Leo Finkley Feb 18, 2020 8:12:29 AM

Why Digital is Becoming More Critical in Higher Education

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With nearly 14% of the year already behind us, it’s clear that some trends within the higher education industry are not going away in 2020. One of the most effective, fast-growing aspects of the industry is the use of digital, which plays an important role in marketing for post-secondary schools. As technology evolves and more schools continue to offer advanced resources for prospective students to explore, it will become increasingly competitive to convert prospects and drive retention rates. Any institution that is unwilling or unable to adapt to this new digital age is in jeopardy of being left behind!

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An article published on terminalfour.com discusses the 10 digital trends that will transform the higher education landscape in 2020. The report uses data collected by U.S. schools, LinkedIn, and other digital resources used by colleges in order to identify the trends.

The post discusses the role of video and live content, voice search related to SEO, sentiment analysis predictive analytics, the addition of new degree programs, education models, student ambassadors, accessibility, chat boxes, and, finally, TikToK. Since StudentBridge specializes in providing personalized rich media solutions, we’ll zero in on video and live content, which is the number one trend at the top of the content marketing priority list.

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The article examines how “2020 will see universities increasingly experimenting on Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Snapchat, TikTok, and perhaps also Linkedin Live.” While using these media outlets may lead to favorable results, it is important to create A+ quality content and establish a channel strategy. In fact, although these platforms are widely recognized, they are limited in terms of how students can interact with any given institution.

There’s no debate about video being the most effective way to captivate and inform students. Throughout our monthly webinars in 2019, we touched on a few insightful  statistics related to video:

  • 72% of students would rather learn via video than text
  • 95% of information in a video is retained compared to 10% in text or static images
  • 1,200% greater video shares on social media than text and images combined

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While video continues to be the best way to convey information, it will become increasingly crucial to incorporate personalization and interaction in video to manage recruitment and retention rates. In our December 2019 webinar, we mentioned that 79% of students will only engage in information is personalized, and 57% of students are OK with providing personal information if it benefits them.

In one of our many case studies that prove how influential personalized video and other rich media solutions can be, we see that Carthage College in Wisconsin had trouble showcasing their features, benefits, and values before students stepped on campus. It was even harder for international students to gauge the fit and feel of entering a new school, a new country, and a new culture.

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Carthage College worked with us to employ specialized tactics such as a Video Viewbook and Interactive Campus Map to target distant, prospective students and create immersive academic and cultural experiences. As a result, Carthage was able to welcome the largest incoming class in the college history in 2017.

Video Viewbooks and Interactive Campus Maps are just two of many solutions that can increase conversion and retention rates outside of social media. As technology becomes more advanced and accessible, it will be vital for schools to differentiate themselves to remain relevant. There’s no doubt that digital is critical when it comes to marketing.

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It’s still the beginning of 2020, so it’s not too late to hop on board! But the digital train is ready to leave the station… will you be left behind?

Looking for more solutions? At StudentBridge, we have over a decade of helping colleges improve their enrollment and retention rates. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you use digital marketing and data analytics to improve your enrollment numbers.

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