Success Story:

Illinois College

A true digital partnership yields results

The Challenge

Illinois College (IC) is a private, liberal arts college in Jacksonville, Illinois. Their work with another digital partner was falling flat, failing to yield results and give them the information they needed to prove a return on investment. In order to achieve their enrollment goals, they sought a true partner in digital marketing – one that truly understood the higher education recruitment cycle and could effectively reach Generation Z.

Our Solution

From inception, our focus was to tighten up IC’s digital tactics to closely mirror the student journey and decision-making behaviors which results in higher conversion rates at a more effective spend. We set KPIs and executed campaigns for both prospective first-year and transfer students. To solve their challenges, we ran anti-melt campaigns through the summer, including IP targeting at key points in the funnel, display and mirror-audience targeting, event marketing, website retargeting, and social media marketing.

Targeted Messaging

We work collaboratively with IC, providing the strategy and execution. To re-engage audiences, we implemented a mix of funnel-driven calls to action and content-driven key differentiators within the messaging of digital advertisements. Using highly targeted messaging, we combined broad audience-building techniques to find IC’s ideal prospective first-year and transfer students.

Multi-tactic Campaigns

Using highly targeted messaging, we combined broad audience-building techniques with hyper targeted tactics to identify, engage and convert first-year and transfer student audiences. The blend includes, but is not limited to:

  • IP targeting
  • Mirrored-audience targeting
  • Event marketing
  • Website retargeting
  • Campus conquesting
  • Geo-triggered retargeting
  • Pay-per-click/Google Ads
  • Social media advertising/retargeting


MediaCross works very closely with Illinois College, who can access their live campaign data 24/7 via our online report dashboard. We are able to identify topics of most interest to prospective students, which helps IC create increasingly effective ad creative over time. Because we receive enrollment funnel reports alongside the IC team, we’re able to actively respond to changes in the funnel and are nimble enough to react quickly to the market and to IC’s needs.

Snapshot of the digital marketing dashboard used to track campaign performance.

Our Results

Between 2018 and 2019, we smashed all targets.

Increased Enrollment

There was a 7% increase in total enrollment, 12% increase in new students, and a 42% increase in yield from the application our campaigns directed students to.

Clear Insights

From increasing their understanding of the types of content that resonate best with their audiences, to learning more about when to engage organically on social media, IC can use paid digital insights to help their internal efforts.

More Conversions

Our campaigns influenced 23% of enrollment activity-related website conversions.

Improvement Over Time

By working side-by-side with us for more than two years, MediaCross is able to anticipate Illinois College’s needs and provide increasingly effective digital support via historical data.

Direct Support

MediaCross travels to IC’s campus quarterly, providing in-depth reporting on benchmarks, KPIs, and to discuss overarching strategy in addition to monthly report calls.

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Stephanie Chipman
Vice President of External Relations
Illinois College
We never found a true digital marketing partner until coming to MediaCross. Together, we measure success not just in impressions and click-through-rates, but also in increased campus visits and enrollment growth. IC saw measurable results right away when MediaCross joined the team.

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