Think size, speed, search, social and sex - to maximise digital connections with potential students

Women using virtual reality headset on report coverIt used to be reputation, a prospectus and an open day were the key to attracting students.  Then the school website came along, but no longer is it enough to have just a desktop version, now a mobile site is a necessity.  And then came along social media, and today it’s not just Facebook or LinkedIn, but any number of global or national social tools.  And if that wasn’t enough for business school marketers, men and women use many of these tools in different ways and some content is more important than others. 

The 2017 GenerationWeb study by CarringtonCrisp in association with EFMD found that women are nearly twice as likely to use social media to search for information on business schools compared to men.  The study found that 49% of female respondents used social networking sites to inform their decision on where to study compared to only 26% of male respondents.

Facebook is the most popular social media channel used by nearly all (95%) respondents, followed by Instagram and WhatsApp (both 83%). Whilst Facebook and WhatsApp were used by similar amounts of male and female respondents, far more women (89%) used Instagram than men (74%).

The study also found that 63% of respondents now use a smartphone as their primary device for going online, compared with just 4% in 2010.  On a smartphone, the most important content on a business school website is scholarship details, chosen by 68% of respondents with 54% looking for accommodation information, but on a desktop/laptop site, other than course details, the key content is rankings and fees.  On smartphones it appears that much of the information valued by students tends to be relevant further through the application process once they have decided on a shortlist of a couple of schools or perhaps even a preferred school.

And it’s not just content that delivers a positive web experience.  Site navigation on the top performing site in this year’s study was rated more than 50% higher than the poorest performing site, site search was 48% better between the best and worst sites and site speed was scored 39% better on the best site compared with the worst performer.


To order a copy of the GenerationWeb 2017 report or find out how to take part in the 2018 study, just visit the GenerationWeb page on our website.

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