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Outreach - Nudge Campaigns

Informed by analytics data, nudge campaigns let you encourage specific students toward behaviors that improve the odds that they will return for the next term and progress toward their goal.

Administrative Analytics lets you turn insights into Outreach, which are nudge campaigns that reach out to students directly via email. Following is an overview of nudgingnudge campaigns, and the Nudge Hub and how to use them fully to:

  • Conduct a nudge campaign (a set of nudges designed to improve the persistence of your target group)

  • Send on behalf of another user (such as the student's advisor)

  • Repeat nudges within the same campaign

  • Review nudge campaigns (see stats on current and prior campaigns)

‘Nudges’ and ‘Campaigns’

nudge encourages students to take an empowering action, such as choosing to schedule a support service they need.

Nudges are small pushes in the right direction that do not require prescribed actions, but encourage certain behaviors. When students are presented with a nudge sent from a trusted person at your institution, they have the freedom to make their own choices with information about behaviors we know are more strongly associated with positive persistence and graduation outcomes. (Kuh, George D., et al. Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.)

nudge campaign is a communication strategy (built on data insights) targeted to move a group of students toward a specific, measurable outcome, such as earlier registration for the next term. It may involve several or repeated nudges at set intervals, and it might be repeated annually or with each new cohort.

The Nudge Hub

Learning how to nudge effectively is the next step, and you won't do it alone. Civitas Learning publishes nudging templates and guidance in the Nudge Hub, and you are free to use these resources to launch into action on the insights you find using Administrative Analytics.

These resources support the life-cycle of a nudge campaign, with tools to help you plan, present, measure, and implement your campaign. Its library of templates make it simple to craft effective nudges for your needs.

You access the Nudge Hub directly from the global sidebar:

  1. Select the Nudge Hub link from the left.

  2. Resources in the Nudge Hub are organized in sections, and each section contains a list of articles. 

  3. Selecting a title launches the Help Center to the right of the page. 
    You will see a title, description, and a download link.

Preparing the Student List

To conduct a nudge campaign, you first need to set up the Student List to be targeted.

  1. Select an opportunity that surfaced from your data, such as that attempting too few credits is a Powerful Predictor of poor persistence. 

  2. Identify a targeted segment of the student population, as Analytics will not allow you to message the entire student population.

  3. Generate an Active Student List for your nudge campaign, one of three ways:

    • Select the Active Students number in the top right of the Overview page

    • Select the Active Students number from an area on the Prediction Distribution wheel

    • Highlight an area on any Powerful Predictor chart and select the View Active Students link

  4. Add any additional columns and filtering needed to create the Student List that matches the target student group you want for the nudge campaign.

Outreach: Sending the Nudge

  1. Before you start the email campaign, it's best practice to have the nudge messaging already drafted, reviewed, and ready to go. Use the Nudge Hub to find templates to work from. 

    • Tip: Because the messaging tool is not a document management system, it does not save drafts. Use your team's network folders to manage message drafts and review notes.

  2. Select the Outreach button. 

  3. The Message Students window prompts you to enter a name and description for the nudge (to help your team manage all of the campaigns) before completing From and Subject fields.

  4. Paste the message content for the nudge campaign in the body section of the window. 

  5. Select the Insert Student First Name link at the bottom of the pop-up modal to insert the first name of the students receiving the email. 

    Use the formatting command bar at the bottom to apply basic formatting, bulleted and numbered lists, and links and images.  

  6. Select the Test Email button to send yourself a copy of the email before sending to your target Student List. 

    1. Review how the subject line and email content will appear to students

    2. Test any hyperlinks,

    3. If you made any changes, select Test Email again.

  7. Select the Send Email button to send the message to all of the students in the Student List. 

  8. When prompted, confirm your request to send (which helps ensure that such bulk emails are not sent accidentally).

  9. Select Yes, continue sending to complete sending your message. 
    Important: If you select No, cancel, the nudge is not created or saved.

  10. The message is sent to all of the students in this Student List, and the sender also receives a copy of the message. 

  11. Monitor your completed nudge on the Outreach page in Administrative Analytics.

Sending on Behalf of

Students are more likely to open emails from someone they know. As much as possible, have nudges come from someone that the student trusts. You can design a nudge to be sent from yourself (as the nudge creator) or on behalf of someone else:

  • The student's assigned advisor (recommended)

  • Your team member (another user with Administrative Analytics permissions)

To send on behalf of the advisor

A common and recommended way to present nudges is to have them sent on behalf of each student's advisor, to build on that relationship. If the student does not have an advisor assigned currently, the nudge will be sent from your email account instead. Both advisors and campaign owners receive a copy of the nudge.

