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Recap: Education Marketing Seminar at Google NY

Education Marketing, Google, News & Events
October 15, 2022
Mason Interactive

On Oct 13th, Mason Interactive welcomed colleges, K-12’s, and more, to Google’s NYC HQ.  We shared insights into changes in the Education industry since the pandemic, and talked about how schools can “future proof” against changing demographics.

Side note: It’s three years – to the day! – since we presented at the annual HighEdWed conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; we are thrilled to be back to hosting in-person events with industry leading brands and digital experts.

Even with the rise in important new platforms like TikTok, it is our perspective that the first marketing dollar should always go to Google. Google Search is where the search for a school begins, and it pays to be there, at the start of a prospective student’s journey.

Key Challenges & Observations

  1. Demographic Trends:
    Due to declining birth rates post 2008’s “Great Recession,” there are fewer students in market.
    • This decline is causing a looming “enrollment cliff.”  There is an expected 15% decline in college-going students over the 4-year period between 2025 and 2029.
  2. Changing Behavior:
    Students are looking at investing in themselves, and see education as a cost/benefit analysis.  They’re asking themselves “is the cost of this degree worth the money I’ll make from it?”  This is reflected in changing search patterns.
    • Specific Brand Searches are down.  People are not searching for specific schools as much as they were.
      • Traditional Schools: -3%
      • Community Schools: -7%
      • Career Educators: -11%
    • General Category Searches are flat/down.  Interest in specific degrees are flat/neutral.
      • Programs: +12%
      • Degrees: +13%
    • Searches that reflect a student’s interest in a positive Return on Investment are up.
  3. Students + Parents/Guardians are more ROI conscious than ever:
    • 78% of students say that their degree, short course or bootcamp will be the most important financial expenditure they’ll make this year
    • There is a high correlation between earnings and growth in search volume:
      • Ex. music production certificate vs. wealth management certification programs  – the first of those is seeing a smaller increase in volume than latter.
    • Students are looking for the certifications and short courses that are going to bring them the “biggest bang for their buck” not only in the questions that they are asking, but also in the subjects that they want to study.
    • Students still believe education is critical, with optimism for up-skilling and re-skilling. This is an opportunity for education leaders to drive strategies that focus on growing offerings in these areas and for students looking for these new learning opportunities to help them up-skill & re-skill.

Ways Your School Can Win

  • Be Early
    • The average student looks at only 3 schools.  If your school is not in that three-school list, your chances of enrolling them drop dramatically, because…
      • 75% of prospective students do not consider beyond their initial school & program list
  • Be Persuasive
    • You are competing with 2 other schools – get to the applicants before them. Speed matters.
    • Meet students where they are: flexible, part time, hybrid demands are here to stay
    • Match degree offerings to job and student demand > push to short course / micro-credentialing
    • As competition for student consideration increases, double down on brand awareness / upper funnel media
      • 77% of prospective degree and non-degree students agree that it is important for the school they select to have a strong national reputation
    • Add value during the admissions process
  • Set Goals
    • We have clients who are growing enrollments in this environment. 
    • The #1 thing these clients have in common, is a set of clearly-articulated, globally-shared goals. 
      • “More” is not a goal. 
      • “I want ‘R’ incremental enrollments, I want them from ‘X’ location, I need them by ‘Y’ date, and I can afford to pay ‘Z’ for them” is a goal.
    • Goal Setting:
      • Set a goal for incremental number of new students
      • Melt Rate: The Student journey is not linear. Supply valuable and reinforcing content based on where they are
      • Budget: Use seasonality data to your advantage

A Look Back + Look Forward – Quick Stats with Google:

  1. The decline in college enrollment is something higher education leaders have been expecting for some time.
    1. Even before the pandemic, enrollments were already on a downward trajectory and admissions professionals have long been aware of the enrollment cliff projected for 2025. 
    • Universities will need to be nimble and make sure their strategy is aligned with the ever-changing market
  1. 33% increase in students reporting that their graduation plans have changed:
    • There’s a 33% increase in students reporting that their graduation plans have changed, with a third of students reporting that they will be delaying their graduation, transferring to another school, or dropping out completely.
  1. 83% increase in current degree students reporting that they are spending more time digitally:
    • Google Search and YouTube are the most used applications among current and prospective students
    • 79% of students using YouTube use no other video platforms for supplemental learning, 10% use TikTok.
    • 58% of students watch YouTube daily (vs. 44% of general population)
    • 36% of students watch vlogs / influencer videos weekly (vs. 27% of general population)

If you’re not already a Mason client, book a consultation with our team and we’ll work on a tailored approach for your school, together.