Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category
Frequently on the CUnet blog, we discuss the nitty gritty details of marketing in the education sector. Over the last year, we’ve kept you updated on new media usage in education, taken some deep looks into how analytics inform evidence-based business practices, and, hopefully, provided our readers with valuable insight into effective marketing strategies and tactics. That being said, 2012 was an absolutely great year for higher education advertising campaigns, so let’s take a look back and reflect on some of the visionary, entertaining and just plain cool campaigns that schools have produced over the last year.
10. The University of San Francisco
Produced by Hub Strategy, the University of San Francisco rolled out clever advertisements that graced the sides of bus shelters, billboards and even spread to online banner advertisements and print media early this year. Eschewing the traditional San Francisco imagery of the Golden Gate Bridge, the advertisements were tailored to speak to San Franciscans by providing witty, on-brand commentary and in-jokes about the school.
9. Ozark Technical Communication College
Ozarks Technical Community College, a school in Springfield, MO with an enrollment of 15,000 students, launched a local television campaign that plays to one of the school’s strengths by comparing their $3,300 annual tuition to the cost of large proprietary competitors like Bryan University and ITT Tech.
Attacking the price-point of a school may seem like a low blow, but marketing isn’t about being nice. Good campaigns are designed to find the pain points of an audience and craft a compelling narrative about your own brand. Another interesting point about this campaign is that it showcases the ability for small, local schools to exploit that close-to-home aspect of their character when competing with national brands. While the national brands do frequently do some tailoring of television ads for local markets, that tailoring is limited.
8. University of Bristol
Okay, yes, yes, I know. QR codes are kind of old news and, realistically, they do seem to be ignored by most consumers, but the University of Bristol’s QR-code billboard is an awesome idea. Instead of plopping an ugly, white and black, two-dimensional square on an existing advertisement, the school used the iconic imagery of the Clifton Suspension Bridge for its billboard, hiding the QR code within the bridge’s form. “It was important that whatever we did to get the message out there had to live up to the extremely high academic standard and overall world-class reputation of the university,” Bristol’s direct of communication strategy and marketing, David Alder, told The Drum. “Hence the rather clever use of QR code in the design creative and the use of the design out of doors, meaning that more people could actually interact with it and discover what the ad is trying to get across.”
7. American University
Originally created in 2010, American University’s WONK campaign was recognized with a CASE Circle of Excellence Award in 2012. The AU Wonk campaign is a integrated university-wide marketing campaign designed to promote American University’s brand objectives by strengthening the school’s academic and research reputation, enhance the quality and diversity of both undergraduate and graduate enrollment and improve engagement, support and advocacy among alumni. The school worked with SimpsonScarborough, a company that specializes in higher education brand strategy and market research, to conduct thousands of quantitative and qualitative interviews to form the underlying brand strategy and identify triggers and the campaign tone. In total, the school spent about $555,000 during the development and enactment of the campaign, which spanned social media websites, physical out-of-home advertising displays, a redesign of the school’s Welcome Center and on-campus events.
That total price may seem high, but initial results seem to indicate that it was well spent. American University reports that campus campaign awareness is extremely high (around 90 percent), the university’s website has seen a 35 percent increase in traffic and a 21 percent increase in page views, and the school’s admissions website has received an 88.9 percent increase in traffic. Fall applications for the school also increased by 25 percent.
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.
When I attended the CCST conference in October as a speaker, I received a number of questions from schools around SMS, or text messaging. Specifically, schools were interested in the compliance requirements for using text messaging to reach out to current or prospective students.
While we have not been using text messaging as tool in CUnet’s mobile marketing efforts for a while, I’ve realized that there are a lot of schools out there who are looking for some guidance around compliance and text messaging. So, I’ve provided a summary of these requirements below.
There are two main guidelines to follow when conducting a text messaging program of any sort. The first is what’s legally required by federal law and the FCC, and the second is what’s required by the wireless carriers.