  1. Open a Student List in Administrative Analytics and verify that advisors have been mapped. 
    Look for Assigned Advisor emails in the last column:

  2. Select the Outreach button.

  3. In the From field, change the sender by selecting the drop-down icon.

  4. From the available options, select Student's Advisor (#/# Students Mapped)
    This changes the sender of the nudge so that it appears to come from the assigned advisor.

  5. Complete the message content for the nudge campaign in the body section. 

  6. (For sending on behalf of the advisor only) Sign the message using the Advisor Name, at the bottom of the window. 
    The Advisor Name button inserts a variable into the message so that students will see their own advisor's name (such as Jo Rein) in their message. 

  7. Format the message using options located at the bottom of the window. 
    You can add character formatting, bulleted or numbered lists, and images and links.

  8. Select Test Email to verify that your message appears correctly.

  9. Select Send Email to broadcast the message to all of the students in the Student List. When students receive the message, it will appear to have come from their assigned advisor. 

  10. The campaign coordinator and the student's assigned advisor will also receive copies. The copy sent to the advisor will contain additional information:

    • A summary of the nudge campaign

    • The nudge content itself

    • Filter criteria for the nudge campaign

    • Which of the advisor's students are included in the campaign

To send on behalf of a teammate

Important: Sending nudges for another team member requires the right mix of permissions: you both must be authorized for nudge campaigns, and the other person must be authorized to have campaigns sent on their behalf.

  1. Open a Student List in Administrative Analytics and select the Outreach button.

  2. In the From field, change the sender by selecting the drop-down icon.

  3. From the list, select the the user you would like to send on behalf of. If the person you want does not appear on this list, the user is missing permissions that allow another nudge campaign-authorized user to send a campaign on their behalf.

  4. Select Test Email to verify that your message appears correctly.

  5. Select Send Email to broadcast the message to all of the students in the Student List. 
    When students receive the message, it will appear to have come from the user you selected. A copy of the message is sent to the campaign coordinator and the updated email sender.

Repeating a Nudge

Nudge campaigns can include multiple nudges that build upon each other throughout the term to increase the likelihood of persistence of the students in the target student group. You can send a follow-up nudge in an existing nudge campaign using features on the Outreach page.

Tip: To permanently remove individual students from future nudges, use Outreach Exclusions, on the sidebar. If you don’t see it, authorization is missing. Ask your team leader to make the exclusion or expand your user permissions.

To send another nudge, you first enter the existing nudge campaign.

  1. Have your nudge text prepared and reviewed. Use the Nudge Hub for helpful templates.

  2. Select Outreach at the top of the page, then open the nudge campaign that you would like to build upon. 

  3. At the top right of the campaign, select Send Another Nudge.

  4. For the Nudge Campaign Context, explain the purpose of this nudge.

  5. Follow-up nudges include a new section, Exclude Options, which you won't see for new nudges. The counter after each option shows how many students would be excluded if you checked the box: 

    • Exclude Students Enrolled in an Upcoming Term, to nudge only those who have not yet enrolled

    • Exclude Students Who Have Withdrawn from All Courses This Term, to nudge only active students

    • Exclude Students Who Opened a Previous Email in this Campaign, to nudge only those who missed the nudge

    • Exclude Deceased Students (the counter shows you if this occurred)

  6. Send Test Email and review the content of your nudge campaign. 

  7. Once you are satisfied with your nudge, select Send Email to broadcast the message to the students in the Student List who were not excluded.

Reviewing Nudge Campaigns

To view current and past campaigns, select Outreach from the sidebar. The Outreach page lists all nudge campaigns. For each campaign, the following information is available:

  • Name of the nudge campaign

  • Each nudge in the campaign, with these details:

    • Subject line 

    • Sender

    • Date sent

    • Open rate

    • Click-through rate

    • Content

    • Context

    • Filters used to create the Student List

To export a .csv file of all of the campaign's data, select Download Outreach Report. This file includes campaign details and student-specific metrics: student information, open and click-through rates, student persistence, and persistence prediction scores.


  • Handle this file securely, as it contains personal student data.

  • Reports show the enrollment status as logged at the time of the outreach.

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