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Data-driven Design for Higher Education to Increase Applicant Engagement and Conversions


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With more higher education institutions competing for the pool of potential students, creating enticing and engaging social experiences that deliver results have never been more important. This session ties social media activity to the science of landing page analytics to deliver a digital user experience that gets results. Specifically, we will look at increasing social-driven conversions through data-driven analysis of visitor behavior and applying the insights learned to site and page design.

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Data-driven Design for Higher Education to Increase Applicant Engagement and Conversions

  1. 1. Copyright 2013 #DataDrivenWeb4Ed Data-driven design for higher education to increase applicant engagement and conversions
  2. 2. Copyright 2013 Introduction & Company Overview eduUser Journey Research Q&A Agenda
  3. 3. Copyright 2013 Sean Rusinko • VP, Digital Strategy • Focus on Building & Executing the Strategic Direction of Client Digital Marketing Initiatives • Frequent speaker at MITX, BIMA, Gilbane, Sitecore Symposium, NEDMA, and others • Northeastern University, BS in Marketing & Advertising Jll Grozalsky • Digital Strategist • Previously worked at Qorvis Communications as a leader in general and crisis social media strategies • Focus on big picture strategic goals for websites and overall online presence • University of Maryland, BA in General Communications Speaker Bios
  4. 4. Copyright 2013 Some Clients: Some Partners: • Award Winning Digital Agency • Since 1998 • Headquartered in Boston • 100 + Full-time Employees • More than 260 Active Clients • Deep Technical Background • Diverse Client Portfolio About Verndale
  5. 5. Copyright 2013 Digital Strategy Technology Digital Marketing Content Orchestratio n Experience Design define planpromote measure build suppor t train Digital Maintenance Our Service Offerings
  6. 6. Copyright 2013 6 The eduUser Journey
  7. 7. Copyright 2013 Marketers need to reach students in the right channels — and look beyond traditional enrollment periods — with a constant presence online. • Nine in ten enrolled students have used the Internet to research higher education institutions (Goolge, Compete Study) • 77% of education seekers will first visit a school’s website at least two weeks — and often two months — before taking action • Half of conversions occur 2+ months after time of Search Referral • Over 1/3 of eduSearchers use mobile devices • 60% of students have little to no certainty as to where they’ll end up when they begin research • 57% of students watch a YouTube video created by a school 1. Measure by value-per-visit 2. The journey is multi-screen 3. Seeing is believing 4. Learn the new landscape Digital Use in Choosing Schools Source: Google Think
  8. 8. Copyright 2013 Google’s eduSearcher purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  9. 9. Copyright 2013 Google’s eduSearcher purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  10. 10. Copyright 2013 Affect of Marketing Channels Marketing channels (Such as email, paid ads, social and direct visits) influence the customer at different points in their decision-making process purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  11. 11. Copyright 2013 Affect of Marketing Channels Which channels play more of an “assist” or “last interaction” role? purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  12. 12. Copyright 2013 12 The eduUser Journey: Search
  13. 13. Copyright 2013 More Searches, More Often
  14. 14. Copyright 2013 Search Drives Edu Conversions purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  15. 15. Copyright 2013 Only 19% of first queries by eduSearchers are branded There’s Branding Work to be Done Converters Brand 19% Non-Brand 81% Query Path of Converters; 2010 Query 1 purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  16. 16. Copyright 2013 eduSearchers are Seeking Brand Info In 2010, more than 25% of education queries were branded vs. 15% in 2009 purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  17. 17. Copyright 2013 Online Content Plays a Large, Recurring Role Of those converters referred by the Google Display Network (GDN): 88% are referred 2+ times 17% are referred 10+ times purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  18. 18. Copyright 2013 18 The eduUser Journey: Convert
  19. 19. Copyright 2013 Early Touch Points are Critical purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  20. 20. Copyright 2013 % of Converters Referred by Search Days before Conversion eduSearchers Initiate Research Early On Total Half of conversions occur 2+ months after time of search referral
  21. 21. Copyright 2013 Research Contributes to Conversions purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  22. 22. Copyright 2013 The Impact of Video purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  23. 23. Copyright 2013 • Don’t force users down a path. • Mobilize your brand • Widen the scope of your message • Assign value to upper funnel touch points Key Implications for the New Reality
  24. 24. Copyright 2013 The eduUser Journey: Social
  25. 25. Copyright 2013 Social is the gateway to a school’s website and admissions information Social Today
  26. 26. Copyright 2013 •96% of college students are on Facebook •91% of college professors engage in social media as part of their job •29% of Higher Education Institutes do not have a social media plan •Social media is one of the easiest ways to amplify any grassroots efforts and increase funding •38% of Higher Education Institutes attribute increased applications to social media amechanger/SocialMediaEfficiency.pdf Social Today
  27. 27. Copyright 2013 •39% of students connected/chatted with current students through social media •22% admit strongly considering applying to a school based on a recommendation from a social media site •2% of students report that a school’s social presence had a negative impact on their application interest Out of 20,000+ polled high school seniors: Why Social?
  28. 28. Copyright 2013 Social Today Percentage of students who consider particular social media functions moderately or extremely important
  29. 29. Copyright 2013 Social Referral Volume purchase.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=mayadvanced&utm_content=ca
  30. 30. Copyright 2013 Social Success: Harvard • Real-time updates from social media • Easy-to-use social media directory to highlight all channels • Featured news to advance traditional marketing efforts • Consistent and timely social updates
  31. 31. Copyright 2013 Social Campaign: OSU • Multiple options and touch points so users aren’t forced into one method • Creates transparency • Allows OSU to listen to prospective students and tailor content accordingly; gauge intentions
  32. 32. Copyright 2013 Social Mobile: USC • Virtual campus tour • Provides “insider tips” allowing prospective students to get a more realistic view of campus • Easy to navigate both online and on campus • Motivates prospective students to connect via other social channels
  33. 33. Copyright 2013 Thanks.Thanks. Let’s Connect! @Seanrus @Cuisine_Queen