Digital advertisement for UHCC
An example of UHCC’s awesome digital ads

Ready to find out the University of Hawaii Community Colleges’ secret to digital advertising and exceeding industry benchmarks?

Digital advertising was critical before the pandemic, but after, it became essential. With prospects spending increasing amounts of time online, zeroing in on where potential students surf and targeting their unique interests is part art, part science.

Enter the University of Hawaii Community Colleges (UHCC). Their latest digital campaign earned metrics most marketers have to wait three to six months to achieve … and UHCC snagged them right out of the gate!

Image of a quote about exceeding industry benchmarks. 

"The results from our digital campaign have exceeded our expectations, and we are outperforming many metrics compared to the industry average. Since May, the campaign has driven over 17,000 visits to our website and generated approximately 1.9 million impressions!" ~Lesli Yogi, University of Hawaii Community Colleges Director of Marketing and Communications

What was UHCC’s secret to their digital advertising dexterity? Just ask Lesli Yogi, UHCC’s director of marketing and communications!

Tenacious Teamwork Rooted in Real Research

Working together made all the difference!

“Interact worked with us to develop a strategic plan of how we wanted to spend our dollars, especially on the different digital platforms. Working together really made a difference. And we’ve seen amazing results!

“We’ve outperformed a lot of the metrics against the industry standard. I’ve been really happy so far with the results.”

Lesli Yogi, University of Hawaii Community Colleges Director of Marketing and Communications

All the soundest strategies start with research, and this digital campaign was no different. In fact, with the University of Hawaii Community Colleges, it was easy. Why? The system has participated in Interact’s Media Prefs research for over a decade, making them one of our oldest participants! So, that means they have 10+ years of research into where their students spend time on the web, the best times to target them, and exactly what prospects want to hear.

“The data we were able to gather was really useful in planning our strategy going forward as far as determining some of the best ways to invest our dollars on the media side,” says Yogi.

As it turns out, the secret to reaching students and smashing industry benchmarks centered on YouTube.

The University of Hawaii Community Colleges Become YouTube Famous

The latest UHCC campaign scored +206,600 completed YouTube video views in just four months! 

Targeting YouTube

“Interact was really good at helping us figure out which platforms we wanted because we have a limited amount of money that we can spend. So, what’s the best use of our dollars?”

The spot highlights student voices sharing why they attend a UHCC community college and showcases the new tagline: Define your path. Discover your future. Make it happen.

According to our account exec, Grace Kendall, Interact helped the University of Hawaii Community Colleges capture the true aloha spirit:

“One of the biggest things that UHCC was looking for was to bring that local island feel into their creative, but in a modern and subtle way that was authentic.

“UHCC was really happy with what the creative team came up with. By having this synergistic relationship with UHCC, we could have a clear understanding of what they were looking for.”

-Grace Kendall, Account Exec at Interact

Watch the winning video here:

Says Yogi, “A combination of all those different elements that we weaved into the spot made it engaging, and people wanted to watch it.”

Exceeding Industry Benchmarks: Turning UHCC’s Home Run into a Grand Slam

The University of Hawaii Community Colleges capitalized on their killer research to kick-start a strategy that crushed industry benchmarks after just one month. On top of an initial +4,660 website visits, their video views were double the industry average — for a fifth of the average industry cost. They also started with a click-through rate more than double the industry average at 11%, which they maintained throughout the campaign.

But the real magic came when the team took the time to review and refine the campaign even further for digital advertisement agility.

Monthly reviews made the most of digital advertising campaigns

“And I think that’s what’s made us successful thus far — being able to work with Interact and evaluate how our campaign is doing each month. 

“We can see which platforms are doing well, which platforms need tweaking, where we need to have different ads put in. That’s been really helpful in determining our strategy going forward.” 

To hear Grace Kendall tell the tale, that regular review on top of solid research helped the team launch the right creative to the right audience at the right time:

A quote on exceeding industry benchmarks in digital advertising. “It’s rare to see a campaign performing so well right out of the gate — usually, it takes at least three months, maybe even six months, to see the kinds of engagement results they were getting and are continuing to get.”
-Grace Kendall, Interact Account Exec

Making Every Dollar Count

Making every dollar count

“Everybody has to look at their budget and figure out the most effective way to spend the dollars. What I love about the digital campaign is we’re able to get really good metrics by seeing how much our dollars are making an impact,” says Yogi.

 “And I love that Interact has the dashboard. It has real-time data of how our ads are doing.”

Exceeding industry benchmarks while spending less money? That’s a hallmark of UHCC’s latest campaign. After four full months, UHCC had +206,600 completed video views. Their completed video rate was also +35% above average, but for a below-average cost of just .02 cents — 7.5 times below the industry standard of .15 cents.

It all comes down to strategy, strategy, strategy. A smart execution meant constantly refining campaigns to drill down target audiences further. Oh, and the user-friendly dashboard didn’t hurt. Who doesn’t love seeing their digital media metrics in real time?

A quote about how digital advertising paid off. “This fall 2022, we did see a slight increase of 1% of first-time freshmen coming to the University of Hawai’i Community Colleges. That's definitely a win for us,” says Yogi. “All of our marketing and promotional efforts that we’ve done … made a difference this fall.”

Taking Success on the Road: NCMPR D6 in San Diego, CA, October 13-14

Grace Kendall and Lesli Yogi present at NCMPR about digital advertising and exceeding industry benchmarks in their latest campaign for UHCC.
Yogi and Kendall presenting at NCMPR D6

Interact and UHCC told the world how they transcended industry benchmarks at the NCMPR D6 conference! According to Yogi, it was her first time presenting and attending, which was extra exciting:


“I’m really looking forward to meeting marketers from across the region who are doing the same work that I’m doing. I love the opportunity to share what we’re doing in Hawaii and hear what other folks are doing in other states so that we can network, learn from each other, and get some new ideas.”

Participants got the 411 on their digital advertising ingenuity and how UHCC tailored their content to the students they serve in Hawaii. Yogi shared about the collaborative partnership with Interact and how the duo worked together to develop the messaging, creative, and strategy that has commanded such top-notch results.

Yogi presented with Interact’s AE Grace Kendall, and she couldn’t be more pleased:

I <3 Interact and Grace :)

“I love working with the folks at Interact. I love working with Grace. She’s super supportive, and she’s always available to help strategize or bounce ideas on, so I really appreciate that.”

Digital advertisement for UHCC

Did we say aloha to you at NCMPR’s D6? Let us know! And in the meantime, you can check out the University of Hawaii Community Colleges’ latest and greatest case study.

If you couldn’t attend the NCMPR conference, don’t miss out — sign up for the next Interact Rounds! Yogi and Kendall will share their NCMPR presentation on November 2, with the chance to ask your questions about digital advertising and get answers. Sign up for “Interact Rounds: Navigating Change by Embracing Who You Already Are” and save your spot!

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By Published On: October 26, 2022Last Updated: November 3, 2022Categories: Blog Articles, FeaturedTags: , , , , ,