COVID-19: If you think students have gone into lockdown on their future decisions, think again

What’s online student behaviour looked like in the last 7 days? Let’s take a look at the key facts and behaviour trends to help make informed decisions on campaigns. 

COVID-19 has created rare conditions and challenges for universities and colleges alike. With cancelled events such as UCAS fairs, open days, open evenings and headline sponsor events universities have been left with no choice but to adapt plans.

Crunch live and breathe managing student recruitment campaigns, so over the years we’ve seen plenty. But it has to be said, nothing quite like this.

This week we saw our friends in universities responding in all kinds of ways, from the halters and pausers to the push-throughers and adapters. In these uncertain times, there is pressure to adjust and react in real time. That’s where we can help.

Join us for a live webinar….

Before you read on, we’re hosting a live interactive webinar to talk you through all this in a nice and neat 15-minute session. Join us Wednesday 1st April at 11am, where our HE Client Services Director, Jess Hickman and Campaign Success Manager Adam Culley will stack you with real time trends and insights into students behaviours in a time of crisis.

Register Now: COVID-19: If you think students have gone into lockdown on future decisions, think again: 

With so much changing right now there’s no predicting how the 2020 cycle will end up. However, we can share some primary observations from social media usage and campaigns over the past week and the results are more positive than you might think!

It’s only been a week since a firm lockdown but those 7 days hold valuable information on how prospective students are behaving online and what their university research behaviours are showing across international and home campaigns.

To see the hard evidence and really understand “How are future students reacting to lockdown?” lets look at our sample campaign study.

To really understand what’s been going on over the last 7 days we need to look deep at the primary activity we’ve seen across our student recruitment campaigns. We have seen:

Engagement increase – students are perceptive to university messaging

Consistently across Facebook we’ve seen a significant increase in activity with campaigns seeing a 30% increase in clicks and click through rates in just one week. Keeping up your conversations with students online has never been more critical.

Students have been inspired – there’s been a peak in searches for key healthcare courses   

When it comes to Google we’ve seen some interesting breakthrough course searches. Over the past week the top course related keyword searches have been ‘midwifery’, ‘how to become a paramedic’ and ‘part time nursing degree’. It’s clear that students have been inspired by the amazing work healthcare teams are doing in the crisis. This is an opportunity for you to showcase your healthcare and medicine degrees to an engaged audience.

Conversions are still coming – students are looking for future certainty in an uncertain situation

Right now, conversions are key and despite the worldwide uncertainty, we’ve seen an increase in conversions over the past week. We’ve seen 50% increases in students viewing prospectuses and even more impressively, a whopping 64% increases in direct apply now clicks in some campaigns. Ensure you’re helping students make their future certain by running conversion campaigns with clear messaging that guides them through to the next step.  

Key Takeaways

Students are still very much online

Universities and colleges need to be agile to maximise on online alternatives to replace cancelled events and out-of-home takeover

Messaging is more important than ever, think reassurance and affirm the message with a longer lens for acquisition 2020/21

Mitigate the disruption and dodge the late scramble by getting prospect students to understand your brand then to act now

Clearing – normally we’re talking about pre-Clearing around this time. How Clearing will look this year is an unknown, but we must look ahead to acquisition by sowing the seeds now

Measure what matters, keep track of it. At a time when teams are fragmented and remote, visibility and accessibility of dashboard reporting has never been so evident. Keep your team connected with central point dashboards.

Don’t forget to sign-up to our live interactive webinar on Thursday 2nd April at 11am with our HE Client Services Director, Jess Hickman. Register Now COVID-19: If you think students have gone into lockdown on future decisions, think again.

We’ll have further insights into our current International and Home Campaigns coming so in the webinar so ensure you book your place now.

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