Why Content is Still King in Higher Education Marketing

Prospective students today use the Internet, plain and simple. They are part of the digital generation, brought up with computers, smart phones and other digital devices. The latest report about this generation of prospective students’ online behavior and expectations when researching colleges and universities speaks volumes about the importance of providing a high quality digital content for this generation.

The 2011 E-Expectations Report sponsored by Noel-Levitz and the National Research Center for College and University Admissions specifically recommends universities and colleges maintain and deliver high quality content to both students and their parents through school websites, email and social media.

College Websites Need To Be Easy To Use

Perhaps the most important finding from the 2011 report is that one out of five students removed a university from consideration after a bad experience with the school’s website. A college’s website is the first destination for many prospective students and parents when beginning to research schools. An initial bad impression from a lousy website has the potential to turn students off to a school before really even exploring it in depth.

A university’s website should look good, be easy to use and provide students with the information they want and need most. According to students and parents surveyed, the majority first look for information on academic programs followed by admissions information, scholarships, student life, financial aid and more. Other features on a university website like cost calculators and interactive maps are also important for recruitment purposes. Universities must ensure students can easily access content about programs and admissions through the website without much hassle and that the content in those areas tells students what they need to know.

Email Isn’t Dead For Recruitment

It may seem today’s prospective students text message and use social media far more than email. But email still works as a primary effective means of communication simply because so many people have and use email accounts. Out of the parents and students surveyed, the vast majority had email accounts and 93 percent of students said they would provide the address to universities. The report recommends emailing prospective students and parents about key deadline reminders, status updates and important information about enrolling.

Social Media Is a Channel for Listening

The 2011 E-Expectations Report found one area of web content still needing further development was social media. And here there seems to be a mismatch of both university and student behavior. Well over 90 percent of colleges have a Facebook fan page and 80 percent of prospective students use Facebook. Yet, just slightly more than one-quarter of prospective students actually view a college’s social media profile. Why the disparity?

It could be the content. Prospective students said they found comments from current students the most appealing aspect of a school’s Facebook page. Students also said they valued general information and announcements about news, events and programs. The report suggests universities use social media to maintain an informal dialogue with students and avoid overt sales pitches.

The Marketing Takeaway

Prospective students and parents do want to communicate with the universities they are considering attending and they will do so in a variety of formats. Delivering great content in several mediums particularly a school’s website, email communications and social media can have positively influence a student’s final decision about attending a university. Just like for any business’s marketing strategy, great content starts out on your own website and should be cross-pollinated across all of parts of your online presence.

Why Content is Still King in Higher Education Marketing.

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Web Users Welcome Brands to Social Games!

Players want discounts, loyalty program points as gaming rewards!

Social gaming has become a mass phenomenon for Generation X and millennial adults, according to research from Saatchi & Saatchi and Ipsos OTX MediaCT. eMarketer believes US social gaming revenues will pass $1 billion this year, and a May 2011 survey of US internet users ages 18 to 44 found that half play social games every day.

Those daily players include 54% of men and 46% of women in the studied age group. Among tablet owners, two-thirds reported gaming each day; more than half of smartphone owners said the same.

Many players reported participating in the games to kill time, but many took their gaming habit to work with them, with 14% saying they played games like FarmVille and Bejeweled Blitz at work for at least an hour each day.

Fortunately for marketers, many players welcome brands into the environment where they spend so much time. While internet users in this age group still prefer email updates as the best way to learn about new products, nearly two in five chose an online game as a preferred route to new product knowledge—a percentage well above that for traditional media advertising.

Most players are interested in social challenge features of the games they play, and that’s one place where brands can enter the picture, the research found. Among respondents interested in completing social challenges, 57% found product discounts a “very compelling” incentive to complete them, while another 37% found them “somewhat compelling.” Loyalty program points were considered at least somewhat compelling by 88% of respondents. Challenges that could result in direct social action were also highly motivating, but status in the community was an insufficient reward for one-third of players, suggesting brands could spur interest by developing sponsorship opportunities in this area.

Web Users Welcome Brands to Social Games

Emineo Media

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Facebook IPO Targets 100 Billion!

Numbers soared to surprising heights when LinkedIn went public, so naturally rumor has it Facebook (news, site) is is preparing itself for an IPO that could surpass US $100 billion.

The report comes to us via CNBC, which says the IPO is likely to happen during the first quarter of 2012. This date makes sense, as it falls in line with the company’s deadline for reporting its financial information, regardless of whether it’s private or public at the time.

Some perspective: should Facebook’s IPO meet expectations, it would be one of the largest in history, quadrupling Google’s US $23 billion IPO in 2004.

Whether or not this is as good of a thing as it sounds like for Goldman Sachs, the network’s main investor, remains to be seen. While certainly still a giant, Facebook’s growth has reportedly begun to slow.

According to the latest report from Inside Facebook, the network’s membership growth was 11.8 million in May and 13.9 million in April. And while that might not seem like a deal breaking difference, it does serve to highlight a couple of particularly unsettling numbers: Facebook lost roughly 6 million US users in May and another 1.5 million users in Canada during the same time period.

Still, Facebook’s international popularity is becoming increasingly significant, as the network gained 1 million users from locations such as Mexico, India, Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines.

What do you think of the reported IPO numbers, and what aspects of the impending mania give cause for concern? Let us know in the comments below.

Facebook IPO Targets 100 Billion Despite Slowing Growth.

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