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Our Work > The Theatre School at DePaul University

The Story

The Theatre School at DePaul University is a world-renowned conservatory in Chicago, Illinois. Because of its reputation, the university has a large pool of applicants every year. But rather than quantity, The Theatre School desired higher-quality applicants. That's why, when MediaCross dove into The Theatre School's circumstances, targeted digital marketing was our top suggestion.

The school wanted to leverage digital marketing to identify and recruit students for its most niche Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, including Dramaturgy and Set Design, as well as Master of Fine Arts programs in Directing and Acting. Not only did The Theatre School at DePaul want to reach new, hard-to-find prospective students, it also sought ways to increase awareness of the school's quality and prestige in order to compete for students applying to DePaul's top competitors.

Considering the two-pronged goals—to further reinforce its status as a top performing arts conservatory and to reach the upper echelon of theatre talent in the nation—MediaCross designed two digital ad strategies to reach BFA and MFA prospective students

Lead Generation

Our first campaign launch targeted eight distinguished summer theater arts camps using geo-targeting and IP targeting to generate inquiries and keep The Theatre School top of mind with students who would soon begin the application process. Students attending these competitor theatre camps aligned with recruitment needs: to find new students with a premium talent level and theatre engagement whose families also had the ability to pay.

MediaCross executed a suite of digital ads with messaging about scholarships and four of the school’s most niche programs, including directing, design, dramaturgy and playwriting. The ads used vibrant colors, incorporated impactful photography and used compelling wording to entice users to click to one of three landing pages with corresponding copy to request more information.

Brand Awareness
Next, we launched comprehensive campaigns for BFA and MFA recruitment. The primary BFA campaign strategy was rooted in reaching new and best-fit students, while the secondary strategy was to reinforce brand awareness with interested prospective students. Our strategy included NACAC Performing and Visual Arts College Fair and theatre festival geo-targeting, prospective student IP targeting and retargeting from The Theatre School website.
BFA Results
Year-over-year comparisons show applications are up 21% for stage management, 30% for scene design, 60% for theatre technology and all but two BFA programs were the same year over year. The views of undergraduate-specific pages on The Theatre School’s website increased significantly across tactics, with much of the traffic reported as new visits. Additionally, the bounce rate decreased. These website metrics show that MediaCross drove new and qualified leads, and the leads were engaged.
MFA Results
The MFA campaign strategy with retargeting, PPC, and social media advertising focused on attracting new prospective students while reengaging with those who are interested. Over the course of the campaign, the traffic to the “How to Apply” pages increased by 66.67%, and for some tactics, bounce rates went as low as 13%. Prospective MFA students have a longer enrollment cycle than BFA students, and we’re working with The Theatre School on an ongoing campaign strategy to keep the positive momentum going.
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