Business Technology

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Disparities in digital investment in universities frustrate while Facebook remains top platform

Piero Tintori
Piero Tintori
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Large disparities in investment in digital by universities and colleges are proving frustrating for web, marketing, recruitment and leadership professionals.

According to the results of a TERMINALFOUR survey, over one quarter (26pc) of respondents are not satisfied with the funding of digital marketing activities at their institution.

Some 391 professionals from 333 higher education institutions across the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia and South Africa took part in the Global Higher Education Survey.

In terms of staffing levels, 41pc of those surveyed said their digital marketing team increased in size in the past 24 months while 8pc said it reduced in size. A further 46pc reported having the same numbers as they did two years ago.

Meanwhile, some 16pc of respondents said their budget had decreased in size (up 11pc annually), over one third (38pc) said their budget had stayed the same and 20pc stated operational budget had remained the same. 

While a number of these respondents said that they received additional funding for a once off project, only 26pc said that their digital marketing budget had actually increased.

"The challenge for many university web and digital marketing teams in relation to budget and funding is linking what they do directly to institutional performance," Piero Tintori, CEO and founder, TERMINALFOUR, said.

"The leadership in any university or college doesn’t want to hear you’re overworked; that you’re not availing of the latest web technologies or that the institution’s website looks stale and dated. This is your problem not their problem."

In other results from the survey, it was found that Facebook remains the number one social media platform for universities and colleges for driving conversion (77pc), receiving most engagement from students (62pc) and the biggest social media priority for the next 12 months (54pc).

"Facebook is dominating again.  The really interesting trend for me personally is the decline of Twitter over the past three years in terms of impact for higher education marketing teams," said Piero Tintori.  

"Let’s be honest, Twitter is a hugely successful platform; everyone is on it and everyone uses it.  What these results infer, perhaps, is that the quality of the information or the authority of Twitter is waning relative to driving action from prospective students."

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