- Must have the end user “Express Prior Consent” to be texted, and the ability to produce the record of consent when asked
- The user needs to know they are being charged for receiving text messages – hence the language “Standard message & data rates apply” is important to be shown clearly wherever the user is opting in, including on advertisements, websites and other places where the opt-in is happening
- The user needs to be able opt-out using the same way they opted in allowing no more than 10 days for the advertiser to stop messages
- If there will be an opt-out confirmation message (which is a chargeable text message), the user needs to know that upfront as well
- Because of the nature of the a text message, the FCC can and may consider a text message something that meets both the TCPA definition of a “call” and the CAN-SPAM act definition of an “e-mail” hence compliance with both is required
2. From a Wireless Carrier perspective and based on the Mobile Marketing Association Guidelines:
- The user needs to know what is the program they are being opted into (title/description)
- The user needs to know that “Standard Carrier Message & Data Rates Apply”
- The user needs to know how to opt-out (i.e. “text Stop to #”)
- The user needs to have an expectation for the frequency of messages he will receive
- The advertiser needs to maintain a log with timestamp for opt-ins and opt-outs to prove user subscription
- If the user opted in from the web, there needs to be a double opt-in process to verify handset ownership (user texts back “ok” to confirm)
- Help command information should be provided. This gives information about the specific SMS campaign when texted back to the originating short code; i.e. “for Help, text Help to (Short Code)”
- A URL or location where full terms and conditions can be accessed must be provided
- Customer support contact information must be provided
Do you have any feedback or suggestions? Please contact me or leave us a comment below.
If you’ve been following our mobile marketing case study posts, you know how a mobile pay-per-call campaign works, what types of schools can use these campaigns successfully, and that mobile can be a low-cost, high-converting inquiry source. But, if you’re still not fully convinced, you should head on over to our Case Studies/Whitepapers page and download the full case study for yourself! Now, you too can read firsthand these impressive results and get a better understanding of how mobile can work for you. And remember, if you have any questions or are interested in finding out how to start your own mobile campaigns, contact us today!
In our previous posts, we introduced you to our recent mobile pay-per-call case study, and unveiled the results of these highly successful campaigns. While it is clear from the results that mobile pay-per-call works, for many who have never used mobile marketing as a source of inquiry generation, there are a lot of questions around the process and best practices. So, we’re here to answer your burning questions!
How does a pay-per-call campaign work?
While not all pay-per-call campaigns will be exactly the same, here’s an overview of how the campaigns featured in the case study worked:
What is CUnet’s approach to the pay-per-call campaign?
CUnet’s Mobile Media Strategists create a customized plan for each school, comprised of only the mobile media products that will work best for the school based on their program offerings, target demographics, and the school’s ability to accept mobile data leads or inbound calls.
Technical and advertising execution are reviewed and approved by the school. This included items such as creative, interactive voice response (IVR) qualification, day part, geographic location (GEO), tracking, routing numbers, etc.
Prior to launch, CUnet’s Mobile Media Department determines media placement, tests tracking, and walks through the campaign with the school and school’s admissions team.
After launch, tracking and monitoring begin. Schools receive weekly reports and have access to a call tracking platform to monitor progress at their discretion.
After the first set of data is collected, CUnet is able to begin optimizing variables like day part, GEO, creative, carrier, handset, and call center feedback. Optimization continues throughout the campaign.
How can a school ensure their pay-per-call campaign is successful?
It isn’t enough to just post a mobile ad and hope for the best. In order for a mobile pay-per-call campaign to have the best chance of success, it needs to be done right. The three schools profiled in our case study took the right steps to ensure that they were set up for success. These included:
- Infrastructure: the schools all had a ready call center/ admissions team that could take inbound calls
- Training: admissions/call center teams were trained to respond to mobile inquiries
- Technology: three forms of technology were implemented throughout the mobile campaigns
- Media tracking and measurement technology (CUnet’s Sparkroom technology was used)
- Call tracking & recording platform (CUnet’s EnrollCall was used)
- Schools’ call centers and admissions teams also tagged and tracked mobile inquiries though their CRM (customer relationship management) systems
- Time: there was a waiting period of 60-90 days for the inquiry lifecycle to reveal conversion data; during that time, schools reported results back to CUnet for continuous campaign optimization
Ready to start exploring mobile marketing? Contact us today and we will help you through the process!
