Colleges and universities are under enormous pressure to do more with less. As college enrollment rates continue to slide across the United States, due in part to reduced birth rates and negative public perception of higher education, many higher education marketers are struggling to adapt. Add to this the fact that Generation Z users have extremely high expectations of digital experiences set by retail and social media giants like Amazon and Netflix, and it becomes clear why schools are falling behind in delivering personalized experiences that offer immediate value to the user. Higher education marketers simply can’t afford to overlook opportunities to improve upon their existing investments. This is especially true for smaller schools with smaller marketing budgets in which everyone is clamoring for the marketing team’s time and attention.
One of the most critical interactions prospective students have on a school’s website is searching for programs, majors, and courses of interest. So much of what happens next depends on whether or not a prospective student finds what they are searching for during this initial visit. With this in mind, we wondered whether most colleges and universities are invested enough in the quality of the search experience. In order to find out, we surveyed
higher education marketing professionals about their school’s search technology. We asked them about their perceptions with regard to the quality of search results, the search experience overall, the degree to which they had invested in improving search, and the extent to which search insights were being disseminated throughout their organizations.
Based on our research, we have found that there is a significant opportunity to increase conversion rates by improving prospective students’ initial search experience. Throughout this white paper, we will discuss the pros and cons of various approaches to site search and provide examples of best practices. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of a personalized site search experience, how to implement these changes, and what metrics to track in order to measure success.
- The aspects of search that most impact the user experience
- The benefits of a personalized search experience
- What metrics to watch to assess the effectiveness of site search
- The value of analyzing and disseminating search data analytics across your organization