HE institutions underinvest in digital marketing

Survey finds that institutions lack capacity to keep up with changes in the digital landscape, harming student recruitment

TERMINALFOUR, a platform specialising in digital marketing and web content management for HE institutions, has just released the results of its 2018 Global Higher Education Digital Marketing & Web Survey. The study, carried out among 432 higher education professionals in 383 universities and HE institutions across the world, highlights the rapid rate of change in the student digital landscape and the current inability of digital services to keep up.

The relative decline of Facebook is an eye-catching feature of the report. Zuckerberg’s imperium remains the respondents’ top platform for student engagement, but its share of the market has declined substantially with the ongoing rise of Instagram. TERMINALFOUR’s research finds that Instagram’s ability to engage students was almost twice as great this year as last, making it the fastest-growing social media platform for student engagement.

Piero Tintorini, CEO and Founder of TERMINALFOUR, summarises these trends thus: “[There has been] a strong shift towards more picture and video content to engage prospective students.”

Such specifics, though, are overshadowed by the more general finding that universities and HE institutions give insufficient priority to their online outreach. The past two years have seen a widespread freeze in digital marketing investment and a failure to track the impact of online recruitment strategies.

The increasing relevance of such failures is made clear by Piero Tintori, CEO and Founder of TERMINALFOUR: “Students, particularly international students, are often making their final application decisions solely on information available online. Increasingly, web and digital experiences are playing a more significant part in the selection of an HE institution. There is strong evidence to suggest that a growing number of students are not physically visiting universities before enrolling.

“The survey responses, when correlated with publicly available data, shows that universities and colleges that invest seriously in web and digital marketing have a stronger performance recruiting students.”

For more information, visit terminalfour.com