Get Prospective Students On Your Campus With Interactive Content
The campus visit is often the best opportunity a college has to convert prospective students into applicants. With the expense of traveling to colleges acting as a potential deterrent, it’s increasingly difficult to make it onto the shortlist of campuses a prospect is willing to visit.
Google’s 2013 Q3 education search report highlighted some opportunities to engage prospects with interactive content such as maps, campus tours, and video. Despite growth in MOOCs and wide availability of online-only offerings, established colleges with physical campuses still have an edge with education searches. We took a look at three trends and what they mean for education content marketers.
1. Geo-specific search is up 10%, search including “online” as a modifier is down 3%
Students start their search close to home, as suggested by a growing emphasis on location. The cost of attending a school away from home is often higher than nearby institutions, and the cost of traveling to prospective colleges is likely a factor for students and their parents. For-profit and online only schools are seeing a decline, possibly due to the perception of greater value and credibility for brick-and-mortar institutions.
2. The research cycle is lengthening with fewer seasonal ups and downs
Historically, education searches have dipped during the summer up until the second week of August, with sharp drops and equally sharper bounces back around the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although Q4 data for 2013 won’t be available until next year, the usual peaks and valleys have been smoothing out throughout this year. The typical research cycle is more spread out, and lengthening. The decision as to which college to attend is getting increasingly careful consideration as the pressure mounts to choose the right school, with the most returned value from a degree.
3. Program and degree specific online queries are up, while online university brand search is dropping
Although in general, searches including “online” as a modifier have dropped, students are increasingly likely to search for a specific program or degree offering online, with this type of search growing by 7% year over year. This trend suggests students are craving flexibility in program delivery when preparing for a specific career path, but are willing to complete some of their academic requirements on a physical campus.
To connect with students during their extended college research period and give them a sense of life on your campus before they decide to pay you an actual visit, you can use strong visual and interactive content to engage with them in ways that provide a true sense of place and a feel for your campus culture. Interactive tours, videos, and student-generated content are great ways to enhance the more traditional and informative content and build a stronger case for an in-person visit, and in some cases, even reduce the need for one.
Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.