ACU Live! Building Community around the Globe

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Community, Concepts, Embedding, Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, Twitter, Video, Web | Posted on 26-08-2009-05-2008


As many open their campus doors this week to new students, Abilene Christian University decided to open its doors to the entire globe.  And when the Opening Chapel kicked off at 11am on Monday, there were hundreds of alumni, parents and campus friends watching and praising along with the students.

BlueFuego and ACU paired up to create a virtual Opening Chapel, complete with uStream, Facebook and Twitter embeds at  In total, over 1500 people visited the stream within the hour, and a consistent 300-375 people watching at any moment. In total, there were 367 viewer hours on uStream for the hour of broadcasting! Alumni from around the US and as far as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Brazil, Germany, and even a village of 400 people in Ukraine tuned in to participate in the opening festivities.  For many, it was the first time seeing a Chapel since graduating from ACU.  From others, it was a way to participate when they couldn’t make the annual drive this year.  But for all, it was an experience that built affinity and pride in their alma mater, ACU.

And ACU is back at it again tomorrow night, for the season opening Football game.   Pictures on the scoreboard from the 1,000+ students with iPhones in their hands (take THAT, SEC!!), live viewing parties from around the US being pulled into the scoreboard via Skype, and much, much more.  All a part of the continued initiative to increase affinity and school spirit and utilize the available technology.  I can’t wait to get down to Texas tonight to prepare for tomorrow’s event, it’s going to be a blast.

Take a look below at the ACU Live page, complete with uStream Watershed, Facebook Fan Page and Live Stream embeds, as well as Twitter hashtag updates. Below that, read some of the updates from everyone watching the event. I’ll be honest, I got goosebumps seeing the community interact with each other and participate in this event.

You want to see a school who’s doing some of the most cutting-edge stuff in higher education?  Keep an eye on ACU.

Bradley Basketball does the MVC Shuffle

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Technology, Video, YouTube | Posted on 15-01-2009-05-2008


This was sent to me by @jcrone, who I met at the Stamats Conference in Tampa, FL last year, and I had to share it.

Apparently the reason my beloved Butler Bulldogs wiped the floor with the Bradley Braves last month was because the Braves were busy preparing for YouTube stardom.

Super Bowl Shuffle, look it.  The MVC Shuffle is here! This video rings in a little long at over 8 minutes and gets repetitive towards the end, but it’s a great showcase of both Bradley Basketball and the MVC Conference.

It was uploaded on January 9th, and as of this writing on Jan 15th it has had 15,700 views. Check it out!

The Good Project Graveyard [Part 3]

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Higher Education, Research, Thoughts, Video, YouTube | Posted on 01-12-2008-05-2008


‘Part 3′ of this story was not planned. But it happened, and I wanted to share the ending with you.

I got back into the office this morning and received a forwarded email from a prospective student in response to the ‘You’ve Applied, what’s next?!’ email that I talked about in the last post.

A student responded to the email after seeing the video, and it brought the whole project together for me.  Delivering timely content at the moment a student needs it most wins every time.  AND it helped the rest of my staff see the power of a video that took a small portion of my day to put together and send out.

Here’s a screenshot of the email.

Needless to say, I’ll be doing this again.

The Good Project Graveyard [Part 2]

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Thoughts, Video, YouTube | Posted on 25-11-2008-05-2008


When we last left off, a video project got sent to the good project graveyard, never to be seen again.

That’s not what this post is about.  This is about a video that survived. Why? It didn’t go to the dreaded committee, I just did it.

Looking at our comm flows, there is really no communication between when the application is submitted (Nov 15 deadline) and when the decisions are mailed (Dec. 17).  Isn’t this a great time for a touch point with a student? When they are just sitting around, wondering what’s going on with their app at your school?

So I decided to put a video together. I called Megan, a counselor and blogger, and told her what I wanted to do. 15 minutes later, we were ready to roll.  I grabbed the Kodak Zi6 and went up to her office.

The premise of the video would be this: Here’s what happens to your application after you submit it. Pretty simple, keep it around 2 minutes. No script, just say what you would say to a student if they asked what happened.  So we went around the office to various areas that an application will travel through, and filmed the video. We did the whole thing in 1 take.

Total filming time: 10 minutes
Total downloading/converting time: 15 minutes
Total editing time: 15 minutes
Total uploading to YouTube time: 15 minutes

Boom.  A fully ‘produced’ video in under one hour. So the next step was to get it in front of the students.  I put together an email, wrote the copy, designed it, and took it to my boss and said “I want to send this to everyone who has applied before the Nov 15th deadline.” She took a look at it, didn’t see anything that needed to be changed, and approved it. Alright!

The email was designed with the video as the call-to-action, and when the video is clicked the URL directs the student to our area, where a post with the video was placed. So here is the email, the video, and the results.

The Email

The Video

1,303 views as of this post (the video has been live for 7.5 days, the email was sent 4.5 days ago). 2nd most viewed video on the Butler Bloggers YouTube channel.

The Results

99.1% emails were successfully sent.
There were 2,205 unique opens (52.3%). There were 3,391 total opens.
There were 1,157 unique clickthroughs (27.4%). So, 52.4% of those who opened the email also clicked through. (I like this measurement better than clickthroughs/sends.)
There were 1,444 total clickthroughs. (42.5% of total clickthroughs out of total opens)

The Analytics

YouTube Insights provides this nifty graph of the hotspots in the video. (Click to enlarge)

Google Analytics tells me what happened after we got them there.

The Feedback

I sent the video around to the office as well.  Everyone loved it and gave good comments and feedback on it.  The students who I’ve talked to that have seen the video also enjoyed it and found it helpful.

