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Recruiting Intelligence

Ben Waxman & Carrie Bishop

Short Form Video Players Set For a Showdown

When it comes to marketing, content is king – but distribution is queen and the right channel matters. Smart marketers know to go where their target student audience lives, learns, and connects online. 

With recruitment travel off the table for 2020, it's time to get creative in how you reach (attract) and convert student leads. Up-leveling your digital efforts will be essential as you plan for your Spring and Fall 2021 cohorts. Your challenge: translating those engaging IRL recruitment experiences, think on-campus tours, student fairs, sample lectures and the like, from people to pixels

Luckily, your Gen Z prospects have a particular penchant for a certain type of  content that lends itself very well to the digital reproduction of in-person experience: video.

According to Think with Google, 71% of Gen Z teens spend 3+ hours per day watching videos online. Competition for eyeballs is fierce, to say the least, especially in the newly crowded short form video arena. TikTok is the it-app. Instagram wants its Reels to be the vanguard of viral video tomorrow. Or, wait, will it be YouTube’s Shorts? Or Bytes? Knowing which content belongs where is key to brand awareness and conversion. 

We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do know a few things for sure:

  • Online video consumption is incredibly popular—232 million digital video viewers just in the U.S., in fact. And internationally? Consumption of video in China, many Middle Eastern countries and in South Africa, for example, are off the charts. as compared to other digital channels.
  • Video sharing is widely used not only to entertain, but to educate and inform. Several institutions that hopped on the short-form video bandwagon early are already using social platforms to engage their prospects with an authentic, #nofilter look at campus life. 
  • Considering your domestic recruitment channels, digital video penetration in the U.S. is projected to reach almost 84% in 2021, according to Statista.

We also know that the student recruitment and enrollment marketing rules have changed as of 2020. So, of course, we wrote an insightful ebook full of perspective and recommendations. The downloads have been pretty steady since we launched it a couple weeks ago. If you are not among them, click here.

There is no question that video is the future, but predicting where that video will live is still uncertain. Will TikTok users quickly adopt Instagram Reels? Maybe. Where should you invest your ad dollars? That’s a larger discussion. 

Read on for our perspective on each of these video-sharing platforms to help you weigh your options. 

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Can Boot Camps Go to University?

Thinking about tech boot camps as a new revenue stream? We are.

If you've not already read last weeks post about Full On Armchair Recruiting with clear and supported guidance on what comes next for student enrollment, student experience and student services, well, we highly recommend it ; -)  We've received a fair number of emails from your peers who found the advice highly valuable as they make plans for fall 2020 and beyond.

Here's the thing: given anticipated and imminent enrollment drops, new revenue sources are going to be really important.

With all the changes happening now and coming down the pike for academia, we want to continue to look forward and point the way for how your institution demonstrates its value and hopefully finds new revenue sources. Turns out, in this environment, thinking about new revenue streams has suddenly taken on a fevered pitch. That's a good thing. We LOVE innovation.

You and your colleagues have likely talked about the quick-hit education providers cropping up in the form of coding boot camps. We’ve been keeping an eye on these burgeoning businesses ourselves. After all, they’ve been sprouting like weeds over the past eight or so years.

Their aim is to teach practical skills to nontraditional students looking to enter or change careers or move up the professional ladder. Courses tend to use project-based learning to cover topics like full-stack web development, digital marketing, data analytics, UX/UI design, cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, blockchain and more.

Universities have seen this as a threat to their engineering and IT offerings. But are they truly threats?

Within the past few months, Michigan State University, George Washington University and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies each announced their own tech boot camp (or fintech) programs. There are others taking this direct competitive approach.

The trick for many universities is that their infrastructure is not necessarily set up to provide continuous, short-run programs. One challenge for boot camps is that their administrative infrastructure is slim and stuggles to support scaled growth. They also struggle with credibility. Will their certificates have value for the graduates over time?

Can you see where we’re going with this?

There’s an opportunity for a symbiotic relationship that can benefit students, local economies and your respective programs. Enrollment marketing, take note! Read on.

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