Last week, we introduced you to our Mobile Click-to-Call case study involving three different schools. Now, to find out the results of these campaigns!
How did cost-per-enrollment (CPE) compare to other channels?
After tracking each school’s campaign, we noticed that CPE for all three schools utilizing the pay-per-call campaigns was significantly less than their CPE goals, with an average cost per enrollment of $932 (see chart below). In fact, the difference between CPEs resulting from the mobile campaigns the schools’ goal CPEs ranged from 28-33 percent less. The schools’ CPE goals were representative of the typical costs that these schools were seeing in other third party inquiry generation channels, confirming that pay-per-call campaigns definitely result in lower CPE than other online affiliate channels.
What about the all important conversion rates?
In these campaigns, we tracked enrollment rate, which is defined as the percentage of valid inquiries (calls over two minutes) that enrolled. It turns out that enrollment rates were also significantly better in these campaigns than with regular online cost-per-inquiry channels. Average enrollment rate was high at 7.6%, as seen in the results chart below. In comparison, we typically see an enrollment rate range of three to four percent for regular affiliate channels and around 10-12% for a high performing channel like pay-per-click (CUnet data). It was immediately apparent that mobile was not only providing inquiries of good quality to the schools, but at a much lower price point.
Average Mobile Enroll Rate
Average Mobile CPE
CPE difference (+/- goal)
In next week’s post, we will examine CUnet’s approach to pay-per-call campaigns, and how to ensure your campaign is a success. Stay tuned!
In today’s competitive environment, higher education marketers are actively searching for creative ways to diversify their media mix. In fact, our 2012 Benchmarking Survey results indicate that there has been a significant increase in focus on areas like targeted display advertising, paid search, and mobile inquiry generation compared to 2011. Mobile marketing seems to be of particular interest to schools, as it can offer a low cost, easily monitored environment for generating exclusive inquiries.
With that in mind, we compiled data from three schools that were using CUnet’s mobile click-to-call service in Q4 2011 and Q1 2012 in an attempt to study how inbound calls from mobile marketing can effect cost per enrollment (CPE) and conversion rates. The schools ranged in size from a campus-based enrollment of 5,000 students to a combined campus/online program enrollment of over 15,000 students. Their CPE goals ranged from $1300-$1500, and each were looking for similar conversion rates to their other affiliate channels. We tracked the mobile campaigns over a period of three to 12 months.
Prior to embarking on the mobile marketing campaigns, the schools were utilizing regular online affiliate cost-per-inquiry channels that drew on sources like online display, paid search, SEO, approved call centers, and other various education directory sites to generate inquiries. By engaging with our mobile marketing team, the schools had four goals:
- Prove the mobile channel as a viable source for prospective student inquiries.
- Prove that the mobile channel can provide a lower or similar CPE compared to other channels.
- Achieve inquiry exclusivity through direct media.
- Enable students to connect with the school through a fully automated and branded path, without third party human intervention.
So what happened? Were we able to accomplish all four goals through the mobile pay-per-call campaigns? Stay tuned next week to find out the results…
Two weeks ago, our mobile marketing strategist Akeel Haider joined other mobile lead generation experts Mark Roth of OfferMobi, and Dinesh Boaz of Direct Agents with moderator David Rodnitzky of PPC Associates for the Mobile Lead Generation panel at the LeadsCon East 2012 conference. Speaking to a room of over 100 attendees representing a number of verticals including higher education, Akeel came away with some great insight into marketers’ challenges and best practices in this unique lead generation channel. We sat down with Akeel this week to pick his brain on the session and all things mobile marketing.
What were your biggest takeaways from the session?
