As the higher education landscape becomes more competitive, universities are leveraging unique pathways to attract prospective students. The traditional methods are no longer enough to rely on and require a mix of contemporary marketing elements to keep the university admissions funnel engaging.

YouTube marketing for higher education is an effective way to drive traffic to the website, generate leads and increase enrolments. YouTube allows universities and colleges to extend their reach to local and international students and create a high-impact expression to develop interest among prospective students.

According to Statista, 96% of Gen Z, 87% of Millennials, and 73% of Baby Boomers are reported to have a YouTube account and access video content on a regular basis. 

As a higher Ed marketer, you must discover the power of YouTube to market an educational institute or a specific education program.

And if you’re wondering where to start, this guide will take you through the YouTube marketing strategies for higher education.

Creating a YouTube Marketing Strategy for Higher Education

YouTube marketing strategy consists of brand promotion on YouTube primarily through original videos, influencer videos and video ads.

Identifying Target Audience

Even before you start thinking about the content, you need to identify the right target audience. Are you looking for local students, international students, post-graduates, or students who might be able to take part in university research programs? 

There are different types of prospective students, and you need to create a student persona to achieve your goals. Identifying the group will help you increase enrolments and retun on investment (ROI).

Developing Branding and Message

YouTube is a great place when it comes to developing brand awareness and voice consistency. This platform can help you establish a connection with the audience, and spread the word about your university.

However, it is important to craft a compelling message that resonates with your student persona and is aligned with the overall marketing goal.

Planning Video Content and Topics

It’s not enough to identify the target audience; you also need to know what they want to see and how you can produce the right video content aligned with their wants. 

Whether you’re creating a virtual tour video, student success story, program information, on-campus life, student experience, faculty introduction, or admissions-related video content. 

Don’t forget to plan video topics and ideas that get the most views and create interest among prospective students.

Setting Goals and Metrics for Success

To build the right YouTube marketing strategies for higher education, you need to clearly define your goals. 

Some potential goals for universities and colleges include building awareness regarding the new program, generating more enrolments, increasing conversion rate, building engagement through storytelling, and getting more engagement on social media channels.

Aside from marketing tactics and creating content and videos, as a higher Ed marketer, you need to focus on growing channels and analysing the metrics and analytics. 

The key metric to measure YouTube’s success includes subscribers, viewership, traffic sources, watch time, retention, likes, comments, shares, and engagement.

Allocating Budget and Resources

To allocate budget and resources, determine your total spending requirements, identify funds, and set a monthly budget cap. 

With YouTube marketing, you’re always in charge of how much you spend to reach your goals.

Best Practices for YouTube Marketing for Higher Education

According to the statistics published by Google, 3 in 4 adults report watching YouTube at home on their mobile devices and are 2x more likely to pay close attention while watching as compared to watching TV. 

Simple actions and considerations can help you grab the attention of prospective students and build brand awareness. By implementing YouTube marketing best practices for higher education, universities and colleges can build an online presence and increase enrolment. 

Optimizing Video Titles, Descriptions, and Tags

Just like you would want to optimize written content, establish a keyword strategy for your YouTube videos. Make sure your YouTube video title communicates the message to your prospective students in a way that includes relevant keywords.

It’s recommended that you must include a primary keyword in the video description. PCC ads for universities are also based on high-performing keywords that can be used in video description to navigate students to information and admission forms. 

Make sure the tags use the target keyword and describe the overarching topic covered in your video.

Using Calls-to-Action (CTAs) and Annotations

Optimize your CTA! Don’t leave it open-ended, as videos with higher engagement on YouTube positively affect your marketing strategy. CTA is much for than asking for a subscription – it is an effective way to keep your audience hooked and even link to other videos with similar topics.

For example, the City University of London has linked another relevant video as a CTA to help students explore more about the university and maintain their interest in learning about the programs.

Engaging with Comments and Feedback

Another smart approach to drive engagement on YouTube videos is to invite people to comment and respond to them with relevant replies. 

Universities can even pin a comment to add the appropriate CTA and ask the audience to post a comment on the video, ask questions, or learn more on the website.

Collaborating with Influencers and Partners

YouTube influencers have completely changed the marketing game for Higher Ed. As Gen Y and Gen Z have grown up in a digital world, influencer marketing for higher Ed has become an integral part of the overall strategy. 

Influencers have an audience that could include prospective students, and if the content related to universities and colleges is shared through them, it will have a wider reach.

As a university and college, you can partner with companies to establish trust and credibility among prospective students. Partnering will boost brand awareness and will build long-term advocacy for your school. 

Leveraging Analytics and Insights

YouTube analytics provide access to key metrics such as reach, engagement, audience, and revenue. 

The data helps the marketer to understand the type of content the audience is interested in and the information you can focus on through videos.

Analyzing the analytics and insights help universities target and engage prospective students at the top and middle of the enrolment funnel and convert them into qualified leads.

Examples of Successful YouTube Marketing Campaigns in Higher Education

YouTube marketing for higher Ed doesn’t happen spontaneously. It takes work, planning, and effort to put together quality content from the beginning to fruition.

