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How universities can attract millennials using their online space

Since 2000, internet usage has grown by 936%. What began as a way for laboratories to exchange raw data, has become one of the main sources of information across the world. It is fair to say that the internet has drastically changed the way we access and demand information, so it is really no wonder that education recruitment experts are now investigating how millennials are using the internet during their decision making.

With so many reports flying around, it can be difficult to work out exactly what the right next step for your institution should be. To save you a job, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite stats and a few things that we think you should be doing to satisfy the online needs of prospective students.

Live chat functionality

QS’ latest survey identifies that university websites are now deemed as the essential tool for online research by millennials. Of course, with over 3 billion internet users worldwide this is no surprise. But, what is surprising is that 56% of the respondents within the QS survey struggle to find the information that they need from websites. Taking this into consideration, Higher Education providers are at risk of losing a large number of prospective students within the initial enquiry stage. How do you get around this? By utilising what you’ve already got of course.

Adding live chat functionality to your institution’s website helps satisfy students need for instant information and allows you to track which of your webpages questions are coming from, helping you identify where the gaps are on your institution’s website. Google recently identified that 61% of users will leave a mobile site if they don’t find what they are looking for immediately, with this in mind, adding instant live chat functionality to your website is a no-brainer!

Video content

84% of millennials watch at least one short-form video a day, you only need to scroll down your own social media feed to understand just how popular video content is. It’s a great way of showcasing the unique selling points of your institution and courses in an easy to digest way.

When it comes to online video, the good news is it’s now easier than ever to take advantage of; with cloud video delivery becoming increasingly intuitive and affordable, cutting–edge video technology is now firmly within the grasp of your institution.

Email automation

With over 75% of QS respondents identifying email as their preferred communication tool, it is important that online enquiry via this method is not to be ignored. Make sure that your email account is supervised at all times and if no one is in the office, make sure that you have appropriate automation in place.

66% of international prospective students expect an acknowledgement of online enquiries within 24 hours, therefore it is important that your automated messages are kept up to date and include the correct information to ensure peace of mind.

Social engagement

In a recent survey by Hobsons, they identified that the value of social channels and social messaging within the education decision making process is increasing. The most popular social channel is a bit more difficult to pinpoint, but what is clear, is that millennials are expecting information instantly, and on the channels they are familiar with.

The time between initial enquiry and enrolment can be significant, use your social channels to inform and engage with prospective students throughout the conversion period. This way you are able to engage with prospective students on multiple channels that they interact with everyday.

The reports are clear, prospective students need instant information on the channels that they want, when they want. At Gecko, we speak to thousands of students every year via our platforms, why not give us a call and see how we do it?