Everyone wants to be involved in mobile in some way, but there are lots of questions around this channel and how and where to start. There were a line of people waiting to speak to me after the session, and most of them were asking questions about what mobile strategies are working best, what verticals is it working for, and how can we help them successfully venture into mobile marketing
In your opinion, is mobile lead generation “here to stay” for higher ed marketers?
Yes. We have been utilizing mobile marketing for EDU inquiry generation in such a successful way that our clients keep asking us for more. This is only the beginning of this emerging market growth, specifically for sectors who have not been utilizing the mobile medium until recently. Mobile today is still at its infancy with an unprecedented growth pattern. If you look at the stats and projections, by 2015, 50% of all internet traffic will be mobile. Also 25% of all paid search clicks will be mobile by the end of this year and over 50% of mobile phones in the US (over 150 million) have data access already. Mobile is not just in its testing phases, it is happening now and returning positive ROI for many clients and advertisers who have learned to use it effectively. At CUnet, more than 30% of all call center inquiries are originating from mobile today.
Based on questions from the audience, what are marketers’ top concerns when it comes to mobile marketing?
It is about quality and how does mobile compare to other channels. Marketers have no baseline or reference point because they haven’t tested mobile enough. The answer is really dependant on the mobile sub-channel being tested and the conversion funnel built. This starts from the creative all the way through to the end-goal conversion. One mistake advertisers run into is treating mobile as one channel, when in reality there are so many various mobile sub-channels and technologies each with their own metrics and user behavioral trends. It’s up to marketers to test these and find their best converting sweet spots for their clients and target demographics. For example, mobile paid search and mobile SEO are comparable in quality to desktop SEO and desktop paid search. Other mobile channels will vary depending on many factors. Also mobile should be thought of as an initial response medium- just a starting point. After the initial response, marketers must look at the entire funnel to get the desired results.
What advice would you offer someone who is just starting to think about mobile marketing?
The first thing a school should do is look at their current desktop websites. Figuring out the percentage of mobile traffic they are receiving already, down to the carriers, browsers, and device types will reveal some very important information. This will give insight into their current mobile demographics. They may come to realize that there is already mobile traffic that they are receiving and not being able convert because they don’t have a mobile optimized site, or that a large percentage of their audience is coming from a specific carrier or specific device type. These facts can help in the subsequent marketing strategies to follow. The second piece of advice is to test, test, and test. There is no one size fits all approach in mobile. It is all about figuring out the right mix for you.
Reaching Prospective Students in an Always Online World Part Two – Now at LeadsCon East 2012 and CCST 2012!
I know I am not alone in believing that the biggest revolution since the invention of Internet is the shift from desktop PCs to mobile data-capable devices (and everything associated with it, from changes in marketing practices to an overall cultural shift). While most marketers are aware of how important this change is, many in our sector still struggle to clearly identify how mobile media can help their business – or specifically their college or university – to achieve their marketing goals.
This is the challenge that I, along with a highly distinguished panel of mobile and marketing experts, recently addressed at the 2012 APSCU Annual Convention. We spoke to a full room, and based on the questions and feedback, it was clear that many marketers in higher education are looking for guidance in this area.
During the session, I spoke about the success we have had in mobile campaigns for our clients here at CUnet. Using data from those campaigns, I walked through three areas that are of critical importance to advertisers:
- Mobile volume: Can mobile media be a source of scalable prospect inquiries?
- Mobile quality: Do mobile inquiries convert into students?
- Risk and barriers to entry: What’s the barrier to test considering cost, compliance, and targeting capabilities?
Now, if you were not able to attend the session at APSCU, and are interested in learning more about mobile marketing for lead generation, I wanted to share some upcoming opportunities to hear more about mobile and how it is impacting higher education marketing. I will be presenting at both of these sessions, and I welcome everyone to come by and speak with me directly.
The first session is at LeadCon East 2012 on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 from 9-10am where I will be part of a panel discussion for a session titled “Mobile Lead Gen – What Works and When Will It Scale”
The second opportunity will be at CCST – Career Colleges and Schools of Texas Annual Conference on October 12 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas, Texas.
