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Mobile websites key to attracting new students

Business schools that don’t have a mobile website are missing out on new students according to the ninth round of the GenerationWeb study. In 2015, 61% of students in the study use their smartphone as their main device to go on line compared with just 5% in 2010; almost 30% use their smartphone to take a first look at a prospective business school. 

When prospective students search on their smartphones they are most likely to be looking for course details, application deadlines and fee information.  This year’s GenerationWeb study, conducted by CarringtonCrisp with EFMD, covered 41 business school websites around the world and took views from more than 500 students across 49 nationalities.

Andrew Crisp, author of the report, commented ‘The rise of social tools and media doesn’t mean the traditional school website is dead.  However, making an impact is becoming more difficult and it is clear that the top school websites in this year’s study are working hard on design and increasingly thinking about audience and content to get their message across.”

Smartphone usage is often led by social media and apps, and prospective business students are no exception; more than 90% use Facebook, over 60% use LinkedIn, half have a Google+ account, 74% use What’s App, 69% are on Instagram, 64% on Snapchat and 54% are signed up to Twitter.  Just over 40% of business students are searching for information about business schools on social networks.

Schools wanting an effective website still need to think about the basics.  The report finds a clear link between site speed, ease of navigation and quality of search with the overall impression a site gives about a business school. When visiting a school website, students want quick access to the 4Cs - courses, costs, careers and campus experience.  Content should be authentic rather than marketing-speak with use of stories from students and alumni to get across key messages.

The potential impact of a site is demonstrated when students are asked whether having seen a site in the study they would have considered applying to that school – the best school has a positive response of over +60%, while the poorest performer is at almost -40%.  The top school in this year’s study was Regent’s University, London (www.regents.ac.uk)

A copy of the GenerationWeb report can be purchased from the CarringtonCrisp website for £350.

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