Skip to main content

How Comcast Created a Top Performing Gated Student Program

Telecom giant Comcast has stellar streaming content, but when it came to the fast-growing Gen Z audience, the brand was losing ground to competitors. The company knew its Xfinity brand appealed to digitally savvy 18-to-24-year-olds—a fast-growing segment that offered the brand incredible revenue potential. The challenge was to find the right way to engage them. 

To reach the full student audience, Comcast partnered with SheerID and Riddle & Bloom to develop a strategy capable of marketing to all US college students, no matter their living situation. The result was a top-selling program that generated unprecedented year-over-year growth.

Engaging More College Students

The Xfinity On Campus (XOC) service provided great value to students in select on-campus housing, but that was just a fraction of the market. “We needed to expand our strategy to fulfill the needs of additional student audience segments, most notably those living off campus and in non-XOC markets,” said Comcast’s Senior Director of Acquisition Marketing. 

The brand decided to target Gen Z college students with relevant offers that would complement their existing XOC marketing efforts. And it needed a way to verify student status to prevent offer abuse and gather zero-party data so it could continue nurturing students after they graduated. 

Creating the Student Offer

Comcast’s first step was to develop a student offer to meet the needs of all Gen Z students, including those living off campus or outside of the XOC footprint. 

Research confirmed that Comcast had three of Gen Z’s top four priorities: fast internet, streaming media, and gaming. Music was the only thing missing, so the company partnered with Amazon Music to develop an unforgettable package. For one low price, college students could receive fast internet, Xfinity’s great content, six months of Amazon Music Unlimited free, and a $150 Visa prepaid card. 

To secure the offer, Comcast used SheerID’s Verification Platform. Students would simply visit Comcast’s landing page and enter basic information, such as their email address and the college they attended. SheerID would instantly verify their eligibility, and students would finish subscribing without ever leaving Comcast’s website. 

Promoting the Offer with Brand Ambassadors

With an offer that was highly appealing to students in place, Comcast now needed to develop an integrated marketing strategy that could reach. The team partnered with Riddle & Bloom to evolve the seasonal XOC program into an always-on, peer-to-peer student marketing program that promoted the complete library of Xfinity offerings and could adapt messaging to any student segment. 

This group, the Xfinity Student Brand Ambassadors, provided trust and authenticity within the Gen Z audience, localizing the benefits of content and offers to the unique culture of each school community. Over months of sustained peer engagement, Brand Ambassadors hosted their own Xfinity events, integrated the brand into existing school programming and activities, and created and published organic Instagram content to their personal accounts. It was a bold campaign, but one that Comcast didn't hesitate to launch, thanks to SheerID's verification solution.

“SheerID provided a 100% guarantee that only students could redeem the offer, which gave us the confidence to make it really appealing to Gen Z without any fear of losing revenue to discount abuse,” the brand said. “We could then fully lean into the power of peer-to-peer marketing, leveraging Riddle & Bloom’s exclusive university partnerships and student access to build a team of well-connected Brand Ambassadors to promote our full product mix to their classmates and peers on and off campus.”

Gated Offers Bring in Results

Partnering with SheerID and Riddle & Bloom unleashed Xfinity’s full potential with Gen Z. The marketing campaign won students’ attention and drove 6x growth in subscriptions year-over-year. 

“Xfinity’s College Student Program is the top performing gated program in Comcast history, and much of the credit goes to SheerID and Riddle & Bloom,” according to the Senior Director of Acquisition Marketing. “Their holistic approach fully ensured we could reach the right audience and deliver targeted product messaging in a credible way. We could never have launched such an ambitious campaign and seen such incredible results without this partnership.” 

In addition to tremendous growth, the program generated high levels of Gen Z engagement. The largest increase came from organic and paid search, and year-over-year conversions increased by 91%.

“Partnering with SheerID and Riddle & Bloom has given us a powerful new way to capture and engage our ideal customer segment,” Comcast reported. “Their teams stood up to every task and continue to be on board with us 24/7."

Achieve Your Own Identity Marketing Success

Comcast, and many other brands, have used identity marketing to exceed their acquisition, engagement, and retention goals. If you’re interested in learning more about how SheerID’s Verification Platform can help your brand achieve similar success, build your first program for free today.