If you still aren’t sure if this is the year to jump in to mobile, let me leave you with a few thoughts to keep in mind:
- There are more mobile devices than people in the United States.
- In many cases, prospects are already searching on their mobile phone when they inquire.
- Estimates show that 25% of all paid search clicks will come from mobile by the end of this year.
You can also download our latest mobile marketing flyer here, which outlines what CUnet can do to help improve your mobile marketing campaigns.
I hope to see you at LeadsCon or CCST!
Faster, Smaller, and Integrated – Now What?
As we continue our series of predictions posts, we take a look at the quickly changing world of mobile devices, and share some thoughts on some ways that higher education marketers can respond to these changes.
1. 2012 – The Year When Mobile Smart Phones Reach 50% Of The Market
Back in March, 2010, Nielsen projected that the U.S. cell phone smart phone market would finally reach 50% of the total handset market by Q3 of 2011.As it turns out, they were a little premature in their estimates – the majority of Americans still have feature phones (according to comScore’s latest survey, which puts smart phones at 38%). However, with smart phone prices down, tier 2 carrier smart phone inclusion, and increased competition, we can expect to pass that milestone in 2012. With almost half the population accessing the internet on their mobile devices – from social media to shopping sites and more –we can expect the marketing pendulum to begin the swing in favor of “mobile first, desktop second.”
2. The Rise of the Tablets To Main-Stream
The increased competition in the tablet market will drive prices down and increase sales as new models come out allowing the devices to be more main stream. More Americans who use their PC for simple activities like e-commerce, news, web, email, will buy tablets when they want to replace their PC.
So what does all this mean for higher ed marketers? Schools can no longer afford to build and test their websites purely with a desktop user in mind. Sites that are optimized for mobile (including touch screens) will offer a better user experience and in turn, drive better results.
3. Social Sites and Apps will Continue to Dominate Mobile Traffic
All analytics and indicators show the strong dominance of social sites and social games. This theme will continue throughout 2012, and we’ll see more and more marketers exploring ways to leverage that trend to increase brand awareness. In particular, we expect more attention on Android and iPhone GEO Social apps with creative uses of targeting them.. This recent Nielsen Study reinforces this prediction.
4. RIM Losing Market Share
Research in Motion, the manufacturer of Blackberry, is in serious trouble. With sales already on the decline and a series of network issues in the recent past, they will continue to lose marketshare going into 2012, with the other 3 major players (Google, Apple, and Microsoft) benefiting.
While it’s still possible that RIM could find it’s way back by introducing an advanced touch OS with features and benefits equal to – or better than – Android and iOS operating systems, this doesn’t appear likely at this point. Having said that, marketers should keep focusing on optimizing their mobile presence for all handset types in the market with mobile web design best practices in mind.
5. The Beginning of the Start for Contactless Payments adoption via NFC & Virtual Wallets to Replace Credit Cards
This trend is unlikely to directly impact higher ed recruitment any time soon; however, our list of mobile predictions would be incomplete without it.
Many new smart phones that are coming out now and the rumored new iPhone5 to come will probably have NFC. Allowing users with these handsets to store credit card information in a virtual wallet on the phone and start using the phones at terminals that accepts them like the MasterCard PayPass for quick and easy checkouts. One example is the Google Virtual Wallet.
6. The Rise of Smart Phone-Connected Gadgets
Finally, if you are up to date with the latest trends and hip gadgets craze, you may have noticed new gadgets in your electronics store that take advantage of the smart phone’s connectivity features to enhance everyday life activities. Today, smart phones enable everything from listening to music through Bluetooth connected stereo phones to tracking fitness and health through app-supported devices like the UP bracelet or the Fitbit activity and sleep trackers. Expect more of those life-enhancing gadgets to show up and to satisfy our technology-driven lives.
While this is another trend that doesn’t have immediate/obvious ramifications for higher ed marketers, it is worth watching how this evolves. As more companies come up with ways to take advantage of smart phone connectivity, marketers are bound to follow.
You are currently browsing the archives for the Mobile category.