Using insights from data to enhance recruitment strategies
The increasing use of online platforms amongst students to search for the right programme has allowed universities to gain meaningful insights into student behaviour. Because everything in digital marketing can be tracked and measured, universities have the opportunity to use this data to inform their marketing strategies and improve their personalised student experiences throughout the recruitment process.
In today’s increasingly competitive and complex global market for higher education, having the precision that data can provide in gaining a granular understanding of various student segments is key to achieving optimum enrolment. Through this, universities can better understand seasonality, the best conversion channels, competition, and gain better insights on attribution channels.
Invest in cross-platform, real-time tracking.
Universities today are expected to deliver their messaging consistently on multiple channels, however, not all of them lead to the same results. Real-time data can provide a clear picture on the effectiveness of one recruitment channel or campaign versus another. Universities can look at different metrics such as the amount of time spent on a website and the number of pages viewed to measure the impact of a specific channel. Every marketing activity – AdWords, social media ads, and sponsored listings – should have a unique tracking link that ties back to whichever dashboard or analytical tool the university chooses to use.
Laura Montgomery, Senior Director at the New School says that the Studyportals dashboard helps her measure the return on her annual investment in the platform and better understand broader trends in prospective student demand: “I really appreciate the detailed analytics platform Studyportals provides, which I can log into anytime and can get a clear sense of which programs are attracting the most attention”.
Identify the most effective marketing channels and campaigns on an aggregate level, so you can allocate your marketing resources accordingly, maximising the return on investment.
The digital tools that are available today allow universities not only to collect information on the specific interests, wants, and needs of students, but also to track the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing campaigns.
While some web metric applications such as Google Analytics will be able to show the number of students who have expressed interest on a channel, they lack more detailed information on the users. However, with lead source tracking using CRM systems, universities can know exactly who submitted an enquiry or application, and which source they came from.
Having access to such data can help minimise spending unnecessary time and resources by identifying the most effective marketing channels and the right target audience. Universities can begin to prioritise content based on where students spend more time or value more as part of their journey.
There’s a difference between quantity and quality. Proper analytics can help you calculate the cost per enrolled student.
Optimising traffic to a channel is never be a bad thing, but it’s also not the only thing that matters. A specific campaign may garner thousands of visits but lead to zero conversions. Claudia Zambrano, Campaign Clients & Partnerships Manager at Studyportals, says that quantity does not always translate to optimal results: “High volumes can mean many things such as lack of information, unclear targeting, popularity of the University/program, or massive share and distribution of the leads, but the Best KPI for leads is conversion to application and enrollment”.
Instead of focusing on the number of website visits, universities should focus on getting qualified visitors by taking strategic, data-based actions that grow profitable traffic. By using proper analytics, universities can measure the exact number of leads that they get from a certain channel and see if the growth of qualified visitors is proportional to the increase in website traffic.
There are various indicators that can be used to distinguish qualified students users, such as the number of links clicked, how much time they spent on the page, or whether or not they took any action. By showing where applicants came from, proper analytics can also calculate the cost per enrolled student.
Tania Gutiérrez, Campaign Manager at Studyportals says that data can help with the disconnect between what students say and students do: “it will provide a way to measure the engagement and intention of the student, allowing the university to keep track of the touchpoints relevant and of most impact for the recruitment goals”.