From AI and Google Snippets to YouTube, esports, and accessibility, we stayed across all the emerging trends, topics, and technologies for higher education marketing in our blog in 2023.  These were your favorite articles of the year.

Discover any you missed and revisit your favorites for a refresher in our round-up of the top 10 most popular blog articles this year.

1. What social media platforms students use in 2023 to choose their university

what social media app do student use 2023

Social media platforms are a must-have marketing tool for attracting prospective students to universities, but with an ever-changing range of platforms available, it's difficult to know which ones are most effective and for what.

This article published in May summarized insights found by Keystone Educational Group, who surveyed over 20,000 prospective students across 195 countries about what social media platforms they used to discover educational institutions and programs.

And, spoiler alert, it’s not TikTok.

The study found that Instagram dominated course and institution discovery with over 30% of the studied population, and the ‘Original Gangster’ social media platform Facebook closely followed with 28%. This was for undergraduate course searches; for postgraduate, these figures were roughly reversed, with Facebook in the lead on Masters and PhD searches.

Check out the full article to see more insights and how other platforms performed.

2.  Ten tips for the most effective AI prompts for higher ed digital marketing

AI prompts for higher education marketing

2023 saw a huge boost in the use of AI technology with the rise in accessibility of AI-assisted tools, most notably the famous free-to-use AI chatbot ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI.

Harnessing the power of AI will help optimize and accelerate content creation for marketing teams, provided you can master the fine art of prompting. (Not sure how this works? Check out our webinar on boosting your marketing workflow with AI)

For this blog article, our team scoured the internet for a diverse range of resources and tools on ‘prompt engineering’ to help you nail your AI requests and get the most out of the technology.

This article features a step-by-step guide to introduce you to AI prompting, including links to short-form and long-form tutorials, helpful example prompts, and online prompt tools to help finesse the language in your prompts. 

3.  Ten examples of universities captivating students with YouTube content

10 YouTube examples of content for higher educationYouTube continues to grow in popularity, particularly among Gen Z audiences, and remains the biggest social media platform in the world, just behind Facebook.

In this blog post, we shared some new and innovative ways to harness YouTube in higher ed marketing by showcasing 10 examples of how universities are capturing prospective students with YouTube video content with:

  1. Enhanced video learning
  2. Campus overviews
  3. Student stories
  4. Alumni success
  5. Showcasing flagship research
  6. ‘Top tips' videos
  7. Bringing courses to life
  8. Tasters of the open day/campus tour experience
  9. Graduate showreels and performances
  10. Study playlists

Check out the article to discover these effective ways to showcase your institution or program to YouTube’s huge 2.6 billion-user audience, and see what leading universities are offering through their channels. 

4.  Five steps to a successful university website content audit

5 steps to a successful university website content audit

This popular step-by-step higher education content audit guide published in June outlines how university website and content owners can assess and maintain the health, relevance, usefulness, and quality of their websites.

Reviewing, evaluating, organizing, and updating website content ensures it stays manageable and high-performing. 

Our 5-step guide outlined in this article takes you through the process of:

  • Step 1: Creating a plan
  • Step 2: Assigning an auditor/assembling a team
  • Step 3: Reviewing your content
  • Step 4: Evaluating your content
  • Step 5: Implementing your plan

Conducting a content audit will help you improve SEO and website ranking, improve user experience, clear out outdated and irrelevant content, identify content gaps and missing information, and review content use and trends to ensure they’re keeping relevant and meeting your users’ needs.

5.  Five ways to market esports and improve recruitment

Marketing esports for universities and colleges

In April, we wrote about how college and university esports are rapidly rising.

The esport industry is huge and has become a viable career path for students, and schools are now encouraged to offer on-screen programs alongside traditional sports to attract new students.

By marketing video games as a path to a future career, you can add significant appeal to your university and open up a whole new avenue for recruitment.

This blog article offers examples and practical insights into implementing a marketing strategy for your esports offerings.

We focus particularly on changing attitudes and misconceptions about esport gaming, opportunities for inclusive accessibility, leveraging passion for gaming into related STEM fields such as software development, and ways to showcase your institution's facilities and achievements.

