Artwork depicting “The World Needs More Cowboys” marketing campaign is now common across campus, but related promotions from the University of Wyoming are just beginning.
UW has spent just 20 percent of the $750,000 it plans to expend on the campaign by February, when the main recruiting efforts for the 2019-2020 academic year will end.
About 80 percent of the campaign focuses on internet advertising, including Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram and search engines.
That advertising increased this month, with ads now appearing on Pandora and Spotify.
When internet users interact with those ads, they’re likely to see more advertising from the campaign.
The online ads are mostly targeted at Western states: Wyoming, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona, Texas and California. The marketing is also targeting Illinois, which has become a prime recruiting site amid the state’s disinvestment of higher education.
“You’d be surprised by the number of students that come here from Illinois,” said Chad Baldwin, UW’s director of institutional communications.
Parts of the campaign were launched early in July via a Board of Trustees directive, which aimed to take advantage of the early publicity and controversy surrounding the slogan; some faculty urged UW to drop the campaign focusing on cowboys, a term they argued invoked an ugly history of the West.
Since the goal of the campaign is marketing toward prospective students, Baldwin said he’s still not sure if that initial exposure had much impact on the “key target audience.”
“I think, in the end, it gave us very positive exposure across the state and with our alumni,” he said.
Since then, the 1.5 minute video that Baldwin calls the “centerpiece” of the campaign has been viewed “hundreds of thousands” of times.
A 30-second version of that ad is now being played during Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football broadcasts in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska. The budget for the television campaign is $87,000.
In mid-August, billboards went up across the state.
After the first year of the “Cowboys” campaign ends in February, UW will thoroughly assess its efficacy.
In recent years, UW has spent about $400,000 on marketing during the recruiting season.
Typically, 20 percent of students who enroll come through UW’s “landing pages” — the webpages where prospective students sign up to receive more information through mail and email.
As of last week, when 13 percent of the “Cowboys” campaign budget had been spent, interactions with the campaign’s advertising had led 2,124 people to sign up to receive more information about possibly enrollment at UW. Those interactions, Baldwin said, are “significantly up” from previous years.
He said the “cost per click” also appears to be lower than with previous marketing efforts.
“We’re getting more bang for our buck,” he said.