Mobile websites… student recruitment marketing not a priority?

Mobile websites: marketing for student recruitment not yet a strong feature

Since the 2010 Noel-Levitz E-Expectations survey came out not long ago, more than a few people seem surprised by two points: the high level of interest on the part of potential students in learning what academic programs are offered and the high number (about 23%) who said they were visiting higher education websites from mobile phones.

That’s the new and growing reality: more people are using mobile devices to access websites. And the rate of use will increase as more “mobile friendly” sites are built. 

Interest in academic programs shouldn’t be a surprise either. You can’t expect possible new students of any age to be interested in your school if you don’t offer the academic program(s) that interest them. For many new visitors, their most important first task at your site is to find that program list.

“Academics” on the Mobile Home Page

Getting quickly to a list of academic programs isn’t always easy from the home page on traditional websites. This week I decided to see how easy it was from the home (or entry) page on mobile sites. Nothing “scientific” about this. I looked at 7 universities available on the MobileAwesomeness site for an initial sample and then added more that were on the first page of a Google search for “university mobile websites.”

The result: you can’t get direct from the home page to something like “academic programs” from most of these sites. Navigation itself is simple: you scan a group of icons (sometimes) or a list of words (most often) and start to navigate the site. See for yourself when you visit the sites listed here.

Academics from the Mobile Home Page (or an immediately available “menu” from the home page)

· College of Charleston at “Academic” is 2nd of 8 primary links.

· University of Evansville at “Areas of Study” is 4th of 9 links.

· University of Chicago at “Academics” is 3rd of 13 menu links. 

No “Academics” or “Academic Programs” Link for the Mobile Home Page

· Colgate University at missing from 12 topics.

· Duke University at not with 11 links.

· Pittsburgh State University at not among 8 links.

· Texas A&M University at not with 7 topics.

· University of Alabama at not one of 11 topics.

· University of Southern California at not one of 9 topics.

· University of Texas Austin at not with 11 links.

· University of Texas Dallas at not among 5 topics.

Notes: Mobile for Student Recruitment


When you read the topics that are included on these home pages, one natural conclusion is that the highlighted content areas are done primarily for internal use or for other people who are already “friends” of the university. The “marketing” element, especially as it applies to student recruitment, isn’t yet strong.

That’s easy to change. Adding a prominent link to “Academics” or “Academic Programs” would fit easily enough on most of these sites. Right now there isn’t much pressure to do that. If mobile devices continue to grow in importance as access tools to higher education websites, that’s likely to change.

Get ahead of your competition. Plan to add a link to a list of “Academic Programs” on your mobile home page soon. 

Mobile Marketing Presentation on SlideShare

The eduWeb2010 version of my mobile marketing workshop, “Mobile in the Marketing Mix: Crafting a New Communications Strategy,” is online now at SlideShare.

Mobile Marketing with the American Marketing Association: September 22

Register for “Getting to the Core of of Social Media and Mobile Marketing for Higher Ed Institutions” virtual event.

That’s all for now 

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