Almost everyone involved in promoting higher education is aware that the Internet has drastically changed marketing, advertising, and recruiting. Admissions offices are aware that they need to be more actively using social media, financial aid offices offer online applications, and many recruiters utilize online blogs to communicate useful information to prospective students. However, though education administrators have a general awareness of the pervasiveness of the Internet and social media, they are often surprised to hear the actual statistics.
Online statistics provide useful information when it comes to the marketing of higher education. It is one thing to say that you know that the college-age demographic is online a lot and another to know that 91% of all mobile Internet access is to social networking sites. If an administrator thinks of YouTube as a site where teens go to watch music videos, it will never be used as a marketing strategy. However, that same administrator might be compelled to finance a video about the school’s acceptance rate into post-graduate programs upon learning that 200 million YouTube views occur on mobile devices every day. A director of an admissions office at a higher education institution may not know the difference between a tweet and a status update, but may still be willing to approve Twitter accounts for all admission counselors because there are more than 30 million tweets on Twitter per day.
Obviously, the statistics regarding online usage make a compelling argument for online marketing for education. However, even when an institution of higher education knows the statistics and has the desire to go online in a marketing effort, most lack the technological and marketing expertise to do so. Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in online marketing for higher education. These companies keep up with technology in higher education so that they can offer colleges and universities innovative online marketing campaigns. Such online marketing utilizes all aspects of the Internet to target marketing efforts to the precise demographic a college or university is trying to reach. Whether it is incorporating a Facebook page or utilizing SEO techniques, marketing campaigns can be specifically designed to increase a school’s presence online and to attract students interested in pursuing higher education.
Whether an institution of higher education wants a marketing campaign to increase overall recruitment numbers or wants to market for a specific program area, online marketing provides the greatest opportunity to reach a target audience. The statistics demonstrate that most prospective students will get the majority of their information online. If online is where the majority of a target audience can be found, then online is where marketing efforts for education should be focused.