Second, OHO Interactive helped to create a large repository of student, faculty and alumni stories that highlight the connected community that helps graduates find jobs and get started in their careers. The team used Drupal taxonomies, to promote these stories across the site on relevant pages (later Acquia Lift would be used to show the most relevant stories to prospects).
Third, the team pulled together all of the academic programs into the undergraduate admission site. This streamlining of the content kept prospective students in one digital experience (rather than wandering over a large site) — and allowed Bryant to more effectively use personalization. To encourage exploration and to highlight Bryant’s requirement that students take courses in business and the liberal arts, OHO Interactive created an interactive tool that shows the outcomes of merging these two areas of study.
The first step in the implementation of a personalization strategy was to meet with Bryant’s internal team to define the key segments they would target with Acquia Lift, and outline campaigns targeted to those segments. By reviewing site analytics and conducting extensive stakeholder interviews, Bryant developed a campaign strategy with a focus on providing unique calls to action (CTA) tailored to accepted students in the following segments:
- Interested in studying business
- Interested in studying the liberal arts
- Area of study is undecided
- Female students
- International students
- Students from China
To maximize the data available, Bryant began tracking users at the start of the project even while the strategy was being defined. The next step was to configure segments and personas in Lift, and create new content assets in the Drupal 8 CMS. Once the campaigns were in place, accepted students who were included in the target segments would receive a completely customized homepage. Each segment received unique: call to action buttons, student profiles that matched their segment, new photo galleries, and tailored admission and financial aid message.
Acquia Lift is fully integrated with Drupal, which made it very easy to connect with Bryant’s new Drupal 8 site. That seamless integration also made it possible for both the OHO and Bryant teams to pinpoint specific content that needed to be adjusted dependent on a particular user’s segment(s). Instead of having to create separate versions of entire pages, Lift allowed the team to take a more granular approach to personalization.
Lift’s versatility also shone through in the campaign hierarchy structure. This allowed Bryant to create fairly complex campaign logic to ensure that the user was receiving the best possible messaging to encourage them to convert.
Since the Bryant team was new to personalization, a simple and approachable user experience was very important. The drag and drop UI available in Lift allows content creators at Bryant the ability to create and adjust campaigns without the need for developer intervention. In addition, the Bryant team is creating multiple segments in profile manager to identify trends and plan for future personalization campaigns.
- The redesign of the Bryant undergraduate admissions website has resulted in a 300 percent increase in year-over-year inquiries (leads). This lift in admission inquiries surpassed all expectations.
- Forty-six percent of admitted international students viewed the campaign. The personalization campaign directly influenced 12 percent of admitted international students that matriculated into paying students.
- Preliminary data has been so promising that Bryant will be working with OHO on another personalization campaign this fall with a focus on converting prospective students to visit campus and apply.