Houghton College: Driving Undergraduate Admissions With a Full-Funnel Digital Strategy

November 10, 2016 mogointeractive


Founded in 1883 and sponsored by the Wesleyan Church, Houghton College provides an academically challenging, Christ-centered education in liberal arts and sciences. Located in rural Upstate New York, Houghton holds an average of 1,050 enrolled undergraduates.

Houghton was facing aggressive enrollment goals in Fiscal 2015-16. The Houghton Marketing Team hoped to centralize their digital marketing efforts in 2015, and to take a more holistic and synthesized approach to their overall marketing plan moving forward.


Houghton’s foundational marketing objectives were universal:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Target prospective students
  • Promote and highlight various programs like Equine studies
  • Drive conversions to request for information, visits, and applications


Using DoubleClick by Google technology to manage and optimize Houghton’s digital campaigns, Mogo created a comprehensive campaign to target potential students that complimented Houghton’s application deadlines. The multi-channel digital marketing campaign included the following media channels that included a messaging strategy by channel:

Display: Promoted branding, Requests for Info, Visits (RFI)

Facebook:  Promoted visits, RFI, Application Deadlines

Search: Promoted the school with branded and non-branded keywords

YouTube Remarketing:  Remarketing video views

Creative Messaging & Strategy:

Through discovery discussions, Mogo and Houghton developed  foundational messaging by focusing on differentiating benefits that could help the institution stand out:

  • Top Christian, Liberal Arts College
  • 3 Year Degree Option
  • Top Value, #7 US, #1 Value NY
  • Rated Safest Campus

Performance Summary:

Utilizing the extensive reach offered in DoubleClick Bid Manager,Mogo was able to prospect for new online audiences and engage an audience pool of 100K in a 6-month timeframe.

When using DoubleClick by Google Cross-Device measurement for Houghton’s display campaign, Mogo measured a 16% lift in conversions. This shows the major role mobile devices can play in driving students to apply.  As a result, Houghton’s mobile site traffic increased by  12%.

Mogo was able to track 320 correlated conversions that included requests for Info, applications, and visits to Houghton’s website.

Application Results:

During the 2015-16 application period, Houghton’s applications were the highest they had been in five years. Partnering with Mogo Interactive, Houghton was able to drive measurable results in 2015 and build out an integral part of their marketing plan for increasing applications year over year.


“I’d recommend Mogo in a heartbeat. Their supreme knowledge of the digital space, combined with their unparalleled customer service ultimately resulted in a successful campaign for Houghton. Mogo’s unique ability to track information requests, campus visits, applications and even enrollment deposits provides us with immensely useful data for which to plan and prioritize our future marketing efforts and campaign strategies.  The Mogo team is passionate about what they do and are always willing to listen and respond to my team’s questions, suggestions and needs. Working with them on this campaign was truly a breath of fresh air!”

– Jeff Babbitt | Director, Marketing and Communications