A Case for Digital Marketing in Universities

A case for Digital marketing in Universities

In many higher institutions of learning, there is not enough effort by institutions to take advantage of the rising popularity of the internet and social media. Schools still use conventional methods of recruiting students and dealing with applications, not utilizing the affinity of their students towards internet usage.

Studies show that only 15.7% of private universities and 16.8% of public universities employ social media marketers, despite 67% of students using social media in making their institution selection, and 75% of them saying it is an important factor in their choice.

International students, in particular, are key to the growth of colleges and universities. This is not just from a financial contribution, but also from a cultural, intellectual and research development perspective. The key aspect of successfully communicating the message is the adoption of a strategic digital marketing approach.

Estimates indicate the use of social media among young people between the ages of 18 to 30 in 2015 was 90%, in comparison to ten years ago when only 12% used the internet. It should not surprise higher institutions of learning if failing to utilize the internet in marketing themselves results in lower application and enrolment numbers.

International student enrolment in US schools jumped by 78% between 2006-2016, and universities usually spend much money on recruiting international students, but they also invest in trips to interview potential applicants and non-digital approaches. If schools were to use digital approaches and social media to interview and accept students, it could cut down on advertising costs and help universities reach qualified applicants who they may not have discovered had they used conventional marketing methods. A good example of this is the Scholars education centre tutoring Mississauga West, a simple and informative website.

Here are a few steps to ensure that universities and colleges target the right markets using digital strategies:

  1. Reviewing and updating websites

A potential student in the 21st century is more likely to choose enrolment in a school based on what information they gather from a variety of online sources. When it comes to your website, consider the experience a website visitor will enjoy when they visit your website. Updating details such as visa information and university accommodation will be helpful to ensure potential students make informed decisions.

  1. Taking strategic approaches to social media

Social media is key to growing student numbers, whether domestic or international-based. Research on the channels your audience is actively using, and tailor your marketing around that basis.

  1. Using current and alumni students as ambassadors

The view of many prospective students is that one who is already in the institution is a more reliable source of information for prospective students. They have first-hand experience and can highlight life within the institution and use it to market the school.


The usage of digital communication and social media marketing in universities can have a positive effect on institutional interactions with international students, not just in marketing but the entire application process. As such, universities and colleges need to ensure that they are carefully considering how they use marketing to welcome new and existing students effectively.

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