How to convert more Applicants into enrolled Students

    Video for higher education marketing - why it works so well

    Higher education marketing is about more than brand awareness. The vast amount of content available online today is such that university marketing departments need to come up with inventive ways of capture the attention of their target market.
    Last updated:
    December 22, 2023

    Higher education marketing is about more than brand awareness. The vast amount of content available online today is such that university marketing departments need to come up with innovative ways of capture the attention of their target market.

    Nowadays, multiple marketing touch points must be utilised to engage students throughout the lifecycle, including - you guessed it - video.

    Michelle Bandler, Google’s Manager of Education, explains in her article, ‘Why video should be a key part of any education marketing effort’, that applying to university is a much more research-centre endeavour today, compared with the past, when factors such as tours and family recommendations were more influential.

    “Today, the process is much more research-heavy and video plays an important role - especially for students looking to enroll in higher education programmes at online universities.” - Michelle Bandler, Managing Director of Education at Google

    Google, with the help of Greenberg research, delved a little deeper into the topic to unearth exactly why it is that video content is more effective at capturing the attention of applicants - and, more importantly, helping to convert them.

    Here’s what they found.

    Video augments research

    A prospective student’s research into a higher education institution will increase once they’ve completed an application form. However, as it’s likely that they will be pursuing more than one institution, they don’t necessarily have the time to digest large amounts of long form content to find the information they’re looking for.

    This is where video comes in.

    Video content, if produced correctly, presents useful and insightful information in a bitesize format, making it more engaging and therefore more memorable. According to Google and Greenberg, 80% of prospective students who planned to attend an online university said that watching a video influenced their application in some way.

    It makes perfect sense that, in the absence of a physical bricks and mortar institution, video succeeds in helping to affirm the validity of an online course. But it's important to remember that video is used by physical universities to nurture candidates through the application process too.

    In this video by SOAS University of London, music, creative camera direction and shots of different students and staff converge to communicate the university's core values of ‘promoting cultural understanding’ and ‘promoting equality and celebrating diversity.’

     SOAS succeed in communicating their culture and values in just over two minutes. 

    Video drives intent

    Video can be used as a call-to-action in higher education, helping to ‘drive intent’. Prospective students will watch a video because they are curious about what it would be like to study there and want to find out more; they want to see the inner workings.

    Good higher education videos will capitalise on a prospective student’s curiosity by communicating their message clearly, whilst letting the view know what their next steps should be.

    “By tapping into intent signals, marketers can showcase the right video at the right time and better assist students throughout their journey.” - Michelle Bandler

    This video by University of Toronto showcases the voices of some of their international students, who discuss life on campus, academic opportunities and why they chose the University of Toronto.

    International students talk about University of Toronto

    Video enhances positive emotions

    In video, sight, sound and motion come together to create something more powerful and moving than written text alone, in the context of marketing and advertising. Happiness is contagious, so it comes as no surprise that the most successful video campaigns are usually those that play on the viewer’s positive emotions.

    Emotive content is also more shareable, leading to a wider reach which, down the line, could result in more enquiries, applications and enrollments.

    With almost three million views, Western Sydney University’s highly successful and incredibly powerful video tells the story of Deng Adut, a graduate who overcame huge adversity to achieve a law degree and forge a career as a lawyer.

    The video, which is soundtracked by Jarryd James’ ‘Do you Remember’, contains no dialogue and is shot as a narrative that is just under one-and-a-half minutes long.

    Experience the video for yourself here: 

    Powerful storytelling done by Western Sydney University as a way to promote their Institution

    In Summary

    Video is hugely popular, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. In 2018, YouTube became bigger than Gmail and almost as huge as Facebook, with over 1.8 billion users, according to its CEO, Susan Wojcicki. 

    The bottom line is that universities should be investing in their video content like never before, coming up with creative ideas that inform and engage their audience throughout the student lifecycle.

    Share your interesting higher ed videos with our followers on Twitter @fullfabric.

    Thinking of making this the year you create some killer video content that’ll get everyone talking about your university? See how FULL FABRIC’s software can help by requesting our demo.


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    Kate Tattersfield

    Kate Tattersfield is a former teacher turned content creator at FULL FABRIC, specialising in writing for the education sector.

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