Colleges To Invest In Websites, Social And Email In Next Few Years: Study Finds

Email is the most effective communications medium for higher education institutions trying to engage students and/or parents — 42% say so, according to The Role of Digital Transformation in Student Engagement, a study by Mongoose. 

But other tools will be getting just as much — or more investment over the next two to three years: 

  • Website — 43% 
  • Social media — 41%
  • Student engagement software — 40%
  • Email — 40% 

One promising channel is SMS. 

“With frequent texting, we could continue to build that relationship and check in with the new class more often and in a more direct way than through email, which often slips through the cracks,” says Cassie Cunningham, Assistant Director of Admissions at The University of Akron in Ohio.

The problem with email is the difficulty of standing out in a crowded inbox, Cunningham states.

Another challenge is getting candidates who choose another school to reveal their reasons: Some students will share that in texts, but “I’m doubtful they would disclose so much information via email,” Cunningham adds. 

This is happening as 68% of schools expect to increase their use of digital for building relationships with prospective students over the next five years. Bus schools often have trouble acquiring the tools they need, for these reasons: 

  • The university prioritizes budget considerations without understanding the tool's role — 37%
  • Difficulty communicating/quantifying the benefits and/or ROI — 36%
  • The university’s desire for a single-source, “one-size-fits-all solution” even if they need something more specialized — 36%
  • Staff training and adoption issues — 35%

“It can be challenging when the person who will ultimately use the digital tool doesn't have a seat at the table in prioritizing budget,” explains Mike Kochczynski, client engagement manager at Mongoose. “They are the ones who can identify what methods and features are most effective.”

Mongoose collaborated with studioID to survey 150 higher education leaders in the first quarter of 2022. 


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