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
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
at http://m.cofc.edu: “Academic” is 2nd of 8 primary links. Collegeof Charleston
at www.evansville.edu/mobile/: “Areas of Study” is 4th of 9 links. Universityof Evansville
at www.uchicago.edu/m: “Academics” is 3rd of 13 menu links. Universityof Chicago
No “Academics” or “Academic Programs” Link for the
at http://mobile.colgate.edu: missing from 12 topics. Colgate University
at http://m.tamu.edu/: not with 11 links. Duke University
at http://m.pittstate.edu: not among 8 links. Pittsburgh State University
at http://m.tamu.edu/: not with 7 topics. Texas A&M University
at http://m.ua.edu/i: not one of 11 topics. Universityof Alabama
at http://mobile.usc.edu: not one of 9 topics. Universityof Southern California
at http://mobile.utexas.edu/: not with 11 links. Universityof Texas Austin
at www.utdallas.edu/mobile: not among 5 topics. Universityof Texas Dallas
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 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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