The Top 5 Most Popular CUnet Blog Topics of 2012
2012 ended this week, and while many people are making resolutions for the new year ahead, we thought we would take a moment and look back at the last year. The CUnet blog was a popular spot this year, with our readership growing by over 95 percent since December 2011, and while we think all of our blog posts are pretty great (shameless self promotion… check!), there were a few topics that seemed to be of particular interest to our readers. So, we’ve run the numbers and sliced the data to compile the top five most popular topics on the CUnet blog for 2012. Without further ado, here’s how it all shook out:
Search Engine Optimization
In one of our very first posts of 2012, (SEO in 2012: The Top 11 Things You Need to Know), we predicted some big changes to SEO, with the biggest change being that mobile surfing could overtake desktop surfing in the near future. And as the year progressed, we definitely saw things move in that direction. For the first time in years, desktop web search declined, according to the Macquarie Group in September, and the increase in mobile search seems to be the biggest reason for this decline. Our SEO post also included hot topics such as more localization to search inquiries, search engines become smarter at determining your intent when making a query (we saw Google actually update their algorithms late in 2012), and an increase in rich snippets (which help with your search rankings).
Mobile campaigns became a big part of CUnet’s marketing offerings for its clients in 2012, and they are proving to be a highly successful marketing channel. As we noted in our mobile case study results post, inquiries from our mobile campaigns have resulted in a cost-per-enrollment (CPE) of up to 30 percent lower than those from other inquiry generation channels. Early in the year we posted our 2012 mobile marketing trends where we predicted that 50 percent of all cell phone users in the U.S. would own a smart phone (in March 2012, that statistic was confirmed), and that sales of tablets would increase as competition grew and prices decreased. With more and more people accessing the Internet on mobile devices rather than their PCs, it soon became clear that building mobile-friendly sites would offer a better user experience for our clients’ potential students. However, as we noted in the post Decloaking the Google WAP Mobile Universe many mobile users still own feature phones, so not all of a school’s mobile marketing efforts should be targeted to smart phone users. Targeting both smart phone users and feature phone users is important in making sure you are making the most of your mobile campaigns.
You may still be groaning over Facebook’s transition to Timeline, but we hope CUnet’s Social Media Strategist Jeff Berg’s handy guides – Five Things You Must Know About The New Facebook Brand Timelines and OH NOES! A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Page Ready for Facebook’s Timelines! – helped ease you into the new profile layouts. But Jeff’s expertise doesn’t end with making your Facebook pages look pretty. In the post Measuring Success in Social Media Campaigns, he also provides valuable insight into how you can (and why you should) track the ROI and overall success of your social media campaigns.
2012 was a very busy but successful year for CUnet at several different events and conferences, including Affiliate Summit West, LeadsCon, APSCU, and NAGAP. Some of the most exciting highlights include presentations about the importance of compliance delivered by CUnet’s Jeff Herz at LeadsCon West [LeadsCon 2012: Recapping the Highlights], Akeel Haider’s participation in the Mobile Lead Generation panel at LeadsCon East, and the unveiling of our Inquiry IQ service at APSCU. We also attended the NAGAP conference in Austin, TX along with our sister company Petersons, and discovered that many traditional schools are interested in utilizing marketing techniques used by many of our for-profit clients – a sign that more schools are realizing the importance of using digital media to attract and retain more students.
In our post, The Seven Most Important Secrets of Paid Search Marketing, we noted that higher education is the fourth largest industry in terms of Google Adword spend. At a time when transparency and compliance are huge concerns for our clients, more schools are turning towards paid search and away from affiliate-generated inquiries. Back in January 2012 our Paid Search Strategist Chelsea Eaton predicted an increase in paid search spend, and we found that to be true as the year unfolded. Clients who have been increasing their paid search spend have noticed decreases in their cost-per-starts, and some have even said that while they understand volume may decrease, they are interested in putting more money into paid search and cutting back on leads from third-party affiliates. In Chelsea’s follow-up post (Paid Search Still Getting Top Dollar From Schools), she highlights some positive feedback our clients have provided us on the quality of our paid search inquiries, and points to the growth of paid search as a successful, profitable marketing channel.
So there you have it. 2012 was a pretty exciting year, and we saw some really interesting things happen in higher education marketing. We’re looking forward to see what 2013 has in store for us! What do you think were the biggest higher education trends in 2012?
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 at 2:46 pm and is filed under 2012 Marketing Predictions, CUnet, Inquiry Management, Mobile, Paid Search Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.