The meeting point for digital marketing in higher education

Our 2019 Higher Education Survey Results

We are delighted to share the results of the 6th Annual Higher Education Digital Marketing & Web Survey. This year, 413 Higher Education professionals in 317 universities & institutions across 24 countries contributed to the survey & this broad participation gives us a unique insight into how universities & colleges deliver & perform in the most vital channel for student recruitment – online

Some of this year's findings

Over the past number of years, there is strong evidence to show that universities & colleges that invest seriously in web & digital marketing perform stronger when recruiting students. From this year's survey results, we are seeing that the budget is no longer the only factor that determines a digital & web team's potential capability. The wider challenges are:

  • The recruitment & retention of Higher Education web & digital professionals has become challenging, especially for universities & colleges in larger cities. We are seeing experienced Higher Education digital professionals drawn away by commercial organizations with offers of higher salaries & more attractive terms
  • Increasing legal & regulatory focus on website accessibility has intensified the workload on Higher Education web & digital teams. Some universities & colleges have created roles to work on auditing & fixing accessibility problems specifically, but those who have not are under pressure to deliver more with existing resources. The threat of litigation seems the most effective way of releasing budget to hire accessibility-focused expertise
  • The desire to run more professional web & digital teams has increased over the past number of years & the strongest trend is a continued move from decentralized to centralized web & digital management structures. The development of governance structures, adoption of standards & the use of design systems are also being undertaken by high performing
    Higher Education web & digital teams.

As more students base their final application decisions on online content alone, it's imperative that web & digital teams make a stronger business case for continuous investment rather than seeking budget for specific one-off projects. This provides teams with the ability to research, build & deploy web & digital experiences quickly as well as to adapt to the constantly changing landscape.

Our top 3 takeaways

#1 - 31% of respondents reported that this title best described their role, overtaking “Marketing or Communications Executive/ Manager” last year

#2 - Over 30% of institutions in the US still don’t have a formal web accessibility policy, which is surprising considering the importance of web accessibility worldwide

#3 - Canada came out on top with the highest satisfaction levels when asked if your institution is providing sufficient staff resources, investment & receiving the buy-in & support from senior leadership within your organization 


Download the report today

Download the report and compare your institution to others around the world.

We hope you view & embrace this report in the spirit it was intended i.e. a mechanism to continue the conversation about digital marketing & web in Higher Education; a tool to start a debate, to benchmark your institution, to justify investment in digital transformation (the dream!) or simply to reflect upon & validate your current strategies & priorities.

We continue to marvel at the generosity & support of the Higher Education community and, on behalf of all our team, would like to extend our gratitude to everyone that completed, shared & supported the survey. We are grateful for how our report has been embraced & accepted by the community & we take great pride in the small part it plays in continuing the conversation on the future of digital in Higher Education.



Tagged: Survey Report, Social Media, Digital Marketing, Accessibility, Team Structure

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