Nowadays, the general population is glowing; not because they are getting outside and absorbing some good ole vitamin D, but because they are buried in their phones. Their smartphone glow covers their faces as they read the news, like company social media pages, double-tap friends’ images, crush candies, binge the latest online show, and research their passions in life.
The fact of the matter is that everyone is constantly on their smartphones, and you need to learn how to connect with them. The first thing that colleges and universities should do to connect with their ideal applicant is to give them a mobile responsive website.
81% of all mobile phone owners use a smartphone (Source: ComScore)
Smartphone ownership has aggressively increased 3950% from 2005 to 2016 due to bettering technology and increased adoption from every generation. This statistic isn’t necessarily shocking or new, but it tells us how important it is to make sure your brand is as mobile-savvy as possible. This means that mobile integration needs to play a major role in your communication strategy starting now.
If you’re not ready to redesign and redevelop your website to be mobile first, you can create a mobile app. By developing an app for both internal and external communications, you’ll be able to better control the user’s experience and be able to directly communicate with potential applicants.
In the US, 98% of Millennials between the ages of 18-24 years old own a smartphone (Source: Nielsen)
Millennials in the US have seen and experienced the growth of the smartphone market and have adapted to the technology accordingly. However, not only do you need to ensure that your site is friendly for the Millennials, but the experience needs to also fit the needs of other generations. Beyond Millennials,
- 97% of 25-34 year olds own smartphone
- 96% of 35-44 year olds own a smartphone
- 89% of 45-54 year olds own a smartphone
This smartphone thing isn’t just for Millennials! If your audience includes adults looking to continue their education, then make sure you’re ready for all their mobile desires.
When you begin your push toward mobile, make sure to do internal research to determine who your ideal candidate is. Is it just 17-year olds looking for their next step in life? Or do you have a large percentage of adult learners looking to grow in their career? Utilize the data you have internally with the admissions department, and analyze your web traffic and social media channels for demographic, geographic and psychographic information. These data sources could change who you should be targeting.
Total smartphone consumption in the U.S. has nearly doubled from three years ago (source: ComScore)
As the time spent on the smartphones increases so has the demand for a better user experience. Just a few years back, many websites could be accessed on a smartphone but the user experience wasn’t that much different from the desktop version. For today’s user, that won’t pass! Here’s an example, imagine a 70’s windbreaker; functional, useful, but heinous. Do you want your university’s website to leave that impression on prospective students?
Not only does the look and feel of a website matter, but according to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing. In order to better their experience (and as a result, better your university’s reputation), you must make sure that your website is responsive for the different devices and operating systems your target audience uses.
Mobile media time in the U.S. has exceeded desktop, with mobile media time estimated to be 51% while desktop media time is estimated to be 42% (Source: FastGlobalMarketing)
This one makes it official. Beyond mobile ownership increasing and time spent on smartphones increasing, mobile use has surpassed desktop use. Students are no longer heading to the library, sitting down at a desk, and researching colleges and universities for hours on end. They are utilizing free time they have on planes, trains, or automobiles to find the information they need now. Making sure that they’re able to find and utilize your website, especially your information request and application pages, is key in bringing them from prospect to applicant.
Increase your applicant’s interest by adding features that allow students to virtually tour your campus through augmented reality or give them a realistic view of what it’s like to be a student using virtual reality headsets. You’ll show potential students that you’re able to meet them where they are while providing them with the information they need before submitting an application.
We get it, we need to go mobile.
The goal with going mobile isn’t just to tell users you have adapted to the smartphone, it’s to better their experience no matter where they’ve come from. The need to be mobile responsive isn’t just wanted anymore, it’s needed. It may seem like a lot to go from mobile friendly to completely a responsive design, but your ideal applicants aren’t just hoping for it, they’re expecting it.