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Rasmussen University

Performance Creative

This is a history of my digital ad innovation and testing experience for Rasmussen University. 

Rasmussen University offers associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees and has 23 campuses and is online nationally. 

Facebook Ad Creative Testing — 2016-2020

Goal: Increase inquiries for all seven Schools of Study programs on Facebook.

Actions: Creative optimization testing and audience targeting. 

1. Create a suite of baseline ads for each program within a School of Study

2. Create one suite of alternative visuals to test > Launch

3. Meet weekly to review performance of one set of School of Study ads > determine visual winner > launch winners with alternate copy to test

4. Repeat weekly working through each suite, alternating between visuals and copy.

Results: HUGE inquiry increase across the board but most importantly in priority nursing and healthcare programs. 

Pivot: Inquiries began dropping in 2020 and a new paid media specialist took over as my co-lead and deemed the results no longer worth the creative effort for Facebook (unfavorable algorithms). We pivoted to a single-suite of creative ads for high-level School of Studies with a focus on broader targeting and brand lead generation. 

Role: Creative Strategy + Direction   Design: Andy F.   Motion: Nicole K.   Copy: Abby H.  Paid Leads: Matt M. & Zach R.

2020 Video Ad Samples

School-of-Study Awareness Video Ads — 2017

Goal: Drive inquiries and brand awareness on YouTube as a part of the Collegis / Google innovation initiative.

Actions: Test :06 unskippable brand program ads on YouTube with audience targeting.

Results: Phenomenal reach (and spend) and increased brand awareness proved through in-app brand survey.

Role: Strategy co-lead, Creative Director   Design: Kelly M.   Motion: Nicole K.   Copy: Jill K. and Abby H.  Paid Lead: Matt M.

Notes: We were just starting to capture b-roll at larger shoots to support video ad development. We were also just beginning to use Fiverr for voice work. Available talent and our ability to direct talent remotely improved dramatically over time.

Sequential Storytelling Video Ads — 2020-2022


Goal: Increase brand awareness and affinity.

Actions: Test sequential storytelling using programmatic targeting.

Results: Exceeded brand awareness goals and drove significant leads although not the primary goal.

Role: Strategy, Scriptwriting, Storyboarding, Direction  Paid Lead: Dan N.  Motion Production: Nicole K.  Agencies: Tombras, Sequitur

:06 Unskippable Ad > :15 Skippable 'Mom Balancer' Ad > :06 Unskippable
The bumpers are scripted for use with both versions of the :15

:06 Unskippable Ad > :15 Skippable 'Solo Balancer' Ad > :06 Unskippable
The bumpers are scripted for use with both versions of the :15, the variation is only the :15 hero scenarios.

Rasmussen came under new ownership in 2020 and they took over paid media in the Summer of 2022. At that time they had not allocated budget for YouTube or OTT and so the test was paused in those platforms/channels. The new owners then took over the entire marketing contract at the end of 2022 and I was laid off in February of 2023, they had a creative and marketing department in place and many of us were redundant. 


Within the window of July 2022 - January 2023 I worked closely with the new owners paid media team. I helped them onboard and later partnered on planning and operationalizing their paid media plan, which I will call ‘The Spreadsheet’. It was ambitious in the time we had left together, but we did it.

The Spreadsheet

Creative Ad Testing — 2023


Goal: Increase inquiries for all seven School of Study programs and Brand.


Actions: Create a mix of static and video creative for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Display for automated testing.


Results: Unknown


Role: Operationalization, Creative Direction   Design: Andy F.   Motion: Nicole K.   Copy: Jill K. and Hannah M.  Paid Lead: Melissa M.


  • A snippet of the Technical Creative Direction spreadsheet I created for my team to execute on the new owners strategy. 

  • I ran creative workshops to ideate visuals and messaging, all aligned with our brand guides and persona messaging matrix.

Program Execution Samples:


Nursing Prospecting Creative — 2 versions for testing

Messaging Notes: Prospecting (No prior engagement with PPC LP): Similar to our previous paid video assets, this set of ads includes the program name and three bulleted value props in the video animation. Overall messaging centers on:

  • How we stand out. 

  • Reasons we’re worth a closer look.

  • We understand the reader. 

  • Here's the first step. 

Nursing Nurture Creative — 2 versions for testing

Messaging Notes: Nurture (90+ days since last PPC visit): This set of assets follows the retargeting design. Overall messaging centers on:

  • Urgency, reasons not to wait. 

  • Gentle reminder of where the prospect left off. 

  • Reassurance that this is worth pursuing.

Explore More

Ras Social Media
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