A thoughtful campaign is fundamental for the success of YouTube marketing. Let’s explore some great examples of universities and colleges that have successfully leveraged YouTube marketing through engaging and informative video content to reach a wider audience.

Purdue University

In terms of brand strategy and promotion, Purdue University has successfully created an impactful and consistent YouTube marketing strategy. The driving key behind this is the marketing engine, communication efforts, and clear vision to take their intuition to a higher level.

University of Oregon

The YouTube marketing strategy of the University of Oregon is designed not only to attract and engage prospective students but also to inspire current students. Done well, with creative ideas and focus on the impact university has created on different areas and sends the right signals to reinforce its spot in the top place. 

Concordia University

The YouTube channel of Concordia University offers good selling points for prospective students, as they share some amazing experiences and learning process at the University. To appeal a larger audience locally and internationally, the University’s campaign creatively build reputation, use stories ads, and focusing on key areas such as alumnus, diversity, modern culture, and achievements of the students. 

University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina YouTube channel showcases exciting details about different programs, beautiful life inside the campus, gamecock stories, student stories, achievements, research work, and other events that take place during the year.

Challenges and Risks of YouTube Marketing for Higher Education

YouTube marketing for universities has become increasingly popular to promote programs and attract prospective students. However, this approach has its own set of challenges and risks. 

Firstly, creating engaging YouTube videos require a considerable amount of time, resources, and expertise – while the algorithm makes its challenges to keep up with the latest higher ed marketing  trends, there is a risk of negative feedback from viewers and some ethical considerations that need to be carefully navigated to avoid potential issues.

Ensuring Compliance with Regulations and Policies

YouTube has always had a set of community guidelines to ensure compliance, and it applies to all types of content shared on the platform, including videos, comments, links, and thumbnails. 

As a marketer for Higher Ed, you must be aware of the general guidelines, rules for creators, advertisers, community, copyright artists, and privacy policies. 

To avoid risks, you must keep a record of your data, regularly review policies and ensure your YouTube videos comply with the rules.

Addressing Negative Comments and Feedback

No one likes getting negative comments or feedback, as the stakes are even higher when it comes to Higher Ed institutions. 

Remember not to delay responding to negative comments, as the more time you let them go unanswered, the more time others will see that someone has complained about your university or college and you haven’t responded.

Maintaining Consistency and Quality of Video Content

If you want to achieve success on YouTube, your focus must be on consistency, and the quality of video content is necessary. 

When universities and colleges upload consistently, it helps them satisfy the YouTube algorithm, grow their audience fast, increase click-through rate and watch time, and build up the channel. It can be achieved through scheduling in advance and producing in batches.

Don’t overcomplicate things! Make sure the videos you upload are of high quality, as they will contribute to your brand image and shape the viewer’s first impression.

Measuring ROI and Demonstrating Value

If you are considering YouTube marketing for higher education, you need to ballpark a certain ROI that you can expect. For YouTube, ROI is measured by tracking the performance of your videos. KPIs include viewership, engagement, and conversions.

While demonstrating value for YouTube, it helps you review how effectively your channel is contributing to the overall business goals. These goals include building awareness, driving website traffic, and generating revenue through conversions. 

Data analytics and insights help you gain a deeper understanding of the value and show the impact of your YouTube channel on your goals.

Mitigating Legal and Ethical Issues

YouTube community guidelines include a code of ethics that state certain acts and behaviors not allowed on YouTube. 

To avoid ethical issues and mitigate legal risks, higher Ed market agency experts know how to follow the given guidelines, respect copyright laws, disclose sponsorships, protect user privacy, monitor comments, be transparent with your audience, and avoid any misleading information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can universities and colleges use YouTube to attract and recruit prospective students?

  1. Create a virtual campus tour
  2. Create campaigns around exciting events
  3. Feature student life through video
  4. Provide information about academics
  5. Host webinars and Q&A sessions
  6. Collaborate with influencers and partners

What are some common mistakes to avoid when developing a YouTube marketing strategy for higher education?

  • Neglecting the importance of having a goal
  • Not defining your target audience
  • Focusing too much on brand promotion and failing to add value for viewers
  • Not optimizing video content for SEO
  • Producing low-quality videos
  • Losing track of performance metrics
  • Not including CTA

What role does video production quality play in the success of a higher education YouTube channel?

It reflects the professionalism and credibility of your institute. The video product quality creates the first impression and opinion of your university and contributes to the overall brand image. Also, it makes the content more attractive and engaging for the viewers.

Final Thoughts

Having well-structured YouTube marketing tactics for higher education can help you engage and build your audience. Apart from facilitating students with the admission process, YouTube videos excite prospective students to get admission while getting information about the university and academic programs.

Leveraging YouTube tools, creating eye-catching thumbnail images, optimizing video descriptions, working with influencers, and continuously improving your marketing strategy will help you frame your university better to the right audience. The power and reach of YouTube can help universities and colleges achieve their enrolment goals.