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Video content - what do prospective students really want?

Revolution Viewing has seen how maintaining engagement with young people is an ever-evolving challenge

Posted by Hannah Oakman | December 09, 2016 | Students

If there’s one thing we know about today’s teenagers, it’s that they are consuming more video content than any other generation. This presents opportunities but also challenges for universities as they try to keep up with what Generation Z needs and wants from this medium.

Having worked with over 70 UK universities during the past 12 years, rich media experts Revolution Viewing have seen how maintaining engagement with young people is an ever-moving feast as generations, technologies and their usage develop at an increasing rate. That’s why Revolution Viewing believe that continuously researching what prospective students really want from their interactions with universities is the only way to stay ahead of the game.

As Revolution Viewing’s Commercial Director, Vicky Hayhurst, states: “Competition amongst universities is the strongest it’s ever been. Only those universities who truly understand the needs of their audiences will continue to recruit student numbers at their current rate. So investing in our annual research programme has become a priority for us. The primary research we conduct helps us to give better advice to our clients and to produce more impactful solutions for prospective students which have a greater return on investment.”

Following research which established how influential rich media solutions are at key points in the student recruitment cycle, Revolution Viewing teamed up with The Student Room and market research agency Vincent Consulting, in a groundbreaking study. The purpose of the study was to find out what makes rich media content engaging, authentic and appropriate for a university, to today’s prospective students.

In terms of the methodology, 300 prospective students (split by 200 UK and 100 international) completed an online survey where they watched a series of videos. Media Evaluator technology was used to track respondent reactions to video in real time, alongside a questionnaire of carefully crafted pre-coded and open-ended questions. 

Julie Vincent, Managing Director of Vincent Consulting, comments: “This innovative approach provided quantitative insight with strong qualitative elements and gained exceptional engagement from the participants who are used to watching video and prefer this medium above others.

“The study helped us to find answers to questions such as ‘What makes video content authentic and engaging? How important is it for universities’ video content to evoke an emotional reaction? How well are universities currently performing in creating video content that is appealing to prospective students?’ 

This innovative approach provided quantitative insight with strong qualitative elements and gained exceptional engagement from the participants who are used to watching and commenting on videos.”

Groundbreaking insight such as this enables universities to create more authentic and engaging student recruitment content. This is absolutely vital in today’s climate of budget cuts and fierce competition where understanding your audience is key to success.

Video content top tips

1. Showcase your facilities and campus – it’s what prospective students want to see 

2. Feature current students and show your audience around their future life

3. Evoke an emotional reaction – your content will be more memorable

4. Tell a story or have a clear theme

5. Produce high-quality content – this is expected and prospective students want to feel proud and reassured of their decision to engage with you

6. Show, show, show, don’t tell, tell, tell

7. Co-create and test ideas.

If you would like to know more about Revolution Viewing’s research and how it could help your university, please contact Vicky Hayhurst at
vicky.hayhurst@revolutionviewing.com  

W: www.revolutionviewing.co.uk 

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