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K-State Today

May 3, 2022

An update on university digital advertising resources and coordination

Submitted by Ashley Martin

For the last two fiscal years, the university has worked with a preferred digital advertising vendor across our campuses, colleges and departments. Selecting this vendor, Alpha Media, was an initiative led by the ad hoc marketing and communications team, a group convened through the Strategic Enrollment Management, or SEM, initiative to increase marketing coordination across our campuses and lift up our collective marketing needs in support of SEM.

Utilizing a singular vendor has been critical, as we’ve pre-negotiated rates based on our collective institutional advertising spend for the benefit of all, identified successes that we’ve been able to duplicate across campuses and colleges, and identified areas for improvement in our collective university advertising portfolio. 

Earlier this spring, the ad hoc marketing and communications team, along with representatives from each academic college, participated in Q&A sessions with potential advertising partners for the institution moving forward. The team chose to go through this procurement process to see what new resources and services may be available to continue to elevate the university’s advertising efforts.

We are excited to share that beginning July 1, the university’s contracted digital advertising partner will be Net Natives. Net Natives offers a reporting system that directly integrates with Slate, the CRM system that the university’s recruitment efforts are transitioning to later this calendar year. With the university’s admission application also transitioning into Slate this summer, this provides us with an opportunity for seamless source attribution reporting that will give us further insights into what advertising channels perform best for K-State from inquiry all the way through to matriculation. This is important because it allows us to spend our advertising dollars smartly and efficiently while successfully contributing to the strategic enrollment management initiative.

The Division of Communications and Marketing will be centrally investing in three components of the Net Natives contract for the benefit of the entire institution:

  • The Slate integration with Net Natives’ reporting software, which will be completed after Slate is launched by the Enrollment Management Office.
  • A tagging audit that will ensure all university units are tracking their advertising efforts in a consistent way to gain the most beneficial insights.
  • Access to Net Natives’ reporting software, which will give individual units real-time reporting access.

Advertising buys can then be directly set up between Net Natives and individual university units, with all benefiting from pre-negotiated campaign management rates and optional creative rates. We benefit from contracting at the university level, as our rates are based on the institution’s total estimated advertising spend, offering us a collective discount based on aggregate volume. The Net Natives contract will be made available on the Purchasing Office website in the coming weeks.

As we begin the onboarding process with Net Natives ahead of our July 1 launch date, we will also be convening a new advertising coordination council with representatives from all campuses and academic colleges. This council will go through a six-step onboarding process directly with Net Natives, ensuring we are collectively set up for success. The sessions will be recorded so that as other individual departments and units begin their advertising journeys with Net Natives, they will also be able to go through the onboarding process in real-time.

Ahead of this transition, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that Alpha Media has been a wonderful partner for the university these past two years, introducing many across our institution to untapped opportunities in the digital advertising landscape. University partners should continue to work with Alpha Media for any paid advertising initiatives remaining in the current fiscal year.

I’d like to thank the ad hoc marketing and communications team, our partners in the purchasing department and all of the college representatives who took part in this procurement process. We are excited about our future efforts with Net Natives and look forward to elevating our collective advertising efforts to the next level. 


Ashley Martin
Interim Vice President for Communications and Marketing