6.  Mastering Google Snippets for higher education websites - Part I & Part II

Mastering Google Snippets for higher education websites main image

In this two-part series, we share our love for Google Snippets and illustrate how universities and higher education marketers can harness them to showcase content, engage with prospective students, and get featured to maximize their performance on Google.

Google Snippets are short summaries that appear as answers to direct queries on Google, usually just below sponsored content. They provide relevant and quick information and catch the user’s eye.

Snippets are selected and featured by Google’s automated systems, so knowing how to structure your content and get your content featured can significantly increase your website’s visibility and traffic.

Check out the full articles to learn more about this powerful feature.

7.  Breaking Digital Barriers: 10 Strategies for your higher ed site accessibility

10 strategies to improve your higher ed website accessibility

At Terminalfour, we’re passionate about accessibility in higher education.

We invited accessibility experts Little Forest to write a guest blog exploring strategies for promoting and raising awareness of web accessibility at your university, and how to ensure digital content and tools are designed with accessibility in mind.

The article outlines these 10 strategies to improving accessibility at your institution:

  1. Auditing your websites
  2. Create an Accessibility Policy
  3. Keep your Accessibility Statement up to date
  4. Conduct a survey or poll to gauge awareness of web accessibility
  5. Reach out to student groups and organizations that focus on accessibility or disability rights
  6. Use social media to promote web accessibility
  7. Create and distribute informational materials
  8. Start a club or organization dedicated to promoting web accessibility on campus
  9. Partner with your University's IT Department to develop web accessibility guidelines and best practices
  10. Host a seminar or workshop on web accessibility

8.  Marketing virtual campus tours to reach prospects near and far

marketing virtual campus tours

Virtual tour technologies now allow universities the opportunity to showcase their grounds and facilities to students in an online format.

Even post-pandemic, virtual tours and spatial content are still useful, strong marketing tools to attract prospective students, and still offer the option of scheduling tours live with an actual human.

They’re a great starting point for an in-person tour and to generate plenty of visually engaging content for use across all marketing channels.

Read on to discover useful tools and examples of types of virtual tour content and how to market them.

9.  Switching to Google Analytics 4 All you need to know

Google Analytics 4 for universities and colleges
At the start of the year, we switched over to Google Analytics 4, Google’s next-generation website measurement tool, and wrote this ‘All you need to know’ guide about what’s new about the successor to Universal Analytics.

UA stopped processing data back in July, so you’ve most likely been using GA4 for several months now.

But if you haven’t checked out this guide yet, it can serve as a good refresher course and offer some new tips you maybe weren’t aware of to make the most of the analytics engine.

Added functionality for custom measurements and insights, increased user-friendliness, more user metrics, and data protection are some of the differences between Google Analytics and GA4 we cover in this blog article.

10. Staying top of mind: how to use remarketing to reach prospective students


how higher ed can use remarketing for student recruitment

This popular guide published in May discussed how to thoughtfully and effectively sell higher education experiences using remarketing.

Even with challenges around privacy concerns, remarketing can offer high returns on investment and still remains relevant as online privacy-protection practices improve across the board.

We go over our top five tips for successful remarketing strategies for Gen Z audiences, covering types of remarketing (both pixel-based and list-based), and the tools available to run and manage ad campaigns:

  1. Ads and content must match customer intent: Customizing ads for each person
  2. Ads as news content: Ads that don't feel like ads can be the most effective approach
  3. Rotate ads: Avoiding ad fatigue by offering something new each time
  4. Don’t oversaturate: Taking advantage of frequency capping
  5. Test:...and experiment!

As we step into the coming year, armed with the knowledge shared in our top articles, we invite you to stay tuned for more articles in 2024 on emerging trends and challenges in the ever-evolving landscape of higher education digital marketing. Your feedback and ideas are always welcome as we continue this journey together.

If you have an idea for topics you'd like us to explore next year, or you’d like to write for us or share a campaign or insight, let us know. We love hearing your feedback, so please do share your ideas with us in the comments below or on our social media channels.

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