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South Dakota State university

Recruitment campaign drives 2.9% increase in admitted students

Built by You & SDSU campaign has branches to reach students and stakeholders where they are.



  • Higher Education

The Goal

South Dakota’s largest and most comprehensive university has so many incredible stories to tell. But with rising student loan debt nationwide - and more students wondering if a 4-year degree is worth the investment – South Dakota State University (SDSU) needed more than a new ad campaign to drive enrollment. They needed to create an entirely new conversation for a variety of audiences:

  • Traditional students
  • Transfer students
  • International students


The Solutions

  • Outcomes-based messaging focused by focus groups with high school juniors and seniors
  • Full day of one-hour campus discovery sessions with faculty, staff and students midway through campaign development
  • Campus stakeholder messaging tools (tone and style guide, message map development and more)
  • Three broadcast TV spots backed by a comprehensive multimedia campaign – including digital, social, outdoor, OTT video and streaming radio
  • 10 vertical videos to extend reach across all social channels, targeting younger, diverse demographics 
  • Foundational brand design continues to set the tone for more targeted awareness/application campaigns

  • BuiltByYou_SDSU_13
  • BuiltByYou_SDSU_9

The Results

Increase in Admitted Students

Despite enrollment dips during pandemic times, undergrad admitted students were up 2.95% in 2022.

“Apply Now” Clicks

“Apply now” clicks on the admitted campaign increased 157% year over year.

Organic Search Traffic Increase

Organic search traffic improved by 16%.

Paid Media Impressions

These campaigns saw 41.7 million impressions across all paid media.

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