Why Video Plays a Critical Role in Higher Ed Marketing

Colleges and universities are facing a serious issue: enrollment is dropping. In the U.S., there were 662,000 fewer American students in spring 2022 compared to the year prior. Why? Tuition is increasingly expensive, and nearly 60% of students doubt university is worth its price. Rather than make the investment, many high schoolers are considering alternative routes.

And it doesn’t help that the typical college demographic of young adults is shrinking. According to a study by Lightcast, over 70% of U.S. counties are seeing a dip in younger populations. To tackle this issue, colleges are spending more on their marketing than ever before.

But marketing to today’s students requires more than a bigger budget. Universities need a way to get, and keep, the attention of future students. They must cut through the digital noise, communicating their value quickly and clearly.

To do this, higher ed marketers can put their messages in an informative, engaging video. Videos offer a human touch to digital communications that often lack personality — making them perfect for standing out among the competition. Plus, they explain everything the viewer needs to know at a glance — from extracurriculars to tuition and beyond. In fact, 73% of consumers say they prefer to learn new information via videos.

Marketers need to leverage video throughout the student journey — even before their first day of class. From driving deeper engagement to increasing conversions, we’ll cover all the ways video can take higher ed marketing to the next level.

Tell Compelling Stories With Personalization

College is a huge investment. Today’s students may be more aware of their finances, but where they feel they’ll best fit also plays a huge role in their decision.

So how can you tap into those emotions? With video: a powerful storytelling tool.

The issue, though, is that today’s students are increasingly diverse — making it harder for marketers to send a message that resonates with every viewer.

  • 1 in 5 are at least 30 years old.
  • 25% are caring for a child.
  • 44% have parents who do not have a bachelor’s degree.

To reach every student, personalize your video content and create a story where your students are the star. Greet them by name to let them know the video was made just for them. Tailor key details to their unique situation — such as they’re estimated loan and what teachers they’ll likely be meeting.

The options are virtually endless. Take a look at the Personalized Video campaign the University of South Dakota launched for prospective students.

Imagine you’re a high school senior receiving this video. It makes it easy for you to imagine what campus life could be like. You’re receiving 1:1 communication before you’ve even confirmed your acceptance.

All in all, it’s a special moment that starts the relationship off right — and encourages students to take the next step in confirming their enrollment.

Results: Personalized Videos earn high marks. We’ve seen dynamic video campaigns result in 83% more engagement and 7x higher CTR.

Gaining Traction: Short-Form Video

Gen Z is entering college — and they’re bringing their love for all things digital with them, especially short-form videos. Studies show that 40% of Gen Z prefers short videos, like Reels or TikToks, when seeing brand ads on social platforms.

To speak your students’ language, then, put your message in a short video. Universities are already catching onto the trend by engaging prospective and current students on TikTok.

Case Study

Learn how to drive admission among Gen Z students

Louisiana State University, for example, has nearly 550,000 followers on the platform — and their videos often reach over 20,000 views. Whether it’s students lip-synching the hottest songs or videos that touch on the latest joke, the school does a great job of creating content younger generations enjoy.

Gather Insight on Future Students

The SAT and ACT have always been a critical part of college apps. Standardized testing became a challenge for schools to carry out, though, once the pandemic hit. Reports show only 43% of students had submitted SAT or ACT scores in 2021 in comparison to 77% the prior year.

While restrictions are now easing up, many schools are choosing not to bring back standardized testing. For fall of 2022, more than 1,800 schools did not require SAT or ACT scores — a record high in the industry.

It’s a sigh of relief for students, but another obstacle for higher ed marketers. Student recruiters often use SAT and ACT scores to collect contact information critical for enrollment marketing. Without this data, student acquisition strategies become a lot harder.

But there’s a solution. Marketers who lack first-party data are still able to gain insight about prospective customers with the latest video technology, which allows users to customize their video straight from the video player.

The video shows the viewer their personalized loan estimate based on the data they input.

In the higher ed space, this may look like:

  • A video calculator that generates an estimate of a prospective student’s tuition in real-time.
  • A video where current students enter their current credit to receive a new video showing what classes are still required.
  • An interactive video for students who need help with enrollment. They select where they need help in the process, and a new video is generated answering that question.

It’s a win-win situation: prospective students receive information relevant to their needs, while universities gain valuable first-party data for future campaigns. In the case of a video answering questions about student enrollment, the college can find out where there are barriers to the process.

Better Communication With Students

For universities to engage today’s students, video marketing is a must-have. They’re shorter and easier to understand than several paragraphs of text no student wants to read. They’re personal, adding a human touch to the student experience. Take whatever story you’re looking to tell, and put it in a video to engage today’s students on the apps and sites they’re always on.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As we touched on before, you can now let your students customize their very own video, but there’s so much more to Living Video technology. Make financial aid easy with interactive videos that allow students to self-serve on demand. Send a digital invitation to their graduation ceremony that they can accept or decline straight from the video. It’s all possible with the future of video.

Curious to try it out? Speak to one of our team members to start.

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