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Social Media Retained Strongest Growth Channel Role for Higher Education Inquiry Generation

Volume of Higher Education Inquiries Generated via Social Media More than Tripled YOY According to Q2 2016 Sparkroom Inquiry Generation Trends Report

Social media was the third-largest driver of first-party inquiries during the second quarter of 2016, according to the Sparkroom Q2 2016 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review. The channel’s 2.8% share of voice was up 211% year over year.

Unfortunately, the conversion rate for higher education social media-driven inquiries did not have similar success. The 3.6% conversion rate for the first quarter of 2016 (leads for the second quarter of the year have not yet fully matured), is down 29.0% year over year. According to the Sparkroom report, “Social advertising is still in its infancy in comparison to other channels generating leads for higher education institutions. Scaling volume is a critical phase. Now schools need to analyze performance results to identify what is working versus what is not…. Once campaigns are optimized based on historical performance, we anticipate the conversion rate [for social media inquiries] will start to climb.”

“Increased adoption is likely a factor in the declining social media conversion rate,” remarked Akeel Haider, vice president of audience marketing at Sparkroom. “As more schools add social media into their enrollment marketing campaigns, it is experiencing the same competitive pressures other channels have been feeling for years. But it’s also important to consider that the reported conversion rate is based on last-click attribution only. Social media supports every phase of the student enrollment funnel. When multi-channel attribution tracking is applied, the conversion rate for social media inquiries almost always grows.”

Despite a minor (0.6%) quarter-over-quarter slip in volume, during Q2 2016, higher education inquiry volume grew year over year across all channels for the fifth consecutive quarter. Meanwhile, average conversion rates fell for the third quarter in a row. “Competition is intense throughout the higher education industry,” explained Kathy Bryan, the Sparkroom vice president of corporate marketing and communications. “The years of ‘build it, and they will come’ are long gone. Schools must differentiate themselves in a meaningful way to both attract and successfully enroll students. Branding, program rosters aligned with employment growth expectations and efficient enrollment management operations can all play a roll.”

The Sparkroom Q2 2016 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review addresses overall trends in the inquiry and student acquisition activities of higher education institutions for the period of April-June 2016, with conversion rates focused on the January-March 2016 period. The report details trends related to inquiry volume, conversion rates, channels, lead costs, program distribution and degree-level distribution. Click here or visit sparkroom.com/resources to download the Sparkroom Q2 2016 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review.

The Sparkroom team will host a webinar at 2pm ET on September 28 to review the Sparkroom Q2 2016 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review and answer questions related to the reported data. Data points from the prior quarter’s report will also be presented. Click here or visit sparkroom.com/resources to register for the 2016 Year-to-Date Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review webinar.

About Sparkroom

Providing full-service, data-driven marketing and technology solutions, Sparkroom streamlines college marketing and operations efforts to boost recruitment performance quickly. The award-winning leader in higher education enrollment marketing, Sparkroom addresses the full customer lifecycle, with a focus on delivery higher-quality prospects and better conversion rates. The Sparkroom Marketing Services team focuses on the strategic development and management of media plans that incorporate a variety of performance-driven channels. Sparkroom Marketing Software integrates marketing data, automates processes based on performance and provides robust, multidimensional reporting and analytics. Sparkroom also offers strategic consulting services, including enrollment management. Sparkroom is the recipient of two 2016 LeadsCouncil LEADER Awards: gold for most valuable education technology and silver for best education marketing agency. Sparkroom was also awarded the 2015 Integrated Marketing + Technology Targeting award and the 2015 University Business Readers’ Choice Top Products award. Sparkroom is owned by Digital Media Solutions, an Inc. 500 company. For more information about Sparkroom, visit sparkroom.com.