University Business September 2017 - 24

INTERNET TECHNOLOGY

Deep dive into digital habits
Digital expectations of students and parents in 2017
By Karine Joly

C

urious about the digital habits
of college-bound high school
students? Since 2005, the
E-Expectations report has offered a
deep dive into their needs and desires.
The latest study, conducted in April in
partnership with Ruffalo Noel-Levitz,
NRCCUA, CollegeWeekLive and
OmniUpdate, looks at a sample of
4,274 high school seniors, juniors and
sophomores, plus 3,530 of their parents.
"Parents take an increasing part in
the college admissions process," says
Stephanie Geyer, a vice president at
Ruffalo Noel-Levitz.
Geyer gave me early access to the
complete data set, so I could invest
more time analyzing its top findings.
The 50-plus hours I spend on
E-Expectations data every year acts
as my annual pilgrimage into the land
of prospective students. It informs
the way I analyze new trends and
platforms, and their impact on higher
ed digital marketing.
As I often tell my social media
marketing students, audience research
is where everything starts-you want
to speak the your target audience's
language, and data is the only way to
learn it.
I have published a series of posts
(UBmag.me/eer) including a total of
50 different charts highlighting top
insights on students' and parents'
expectations regarding email, texts,
SEO, digital advertising, higher ed

UBmag.me/dive

24 | September 2017

websites and social media. Since I
don't have room to share everything in
this column, I'll give you my top digital marketing recommendations.

With so few schools
focusing on SEO in their
content development
process, there's a real
opportunity to win
this game.
Optimizing your site
Your website remains your most influential marketing resource. Students
and parents scored websites ahead of
financial calculators, school emails and
print materials for parents. Your site
needs to be easy for smartphone users
to navigate because 95 percent of high
school seniors and their parents use
mobile devices for their web browsing.
Moreover, 74 percent of seniors and
60 percent of juniors have completed a
college online form on their phone. So
make sure it's easy-29 percent of seniors have submitted applications via a
phones. If your site is your most influential resource, search is its top digital
marketing channel. When looking for
websites, 82 percent of seniors and parents use their favorite search engine.
Excelling in SEO for your school's
name is a no-brainer. You should also
optimize for combinations of your
school and program names because 50
percent of parents and close to 60 percent of students will search for those
terms. About one-third of prospective

students and 40 percent of parents will
also use a search engine to find specific information on a college website,
rather than using site navigation or a
website's search tool.
Improving your global site navigation will never be a waste of time, but
your school can't afford to go without
a comprehensive SEO strategy. If your
secondary web pages are not optimized, only 1 in 3 students will find
them. With so few schools focusing
on SEO in their content development
process, there's a real opportunity to
win this game.
Popular platforms
Whether your school uses paid or
organic platforms, you can't ignore
social media. Facebook is still the top
social media site for college information, but Snapchat is the most popular
platform overall, according to the
E-Expectations survey.
While only 12 percent of high
school seniors used Snapchat for college searches, that number has grown
by 100 percent over the past 12
months. Moreover, Facebook is losing
ground with juniors and sophomores.
If your school isn't yet engaging
students on Snapchat, it's definitely
missing out. Snap Inc. knows it and
has just announced the launch of campus versions of its Discover platform
to monetize all this attention.
Karine Joly is the web editor behind www.
collegewebeditor.com, a blog about higher
ed web marketing, public relations and
technologies. She is also the founder of
www.higheredexperts.com.
www.universitybusiness.com


http://www.UBmag.me/eer http://www.collegewebeditor.com http://www.UBmag.me/dive http://www.higheredexperts.com http://www.universitybusiness.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business September 2017

University Business September 2017 - Intro LOC
University Business September 2017 - Cover1
University Business September 2017 - Cover2
University Business September 2017 - 1
University Business September 2017 - 2
University Business September 2017 - 3
University Business September 2017 - 4
University Business September 2017 - 5
University Business September 2017 - 6
University Business September 2017 - 7
University Business September 2017 - 8
University Business September 2017 - 9
University Business September 2017 - 10
University Business September 2017 - 11
University Business September 2017 - 12
University Business September 2017 - 13
University Business September 2017 - 14
University Business September 2017 - 15
University Business September 2017 - 16
University Business September 2017 - 17
University Business September 2017 - 18
University Business September 2017 - 19
University Business September 2017 - 20
University Business September 2017 - 21
University Business September 2017 - 22
University Business September 2017 - 23
University Business September 2017 - 24
University Business September 2017 - 25
University Business September 2017 - 26
University Business September 2017 - 27
University Business September 2017 - 28
University Business September 2017 - 29
University Business September 2017 - 30
University Business September 2017 - 31
University Business September 2017 - 32
University Business September 2017 - 33
University Business September 2017 - 34
University Business September 2017 - 35
University Business September 2017 - 36
University Business September 2017 - 37
University Business September 2017 - 38
University Business September 2017 - 39
University Business September 2017 - 40
University Business September 2017 - 41
University Business September 2017 - 42
University Business September 2017 - 43
University Business September 2017 - 44
University Business September 2017 - 45
University Business September 2017 - 46
University Business September 2017 - 47
University Business September 2017 - 48
University Business September 2017 - 49
University Business September 2017 - 50
University Business September 2017 - 51
University Business September 2017 - 52
University Business September 2017 - Cover3
University Business September 2017 - Cover4
University Business September 2017 - 58
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