Ferris State University Increased Website Clickthrough by 2800% Using Personalization

How a top-ranked national university leverages the Modern Campus Omni CMS and Instinct™ to convert more students

About Ferris State University




website pages



in-demand degree programs




in this case study: Eric Hazen, director of digital marketing

Instinct from Modern Campus has allowed us to stop thinking one dimensional about our content strategy. We no longer have to be afraid of personalizing a page; we can use Instinct to tell the story of Ferris in a way that it connects with everyone.

Eric Hazen

The Challenge

27% of students say they will look elsewhere if they struggle to find relevant information on a college website. 

Gen Z students are digital natives who grew up with smartphones watching Netflix and shopping online. They expect the same (or at least, similar) personalized experiences from college and university websites. 

At Ferris State University, Director of Digital Marketing Eric Hazen wanted to ensure that prospective students visiting the website quickly found relevant information and were guided to take the expected next steps.  

Considering that Eric had a team of only three people and a website of 12,000 pages, this was an ambitious project. But with Modern Campus, Eric and his team had a partner to help them achieve this feat.   

The Solution & Results

preview of Ferris State's website as shown in the youtube video

Ferris State University uses personalized content blocks in Modern Campus Omni CMS to deliver relevant information and personalized experiences to students throughout their journey based on their actions, geo-location and form data.   

From the time we started using the Modern Campus Omni Instinct in November or December, it only took us five months to completely personalize our homepage with zero static content using Instinct.

Eric Hazen

Personalized, Guided Enrollment Journeys

The website guides prospective students through the next steps in the process using their known user data. There are three key stages for the student conversion: lead, inquiry, and applicant.  

Displaying personalized information at each stage led to significantly increased CTR (click through rate), which translates into better conversion. For leads, the CTR jumped from 8% to 20.47% after adopting personalization (a 115% increase). For inquiries, the CTR jumped from just 2.3% to 66.66%—a massive 2798% increase in conversion! 

The next step for a lead is to complete an RFI (request for information) form or schedule a visit. The content block presented to them takes them to a landing page optimized for either action.  

For some prospects, their next step in the process is to submit an application. With Omni CMS Instinct, the website knows when a visitor is at that stage of their enrollment funnel and automatically prompts them to begin their application. What’s more, once they’re in the application process, content blocks take them to each progressive stage until they submit.  

The personalized variant is extremely relevant and just in time for users and—as a result—they're hammering the "Sign Up Now" button. Prospects don't have to search for their next step, it's presented to them.

Eric Hazen

Personalized Orientation Process

Once students proceed for orientation, the next steps are to complete an online orientation and an in-person one. The website directs students who complete an online orientation to schedule an in-person one. They don’t need to ask, “what next?” 

Adopting personalization through Omni CMS helped Ferris State achieve a 45.37% CTR for orientation signups—more than a 7000% increase over their previous CTR of 0.58%.    

The personalized content block we’re currently running on our homepage for new student orientation has a click-through rate of 30.8% right now—versus the default of 0.58%. Our jaws are currently on the floor.

Eric Hazen

Personalized Experiences for In-State and Out-of-State Students

Since 33% of students consider traveling more than 500 miles for higher education—and cost is their second-highest priority in considering a college or university—Eric wanted to give them peace of mind from their first touchpoint with Ferris State’s website. 

Omni CMS and Instinct help him deliver personalized experiences to visitors depending on their location. Using the geolocation of the user, the website shows personalized content to in-state vs out-of-state users.   

To in-state users, it shows a low commitment option of looking at a visit calendar. Out-of-state users are shown a banner that says, “Out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate” and are asked to schedule an appointment.  

Before personalization, Ferris State only offered a single static homepage for all students—and the overall homepage visit CTR was only 1.6%. After personalization, it jumped to 14% for in-state students and 1.45% for those out-of-state.   

Personalization unlocked the possibility of running content targeted to out-of-state students—something we couldn't do before.

Eric Hazen

Ferris State University's Favorite Features


Simplicity and Ease of Use

Intuitive Administrative Features 

Flexibility and Control

“The editing experience is so simple that we can focus on impactful content instead of code.”  

“The intuitive features allow us to manage the site proactively instead of reactively.” 

“Instinct allows us to tell the Ferris story in powerful new ways.”

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About Modern Campus

Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its 1,200+ higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt and even school closures.

Powered by Omni CMS, DIGARC, Presence, Signal Vine and Destiny One, the Modern Campus modern learner engagement platform enables innovative institutions to create a “learner to earner” lifecycle that engages modern learners for life.


Delivering massive personalization, AI-driven recommendations and a modern e-commerce engine, Modern Campus creates a student-first digital experience and removes silos across campus. Presidents and provosts, marketing and IT teams, admissions, registrars, student affairs and CE divisions can partner to attract, enroll, empower, retain, credential and re-engage students with pathways for lifelong learning.

Learn how Modern Campus is leading the modern learner engagement movement at moderncampus.com and follow us on LinkedIn.

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