Sponsored by CampusReel
Why does Gen Z seek out video during the college search process, and what type of content is most engaging to them?
In 2021 video content should be foundational to any digital marketing strategy. A recent study found that 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and 61% of marketers see video as a "very important or extremely important" part of their marketing strategy (BrightCove, 'Global Video Index Report,' 2020). In addition, as colleges and universities look for new ways to engage prospective students in an increasingly digital-first recruitment landscape, video has become an imperative.
It's clear that admissions and marketing offices need to create more video, but not all video delivers results when it comes to engaging Gen Z and Millennials. One type of video has proven to engage viewers and influence purchasing decisions more than the rest - User Generated Content (UGC).
Customers do not just want to see a brand; they want to go behind the brand to meet the people and experience the processes that bring it all together. As a result, 90% of consumers say that UGC holds more influence over their buying decision than promotional emails, and a whopping 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even if it's people they don't know (BrightCove, 'Global Video Index Report,' 2020).
Key Ways to Leverage UGC:
Trust Building: 70% of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy.
Website Enhancement: websites with UGC on average see a whopping 90% increase in time on site.
Increased Engagement: advertisements based on UGC saw a 4X increase in clicks (Hubspot Marketing Research, 'What Marketers Should Know,' 2021).
What UGC Means for Higher Ed:
These UGC trends are even more significant for the college selection process, as applicants throughout the country, and the world, make the single most consequential purchase of their lives in a predominantly digital landscape. After crunching the numbers and identifying the targets and reaches, prospective students are most interested in understanding campus culture, climate, and vibe. They want to see students like them - students with similar backgrounds, experiences, and challenges -and see that those students have a sense of belonging and ultimately succeed.
For this reason, colleges and universities need to leverage video content from real student ambassadors to recruit prospective students and create more transparency around the on-campus experience. Your students are your biggest brand advocates and need to be at the forefront of your digital recruitment initiatives. To truly reach and engage Gen Z and Millennials, we suggest you give your students a camera, tell them to hit record and start building connections with your applicants!