Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… May 2022

May… Admissions folk everywhere in the U.S. are tallying freshman enrollment deposits after the proverbial May 1 deadline. And at most colleges and universities, they will continue working to fill the places not yet taken for the next couple of months. To everyone who labors on for September students, bon chance.

Notable Twitter Quote: “Where are the college presidents who are telling their CMO that it’s actually their strategy to have a local or regional brand? From what I’m hearing, literally everyone is demanding a national brand. The mindshare doesn’t exist for 1000+ brands in one industry.” Liz Gross, CEO at Campus Sonar.

The eduWeb Summit conference (July 26-28, Philadelphia) is a “conference like no other.” Check the video and 11 featured faculty at the faculty page. Early registration discounts until May 22.

Janus Boye is holding a new Higher Education Connect conference in Manchester, U.K. this September 27-28. Janus creates the best organized, friendliest conferences I’ve had the pleasure of attending. “Sign up to receive one single email when the draft program is ready.”

Terry Flannery’s online master course started April 25: “How to Market a University with Terry Flannery.” Content includes contributions from 15 higher education marketers, including yours truly. Since the start, 227 marketers from 180 schools have registered. Review the content and contributors and register here. Use my discount code, BJFAM, for a $20 discount on individual registrations and a $200 discount for institutional registrations.

How to increase website recruitment strength? Keep potential students smiling after their first visit with rapid completion of the tasks that brought them to your site. Gerry McGovern’s Top Task webinar series continues on May 24. Register for “Top Tasks Overview.”

Join 890 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Check that latest post: “Top Task Research: Notes & Adaptations from a Researcher.” 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 May marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: “The Future of the Metaverse”

A cautionary quote from Jane Lacher: “If brands paper the metaverse with ads, they’ll have blown it.”

Tom Fishburne: “The ad formats, brand experiences, and social commerce, are being worked out quicker than the value proposition for actual people.”

Approach a new world with confidence and caution at “The Future of the Metaverse.”
Social Media Marketing: The Folly of Chasing Vanity Metrics

What can you do to earn more from your social media marketing investment?

Spend less time on “a never-ending hamster wheel of content creation” in search of higher brand recognition among audiences with little real interest in your university. Focus social media time instead on engaging with a smaller number of people “who already have sort of relationship with your campus.”

That’s the wise advice from Liz Gross at Campus Sonar. Paying more attention to already engaged audiences will differentiate your social media marketing from most other colleges and universities.

More on how to reap marketing rewards and “Build a Conversational Flywheel” at “To Differentiate Your Brand, Act Differently.”
Market Share: Check Your Market Share by State from 2010 to 2020

How has your enrollment share changed compared to total enrollment in your state? Jon Boeckenstedt once again has assembled the data, with suitable caveats, to let you compare your school with others in your state from 2010 to 2020.

You can sort the data by type of institution (private, public, for-profit), degree types, race, and sex.

See how your market share has changed (or not) at “Enrollment and Market Share.”
Meta Descriptions: Your First Impression from a Web Search

Imagine potential students searching for accounting degrees in your state: “accounting degrees in (name of state). After you scroll through the ads first served, check the brief meta descriptions that Google presents after the heading for your site. That’s your chance to make a first impression. If you don’t create one, Google will pull from the first words on your site.

Make sure the search result sets your program apart from other results:

  • Good: “The accounting program is led by CPAs with nearly 30 years of practical accounting and tax experience”
  • Good: “You’ll find our graduates in nearly every Fortune 500 company”
  • Not so good: “The Accounting major provides the student with a foundation to pursue a career in accounting”

Increase the marketing impact of your meta descriptions with 7 tips from HubSpot’s “How to Write Meta Descriptions.”
Website Design: 7 Trends for 2022

If you’re thinking of new home page designs this year, be sure to visit the TerminalFour collection of 7 website home pages featuring what are described as sites built around “Playfulness, bold fonts, and retro appreciation.”

Two examples are from university sites. Any can be adapted for higher education. Most are guaranteed to differentiate your home page from others in higher education.

See “7 Website Design Trends for 2022.”
Google Analytics: The Transition to July 1, 2023

Google analytics as we’ve known it for years (Universal Analytics) will end July 1, 2023. Before then you’ll want to begin a move to the new Google Analytics 4 that is available now. Google promises access to data from the current version for “at least” 6 months after the current system is discontinued.

Marketers, once they master GA4, will be pleased with the new capabilities.

At least two higher education agencies have prepared initial guides to the change taking place. Read both as you move forward, noting that, as one agency recommends, the best time to start the change is now. Run Google Analytics 4 together with University Analytics as you learn the new system.

Of course, stay in direct touch with Google: “Universal Analytics will be going away.”
Higher Education Peers: A President’s Selection Story

How does a college or university identify a “peer group” of institutions? How many are selected? It varies, for sure.

A new president at Hofstra University, Susan Poser, describes the attempt at a data-based selection at her school. In past efforts she describes a process based on “whom we thought we looked like, whom we wanted to look like, and whom we wanted others to think we look like.”

Poser describes in detail a primarily but not exclusively data-based process that took an initial group of 50 schools to fewer than 10. She notes that some peer lists are far larger than others. Harvard lists only 3 peers (Princeton, Stanford, Yale) while Bowdoin selected 98 schools, including the entire Ivy League and some large universities. Clearly, criteria differ from one place to another.

More on peer selection at “How a College Decides Who Its Peers Are.”
Saving the Environment: Website Carbon Calculator

Does your campus have a plan to reduce negative environmental impact?

If yes, consider comparing the carbon use impact of your website. Start with your home page URL to get a measure of how “dirty” it is compared to “other sites tested.” Then scroll to the bottom of the page and follow the link to “17 Ways to Make Your Website More Energy Efficient.”

The cleanest website I’ve tested so far: Princeton is only dirtier than 53 percent of tested sites. Yale is only 57percent. Harvard, on the other hand, comes in at 86 percent and Cornell at 95 percent.

Start your carbon score report at “Website Carbon Calculator.”
Most Popular in March Newsletter: Indoor Drone Flight at University of Sterling

Here’s a drone video that you likely have not seen before: An indoor drone flight at University of Sterling that includes real people doing what real people do on campus.

Just 1:30 long as you zip through the library, the swimming pool, a cafeteria and more at “Insane Drone Fly-Through Tour.”

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