How crucial is video to university marketing?

Jon Mowat of Hurricane Media outlines the reasons to start shooting

Rising fees and a growing portfolio of diverse courses has led to prospective students carrying out increasingly extensive research when deliberating university applications. Creating a positive brand image has always been crucial to attracting talent, and video marketing is now essential for Higher Education.

Most universities have YouTube accounts, empowering them to reach target demographics in comprehensive and eye-catching ways. I’ve studied the stats, and they make a clear case for video marketing:

●      Video is predicted to account for 80% of all Internet traffic by 2019 (Cisco)
●      Video is the most shared media content on Facebook (Zuum Social)
●      Video links in email boost click-through rates by 34% (Marketing Sherpa)
●      In a survey of 1,500 teenagers, each of the top five ‘celebrities’ that ranked as most influential were all YouTube personalities (Variety)

In short, if you want to connect with young people, the medium of moving pictures is a surefire way of getting noticed – especially as you can distribute video content across your digital landscape, i.e. on your website, via social media, in email campaigns, and even printed QR codes.

Durham University do a great job of evoking a varied and colourful student life with constantly changing scenery, which also showcases the impressive range of facilities and activities available on campus.

Video can also be used to offer more detailed virtual tours, ideal for those who may not be able to attend open days. It can also be used to demo virtual learning environments for those applying for distance learning.

At the opposite end to Durham’s quick cuts, the University of Warwick’s ten minute film, ‘Why Warwick?’, discusses what to new students can expect:

This video capitalises on the university’s reputation and professional image, opening with an endorsement from the Times Good University Guide. A longer video allows greater opportunity for an in-depth introduction to the institution, accentuated by footage of the campus and its features.

Aside from recruitment, video should play a key role in your overall promotional activities, celebrating success stories and distilling complex research into easy-to-digest visuals. This can be extremely beneficial when it comes to securing future funding, and can reinforce the professional persona of your institution, potentially improving the perceived value of graduates in the eyes of employers.

De Montfort University show how their academics are bringing the past to life with this 6-minute short:

All of the above strategies have their merits, and the exact format of your visual media can be tailored to your professional image and target audience, helping to characterise your brand, especially when used in synergy with social media campaigns.

Jumping onboard the broadcast bandwagon demonstrates that your institution is up-to-date with the fast-changing digital world. From there, you can build on your web presence with a growing range of informative content, that not only documents the success of students, but also promotes your institution to future generations.

Video is steadily taking over the web, and if you want to attract the best young minds in the world, putting video at the heart of your marketing mantra has become increasingly essential. It doesn’t take a genius to work that out. 


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