Why Video is More Important Than Ever In Student Enrolment For Higher Education

Updated: Jan 14

If new enrollment drives the financial stability of your school, then your digital front door should be as inviting to a prospect as a campus tour. Brad Frank, Chief Marketing Officer, Collegis

Video Marketing is more crucial than ever for student recruitment. Due to COVID19 and the safety measures that will be in place for the coming year, traditional student recruitment practices like secondary school visits and open days may not be able to go ahead this autumn.

Printed prospectuses are expensive, wasteful, and ineffective at reaching today's potential students, who consume most of their information online.

The onus is on the colleges to reach out to prospective students and give them the key information they need in the way that they need it, and Video - Marketing is the way to do this. Video helps showcase your college to those who can’t travel and visit it in person, but it also helps you get valuable, persuasive content in front of potential students who may not otherwise have considered your college.

Click here to watch our webinar - How to use video in higher ed marketing

1. Where Are Your Potential Students?

The most effective communication strategies begin by clearly identifying their target audiences and then finding where are the most efficient ways to reach them. 

16 – 24-year-old spend more time online than any other age group, at an average of 3 hours and 1 minute per day (source: Digital Information World), and some of the most popular sites used within this age group are Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube. 

  • Snapchat has reached 90% of all 13- 24-year-olds in the US

  • 75% 18 – 24-year-olds use Instagram

  • 90% of 18 – 44-year-old American internet users watch Youtube Videos

  • 41% of TikTok users age between 16 and 24, spending an average of 52 minutes on the app per day.

The type of content that all of these platforms have in common is; video. Young people will watch video content on anything they’re interested in, so it’s really important to establish your online video presence! 86% of colleges now have a YouTube presence, but it’s vital that you are maximizing the reach and influence this channel can give you by creating a strong video marketing strategy for your college.

Identifying the key audiences and relevant pieces of content for each audience will help you drive higher engagement from your video marketing activities that fits with your recruitment and enrolment goals.

Video is ideal for mobile use, and having a video embedded in your site actually increases your SEO by 53% bringing your institution to the top of a google search. When it comes to the Gen Z target audience, mobile consumption needs to play a large role in your strategy - 98% own their own mobile phone, 90% admit to going online multiple times each day, while almost one-third of Millennials are exclusively smartphone users. (source https://www.herosmyth.com/article/75-eye-opening-statistics-how-each-generation-uses-technology)

2. What Information Are They Looking For?

What is the USP of your college?  What makes it stand out and become the first choice preference for next year’s students?  When so many colleges offer the same standard elements of an undergrad or postgraduate education, it’s important to clearly communicate the most unique aspects of your institution, which could include your location, your cultural connections, your language & history, your international exchange programs, etc. 

One size does not fit all – your students are a diverse group so you need to create lots of content that focuses on their specific areas of interest, which could include:

  • Different courses of study – one of the main causes of the high student dropout rates are the expectations vs reality of students about courses. Many students pick courses they think they are interested in without understanding what the course actually entails - make introductory videos and highlight the key modules of the courses offered

  • Student facilities on campus - What facilities does your institution have to offer? What sets you above the rest?

  • Accommodation -  Showcase your on-campus accommodation to students traveling from far locations without them having to be on site.

  • Sports - Highlight the sports teams and the camaraderie between them, the facilities and events that your institution offers to entice future students.

  • Accessibility – What supports are in place for disabled students and students in need? 

  • Funding

  • Societies and Clubs – Showcase clubs to peak students interest and show them what else is available to them outside of the lecture hall

  • International Opportunities – Film places students have previously gone, student interviews abroad showcasing the opportunities your school offers

  • Placement Opportunities - Display the range of placement offers your institution offers to prospective students

Students can spot bland, corporate-type, college promos at 100 paces.  Authenticity and storytelling are key. Focus on the student experience, rather than a sales pitch on behalf of your college – what will life actually be like for them if they come to your institution? Students (especially undergrads) often have no idea about what college is actually like compared to secondary school, and it can be difficult to find this kind of information. Show them with video what their experience could be! What will campus life be like for your students? Give them virtual campus tours showcasing labs, lecture halls, seminar rooms, locker rooms, parking, accommodation, etc

Answer the questions that they most often ask – engage with prospective students - run a survey or poll on your social media accounts and then create videos to address the most comment topics they are interested in. This makes students feel heard and more at ease.

3. The Impact of The Student Voice

88% of users trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (source www.bigcommerce.com/blog/customer-testimonials). Peers can be extremely influential towards the student’s college choice. These days most information about campus culture and what college is actually like for students is passed from word of mouth between friends and relatives. This kind of personal sharing of experiences is extremely valuable to prospective students.

At the end of the day, students want to hear from other students. It provides them with genuine accounts from real people their own age they feel they can trust and understand, rather than scripted pieces from lecturers and staff – it resonates with them. Capturing the student's own advice and stories is therefore incredibly important and persuasive.  Using student’s own stories has a greater emotional appeal for the viewer – conveying their curiosity, fears, enjoyment, and pride at their college experience can be far more convincing than endless course brochures!

Harnessing the voice of your Alumni is another powerful way to convey the benefit of studying at your college – hearing first hand their college experience and how it has furthered their career is exactly the kind of proof points that today's prospective students want to hear.  Every college has an enormous repository of these stories in the 1000s of current or former students so it would be a shame to let this great resource go to waste.

4. Where & When to Share Video

Knowing when to post on each social media site is important to make sure your content rises above the noise and actually gets through to your audience. 

This article by the Sprout Social highlights the best times to post on today's most popular social media apps;


5. Where VideoSherpa Comes In...

For Higher Education institutions, bringing video production in-house makes complete sense, giving you the ability to create as much content as you need, exactly when you need it.

VideoSherpa provides you with a step-by-step guided process showing you how to film and edit your videos, making sure you are able to create professional-quality videos.

The Digital Asset library allows you to save and reuse the clips that you film, letting you have total control over your content. This feature, along with the duplication tool allows you to easily make variations of a video for different audiences.

With Video Sherpa you can control your user-generated content with the role of admin, allowing staff and students to film and edit content that has to be approved by you before publishing.

Click here to watch our webinar - How to create videos for higher education marketing