Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… December 2013

Higher Education Marketing News & Notes…

A special thanks to everyone who participated and shared ideas and experiences at conference and on-campus presentations throughout the year. Best wishes to everyone for the holiday season that is fast approaching.

The AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education celebrated a new high attendance record of over 1,000 people last month. Check five of my takeaway points from different sessions on my blog at and review and download a copy of my Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial at

My last conference workshop of 2013 wraps up multiple themes of the past year: “Speed, Simplicity, and Top Task Completion: 3 Critical Steps to Boost Online Enrollment.” Check the conference on marketing for online enrollments at 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for December.
Instagram Advertising: Targeting is Key

Thinking about adding Instagram to your online advertising mix? 

Instagram is rolling out an early series of ads or “sponsored” posts from brands that it considers “already great” Instagram members: Lexus, Ben and Jerry’s, Burberry, Starwood are included. Instagram will use data available on Facebook to help target the ads to people it thinks will want to see them. 

To start following this new online opportunity, visit 
NSSE Survey Results for 2013: Available Now

The National Survey of Student Engagement has always been one of my favorite indicators of what students think about the colleges and universities they enroll at.

One interesting results: both freshmen and senior students completing the survey and taking all their courses online rated the quality of interaction with faculty higher than students taking in-class courses. 

See if your school uses the survey. If the results are not made public, ferret out a copy and compare your school with the overall results. To start, you can download the 2013 report at 
Home Page Real Estate: Jakob Nielsen on How to Best Use It

Whether on mobile or a large screen, your home page real estate is where most people will start a visit to your website. How wisely are you using it?

In a new Alertbox, Jakob Nielsen reports that home page real estate use is worse now “than it was 12 years ago.” Why is that? From a review of 50 home pages Nielsen concluded that only 36 percent of the space was devoted to the most essential purpose: letting people navigate quickly from that page to complete the tasks that brought them to the website in the first place.

For more on what you can do to bring marketing strength to your home page visit the Alertbox 
Content Strategy: When Doing an Audit is Wasting Your Time

How can you argue against doing a content audit as part of a strategy to reduce content that is not needed on your website? When you have a very large website and do not have the time or financial resources to include every page in an audit.

Gerry McGovern proposes an alternative that one person on Twitter has called the “slash and burn” approach: remove all content on a public-facing website that is not needed for visitors to complete their top tasks. In one case, that reduced a 100,000 page website to just 3,000 pages. Within a year, traffic to the remaining pages passed traffic to the original site. And almost nobody within the organization complained about the missing pages.

Read more at 
Agile Marketing: A Manifesto and 3 Myths to Review

If you have not yet heard a presentation on “agile marketing” that is likely to change in 2014 as more marketing plans are adapted to survive and thrive in the rapidly evolving world of social media and mobile.

To get your team up to speed as quickly as possible, start with the 7 points in the Agile Marketing Manifesto at 

Continue on to read Scott Brinker on “Debunking 3 myths of agile marketing” at

Then have this discussion: how can we fit agile marketing into our brand strategy campaign?
Two Paths to Social Media Success: Drake University, Loyola University Chicago

Take time out to compare your social media marketing plan with the steps used at Drake and Loyola universities to get out a consistent message that is integrated with the overall university communication plan.

What caught my attention: no magic solutions here, just consistent attention to detail in messaging and to learning what works best. See the two university stories at 

Marketing Online: Increasing Your YouTube Impact

Video in general and YouTube in particular will become increasingly important in your online marketing mix in 2014 and beyond. 

As a first step in preparing for that, use specialized YouTube analytics to understand what is happening now: who visits, which of your videos work best, what makes people become subscribers and more.

Start with the page on YouTube Analytics at 
Mobile Marketing in 2014: 6 Trends to Watch

Are 5 and 10 second video ads in your future? How will email continue to evolve?

Read more about anticipated changes in mobile advertising in 2014 as the sector continues to increase share of advertising revenue, with special attention to Facebook and Twitter. 
Regional Public Universities: Under Siege in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania regional public universities (14 in the PASSHE system) have been hammered the last few years by budget cuts and demographic change leading to declining enrollments. That is an unsavory recipe that is driving continued reductions in programs offered. 

Is there a way out? Or are there just too many universities for the demand? Review the problems and suggested solutions at 
Google Analytics: Learning Direct from Google

Whether you are new to Google Analytics or a veteran at reading the tea leaves you will likely find something of interest at the just updated Help Center at 

Whether or not formal certification of your GA knowledge is important to you, spend time at the Analytics Academy. While there is a small charge to certify your analytics mastery visiting the course materials before a test is free.
Most Popular Topic in November Newsletter: Top University Brands in Social Media

Visit the SocialBakers website at to track the top university brands in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, a mix that includes Harvard and Stanford universities as well as Full Sail University and University of Phoenix.
Conference Presentation in December and On-Campus Presentation Possibilities

December 9-11, San Diego: “Speed, Simplicity, and Top Task Completion: 3 Critical Website Steps to Boost Online Enrollment” at Effective Marketing for Online Enrollment. See the program 

Plan a custom presentation on your campus. Host a workshop on any of my conference presentation topics. Review the 2013 list at and contact me at or 248.766.6425.
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson, Ph.D. 
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC

Increase your online marketing success with these 5 services. Contact me for details at 

Expert Marketing Communications Website Reviews
Top Task Website Design Research with Gerry McGovern
Writing Right for the Web: Webinars, Conferences, and Campus Workshops
Competitive Website Reviews and Secret Shopping 
Search Engine Optimization Reviews 

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