Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… February 2023

February… Yield season is underway while many colleges and universities continue to solicit new applications. Whatever your recruitment stage, best wished for success as we head toward Spring.

Notable Twitter Quote: “Higher ed will never be an equitable system until it stops focusing on weeding people out of it and starts focusing on empowerment and knowledge.” Allison Turcio, AVP for enrollment and marketing, Siena College.

2023 eduWeb Summit: Dates for the upcoming conference are July 18-20 in Washington, D.C. Follow along as the content develops on the conference website. If you’d like to participate in planning or be a presenter, contact Shelley Wetzel:

Higher Education Connect 2023: Janus Boye’s first higher education conference last year in the U.K was a success. And he’s now planning the 2023 event. See the first 3 headline speakers and sign up for updates as the agenda develops at “Higher Education Connect 2023.”

Top Task Overview: Gerry McGovern continues his webinar review of the top task methodology to learn “what matters most” to people using your website on March 7. Check the agenda and register here.

Join 909 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Join us at

Follow along with 7,200+ people for my daily marketing updates on Twitter.

Forward this newsletter to a friend. Only email required here to subscribe for a personal copy.

And now, your marketing news and notes for February.
Cartoon of the Month: The “Definition of Marketing Insanity”

“The… instinct to change for the sake of change goes for every aspect of marketing, from logos to packaging to agencies.”

More from Tom Fishburne on controlling your marketing instincts at “Definition of Marketing Insanity.”
ChatGPT: A Content Editor’s Exploration

If you’re like me, ChatGPT burst upon your scene last month. Many admissions directors, we learned, could not tell the difference between essays written by real students and those done via ChatGPT. Was civilization, some wondered, about to collapse?

Ann Gynn at the Content Marketing Institute asked questions. And got answers that surprised her. The questions:

  • Are human writers better than bot writers?
  • Is ChatGPT copy from my (and others’) content?
  • Can ChatGPT explain topics better than Google?
  • Can ChatGPT write long-form content?
  • Should content marketers use ChatGPT?

Check Ann’s answers and her opinions at “How an Honest Talk With ChatGPT Surprised Even a Veteran Editor.”
Social Media Marketing: Best Times to Post

The folks at Terminal Four are updating a 2019 report on the best times to connect with people using social media based on recent research. Along with the update comes the caveat that there is no “silver bullet” for the best time for all audiences.

Included with “best times” for social media “in general” are specific times for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Check the variations at “The best and worst times for universities to post on social media.”
Advertising Online: Facebook Ads in 2023

New privacy requirements have limited the amount of personal information Facebook can provide in targeting audiences in ad campaigns. That is not a reason to abandon Facebook advertising.

Michael Stelzner at Social Media Examiner offers advice on how to best track ad results along with the warning to “Create Facebooks ads that don’t look like Facebook ads” and his suggestions on how to best do that.

Every campaign should identify 4 elements: (1) the “desired action” expected from the ad, (2) the “relevance” of the ad to your audience, (3) the “reason to act now,” and (4) the “transformation” that you are offering people who see the ad.

More on those 4 elements at “How to Get Facebook Ads Working for You in 2023.”
Advertising Online: Snapchat vs. TikTok

Carnegie presents us with a useful, easy-to-scan comparison of what advertisers can and can’t do when advertising on Snapchat and TikTok.

Comparisons include these areas:

  • Lead generation objective by age targeting
  • Geographic targeting
  • List targeting
  • Age targeting

Details for each are at “TikTok vs Snapchat: Which One to Use for Your Higher Ed Advertising Strategy?”
Search Engine Marketing: An Optimization Primer

Search engine success remains an important part of a successful online marketing strategy. Google criteria remain most important but note that about 40 percent of people age 18 to 24 are using Instagram or TikTok as their primary search tools.

The Higher Education Marketing Solutions agency has just published a new guide to achieving best SEO results, with an important reminder that you have to please the bots that Google uses it visit and report on your site as well as the humans searching for educational opportunities.

Pleased to see a reminder about the still neglected importance of website speed:

  • “Google prioritizes websites that load quickly, giving them an advantage in search engine rankings… pages that load within two seconds reach an average bounce rate of 9%, skyrocketing to 38% when a page loads within five seconds.” (My Link of the Week website ratings now include page speed.)

Compare your SEO efforts with the recommendations in “SEO for Enrollment Growth: 3 Ways to Elevate Your School’s Strategy in 2023.”
Higher Education & Public Opinion: “Breaking Free” from the “Iron Triangle”

Public opinion re higher education is not as favorable as it once was. Some have suggested that a brand campaign like the “Got Milk?” effort of the 1990s (often referred to as the greatest brand campaign ever created) is needed.

But a brand campaign by itself without changes in what ails higher education that are meaningful to the public is not likely to work. What change in needed most? Stephen Mintz, history professor at University of Texas at Austin, suggests 4 ways that better use of new technology can reduce costs, and improve outcomes and graduation rates:

  • “Large in-person lecture classes with low levels of student-faculty interaction could be supplemented or replaced with higher-quality synchronous, scaled online classes.”
  • “Technology can increase students’ access to the active learning pedagogies associated with deep, durable learning.”
  • “Technology can enhance learning support.”
  • “Technology can scale high-impact educational practices.”

Details on each performance improvement area at “Breaking Free from Higher Ed’s Iron Tringle.”
For-Profit Universities: Is the University of Phoenix Done?

In the 1990s the University of Phoenix revolutionized for-profit higher education and eventually, after it went “public” on the stock market, grew to 470,000 students by 2010. In 2021 enrollment had fallen to 78,600.

And now? Phoenix and the University of Arkansas are in discussion about a possible acquisition of the for-profit entity by the public flagship university. “Nothing imminent” reported by an Arkansas newspaper but both organizations confirm that they are discussing possibilities. An Arkansas spokesperson said “acquisition” was not the right word to use in describing the goal of a new relationship.

University of Arkansas first attempted a move to become a major player in online education in 2014. That effort was not successful.

More on continued transition in the for-profit higher education sector at “UA System-affiliated nonprofit looking at possible purchase of University of Phoenix.”
Most Popular in January Newsletter: “Safety is Risky” in 2023

Tom Fishburne’s last 2022 cartoon focused on the need for organizational change, the reluctance of most organizations to start change, and the dilemma that among CEOs, “85 percent say they don’t know where to start to make changes.”

Higher education is not immune… See more on “Safe is Risky.”

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