The ‘Next Time’

I see in Analytics that students did not stick around long on average.  Pages/Visit, time on site, and bounce rate are all way off the average mark for the site. I had put some links above the video to try and engage them in the BUForums more, but they seemed interested in the video only.  My Hot Spots tell me that the ‘dark scene’ was where I lost most students.  Maybe I could cut the video to 1:30 and leave out the part about the BUForums and Bloggers since they were already there?

In all, I consider this project worthwhile.  2 hours from idea to implementation, 25% of our app pool found out what happens to their app, and our BUForums increased by nearly 100 new students. Those who did stick around after the video are now getting more questions asked. The video avoided the good project graveyard and was successful.

As always, comments, suggestions and thoughts are appreciated. Leave a comment!

The Good Project Graveyard [Part 1]

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Higher Education, Marketing, Research, Thoughts, Video | Posted on 21-11-2008-05-2008


There is a place on all campuses that good projects go to die.  Usually, a thing called a ‘committee’ swings in, 7-15 people deep, and picks it apart, retweaks it, postpones it, and eventually.. that good project crawls off into a corner to die a slow, painful, uncreative death.

I hate seeing that happen. I also hate sitting on committees. So when at all possible, I just do things myself.

So here’s the precursor to this post: I previously posted about the Butler Blue II missing mascot costume video.  Total time to make it: 1.5 hours of shooting on campus, 5 hours of editing, a few hours to process/upload to YouTube, and it was out of the door by 7am. [Read more about the video here.] [Oh, and for those who thought it was a PR hoax... 4 arrested.]

Last week I was approached by a member of the campus community who had a video idea to promote a contest on campus. He wanted to use Blue II and for it to have a similar feel to the above video. I said I’d love to brainstorm with him, but time to shoot/edit would be more limited since it was an outside project.  Then, I get a meeting request…. to the committee.

Truth be told, the meeting slipped my mind. I got busy (it was a late Friday afternoon meeting) and missed it. But it absolutely killed me when I got the email early this week about the ‘video update from the committee’.
Video Email

NEXT YEAR?!??!?!?!??! I don’t know how the person who organized the meeting took that so well. I feel bad that I was not there to say “we can do this next week, no problem”. But, I don’t know if ‘the committee’ would have allowed it.  Scripts to write, lighting to get set, sound checks, and more…. ridiculous.

Next Monday, Part 2 – Creating a video.. good, cheap and fast [pick 2].

Taking Chats to a new level

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Blogging, Higher Education, Lifecasting, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Thoughts, Video, Web | Posted on 30-10-2008-05-2008


Last night we had our Butler Bloggers Chat, which we do once a semester. It always has more students join than any other chat we do (What is Diversity at Butler University? Chat, Admitted Student Chat, Pharmacy Chat, International Student Chat, to name a few).

Last night the chat was from 8-10pm (I’ve done 7-9, 8-10, and 9-11pm.  8-10pm has been the most popular.) and we had 132 students come through. Last week’s diversity chat from 7-9pm had 22, for comparison, with the same group of students invited.

To learn more about the methods of promotion/emailing about the chat, read this post from last April.  For this post, I’d like to touch on some new methods I experimented with last night.

During last semester’s chat, I learned a few things:

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Interview Week: Pauline from “The ‘C’ Word”

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Interview, Recruitment, Video, Vlogging, YouTube | Posted on 14-10-2008-05-2008


This is part 2 of Interview Week at SquaredPeg.  Missed yesterday? Click below.
Interview Week [Part 1]: Jordan Goldman, CEO of

A while back I listed “The ‘C’ Word” as a top 5 blog you should probably be reading. Pauline, the creator of the site and SquaredPeg fan, saw that I was going to be in Seattle for NACAC so she sent me an email and we met up to chat. She is a freshman at Seattle U and is fresh out of the recruitment cycle.

Here is a quick video interview with her about college and admissions.  Enjoy! And don’t forget to check out “The ‘C’ Word“.

Making a Viral Video

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Analytics, Athletics, Blogging, Embedding, Facebook, Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Mascot, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Video, Viral, Web, YouTube | Posted on 10-10-2008-05-2008


It’s been nearly one month since I created and released the Butler Blue II video during our missing mascot fiasco (no, they were never found).

I’ve refrained from posting on this until now because I wanted to allow enough time to look at stats and analytics on the video to say if it was a success or not. Conclusion?  Success.

I’ve never been one to throw the word ‘viral‘ around.  [Example] You can’t make a video ‘viral’, it’s up to the people who watch it if they want to pass it along.   But you CAN help the video become viral by choosing your key influencers and letting it go from there.

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Review of our Youniversity.TV Experience

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Free, Video, Web | Posted on 08-09-2008-05-2008


We just received our final video from, and I wanted to share a few thoughts on our experience with them since I know many other colleges are considering their services.

Our timeline went something like this:

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Embedding Local Videos on your Site

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Branding, Embedding, Higher Education, Video, YouTube | Posted on 29-08-2008-05-2008


When I ran across a music video on a local Ning site called Smaller Indiana, I knew it had a place on our site.  The song, by Jon McLaughlin, is titled ‘For You, From Me’. The music video was made exclusively for the city of Indianapolis, and it is a great visual of the city.

When you think about it, you’re aren’t always just selling your campus to a student.  You’re selling the area, the city, the location.

I embedded the video on our site on a page titled ‘Around the Town‘ and another called ‘A City of Opportunity‘. You can see it by clicking either link. also shared the .m4v file on their site, so I plan to build a branded Butler flash player to remove the Smaller Indiana link from our site and the potential that someone will click away from our site after watching the video.

What videos are out there, either on local visitor/tourist sites, YouTube, etc., that you could embed into your site?