Meet Today’s Student: Educating Policymakers about the Needs of Higher Ed Students

When we think “college students”, most of us envision 18- to-21- year-olds who are fresh out of high school. Increasingly, this idea falls short. Students today are more diverse than ever – and they are struggling to graduate.

Lumina Foundation had a theory. If policymakers could better understand student needs, they could better address graduation rates. To help break through the “college student” stereotype, Lumina engaged our digital expertise.

The Challenge

Meet Today's Student

What we learned about college student demographics may surprise you. Today, 38% of college students are over 25 and are often balancing other commitments, including work and raising families. They worry about things like childcare, long commutes, and how to attend daytime classes while working a full-time job.

These are the types of issues that policymakers must understand in order to help more students succeed. So to raise awareness, we undertook a multi-layer digital campaign.


The Solution

We first identified key messages and imagery that would resonate with Hill staffers.

We included a focus on both statistics and compelling stories from students. The resulting ads re-introduced policymakers to “Today’s Student.”


Surround-Sound Digital

With creative in place, we were ready to launch. We used advanced geo-targeting and digital personas to pinpoint Congressional staffers across the web. We saturated the audience with Lumina Foundation’s message using a range of techniques:

  • Display ads caught attention and drove traffic to special landing pages
  • Promoted social content prompted engagement and drove traffic to an interactive quiz
  • Content discovery ads recommended Lumina Foundation articles for users reading news and political pieces online
  • An awareness-lift survey measured the campaign’s success


Measuring Success

Our targeting methods proved extremely efficient. Capitol Hill staffers saw an average of 30 display ads during the duration of the campaign. These ads caught attention, and we tracked and optimized the performance of each visual.
At the end of the campaign, an awareness lift survey showed that the exposed Capitol Hill audience outperformed the control group by 20.8%.


Online Meets On-the-Ground

To augment the digital campaign, we developed print collateral. We delivered these in-depth materials on foot to every House and Senate office and relevant committee staffers. These staffers, who had seen our digital content for weeks, largely appreciated this effort. Many expressed interest in following up with Lumina Foundation executives.

Team Members

Bailey Witt

Senior Vice President

Emily Sandberg_2
Emily Sandberg

Senior Vice President

Mike Marker_2
Michael Marker

Managing Director

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