Blog / 4 Trends and Takeaways from eduWeb Digital Summit Topics  

4 Trends and Takeaways from eduWeb Digital Summit

Like any profession, higher education faces a unique set of challenges. As the eduWeb team and I looked at the trends we saw in our own places of work—we were excited about the opportunity to hear from a group of talented individuals at this year’s eduWeb Digital Summit in Colorado.

As the conference came to a close in early August, it was my job as chairperson to reflect on the conference, as well as the conversations and trends that emerged.
 

eduWeb Summit Top Bio Words final

 
I thought it would be great to take a bit of a deeper dive into some of the presentations that won “Best of Track” at this year’s conference. Their topics aligned with some of the hottest talking points from throughout the conference.
 

1. Influence Matters

Influence and the value of influencers are hot topics across social media these days. Understanding your audience, however, has always been an important topic in marketing, and especially in higher education.

That’s why when Jon McBride of Brigham Young University discussed “Identifying, Approaching and Cultivating Digital Influencers,” he speaks to the value of identifying the students who can best represent a university in the digital space.

I found myself going back to my own experiences running student-created video contests at Wilkes University, where I experienced firsthand the value of student-created videos over our marketing department. Influence certainly matters. The students on a campus truly are the rawest and most influential voices, and cannot be ignored.

But on top of identifying student influencers, the efforts must be put into place to ACTIVATE them. It’s not enough to know who matter.  We must, as universities, take the time to work with these individuals to give them the tools they need to succeed in telling their story as it relates to our story as a university!

As students return for the 2016/2017 school year, here’s hoping that universities take heed of the value of influence.
 

2. Email is Still an Important Communication Tool

Students are still using email. It’s often debated, but according to Ruffalo-Noel Levitz’s 2016 report, over 77% of students say that email is their top choice to receive information!

But students demand high quality emails. They aren’t looking to be hit over the head with information over and over again.

John Thies of Email on Acid discussed 5 Ways To Improve Email Campaigns and shared a few key takeaways that caught my attention:

  • Personalization increased email opens by 26%
  • 50% of all emails are opened on a mobile device (but we all know mobile is important, right?)
  • 43% of users view email without downloading or turning on images
  • And something for all you emoji fans—brands using emojis in their subject lines saw a 45% increase in unique open rates

 

emojis eduWeb Digital Summit

 

3. It’s Not Just About Good Design, It’s About Getting It Done Right!

In an age when social media makes the news on a daily basis, your institution’s webpage is still the focal point of the student search process! According to the E-Expectations Report in 2015, 80% of students are influenced by a university or college’s website, compared to 54% who say they were influenced by Facebook.

Currently, universities are trying to keep pace with Google’s ever-changing rules to remain a top search result, meanwhile finding ways to improve the overall experience they offer their visitors.

Having experienced two website redesigns in my higher education career, I know that this can be a daunting task. With today’s consumers demanding a mobile friendly experience—that first impression when you launch your redesign is everything!

Mark Greenfield of the University of Buffalo shared with attendees how to get a “Web Redesign Done Right—The First Time” in his presentation, providing some fantastic insights on how to keep one’s project on track, and what to do once you’ve launched.
 

4. Act Strategically by Putting More Focus on Data That Matters

Higher Education is often “behind the bar industry-wise,” I’m told. It’s not an unfair statement.

There’s a bureaucratic nature in higher education that has, on more than one occasion, provided an obstacle to the flow of a project. Ask anyone in higher education and they’ll tell you this is true. This is where data can be helpful.

Higher education marketers crave data. Good data allows us to be more strategic and often assists us in obtaining the resources we need!

Thinking strategically can be a challenge for those with limited time, money, and resources, but data can efficiently and effectively provide us with the insights we need to make educated decisions.

Long-time eduWeb attendee Eric Hodgson spoke to this point in his presentation (“Finding What You Are Looking For – Analytic Strategy”).
 

strategic planning cycle

 
In particular, his slide featuring The Strategic Planning Cycle (credit to Management Guru) stood out as a valuable resource regardless of whether one works for a non-profit or not.

By focusing your time on tangible and measurable results, higher education marketers will be more effective in delivering value and showcasing the value of their digital efforts.
 

Topics:
WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 725 [name] => Digital Marketing and Strategy [slug] => digital-marketing-strategy [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 726 [taxonomy] => roles [description] => Make an impact with your brand story by gaining a deep understanding of your audiences and using intelligent social analytics to guide strategic marketing decisions. [parent] => 0 [count] => 58 [filter] => raw [object_id] => 13571 )
Digital Marketing & Strategy
WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 730 [name] => Social Media Engagement Resources [slug] => social-media-engagement-resources [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 731 [taxonomy] => capabilities [description] => Articles about how social media engagement can help inspire and increase meaningful connections between your audience and your brand. [parent] => 0 [count] => 46 [filter] => raw [object_id] => 13571 )
Activation & Engagement
WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 733 [name] => Social Media News and Trends [slug] => social-media-news-trends [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 734 [taxonomy] => updates [description] => Get the scoop on social news and trends, plus expert analyses, advice, and hacks for joining the most important conversations. [parent] => 0 [count] => 134 [filter] => raw [object_id] => 13571 )
News & Trends

Subscribe to Zoomph's Newsletter

Top 15 Influencers on Twitter by Industry—February Recap

March 07, 2017

On Twitter alone, your brand now competes with 7,534 tweets each second, shrinking your opportunity to be discovered on a day-to-day basis. But a select number of brands have managed to carve out strong identities,… Read More

ZIndex: A Social Media Index for Staying Ahead of Industry Trends

March 04, 2017

It's impossible to win without knowing what you're up against. And in today's always-on, on-demand age, the race to get in front of our customers is especially vicious, making it ever-more important for us to… Read More

What Is Social Identity Data?

February 27, 2017

For starters, it’s a term that our team uses a lot. It’s what we’ve identified as the wave of the future, not by our own creativity, but by the witness of our fellow data geeks… Read More

How to Bring the “Custom” Back to Customer Experience Using Social Media

February 10, 2017

Across every industry, and in every space, there are countless companies jockeying for the same consumers. When it comes to researching products and services, buyers will often come across a number of companies with similar,… Read More

All Posts