THE STATE OF SITE SEARCH FOR HIGHER ED WEBSITES: Funnelback and mStoner visited websites from each of the U.S. News & World Report’s top 50 national liberal arts colleges and conducted a report on site search. Forty-one of these institutions used Google Custom Search for their website’s site search; seven used a search built into their CMS; and three used a combination of both. In their survey of web managers, poor site search was the second most common choice for worst website-related pain point. Among the reports suggestions for site search best practices in 2020 were: use structured content, track and monitor analytics, pay attention to search scope, and ensure that search engine optimization and site search work together.
Why you should care: Some institutions have thousands of website pages. Without great site search, this can easily overwhelm prospective students who are trying to find the most accurate information about your program. If web managers identify poor site search as a pain point, just imagine the aggravation it is causing prospective students. Dive into Funnelback and mStoner’s research and become an advocate for better site search on your school’s website; the more easily a prospective student can find relevant information, the better the experience and outcome for both schools and students.
NEW FEATURES TO RESPONSIVE DISPLAY ADS: Google recently launched new features for its Responsive Display Ads (RDAs). RDAs are a unique ad type on Google that automatically adjusts to the size, appearance, and format to fit a variety of ad spaces on the Google Display Network. From smart image cropping to design-centric text and image overlays, these new features help advertisers create a more professional look with their Responsive Display Ads. A new feature also allows advertisers to allow Google to automatically create video for RDAs using existing images and text assets.
Why you should care: In the past, enrollment marketers and advertisers had very little control over the look and feel of Google Responsive Display Ads. And while these updates are primarily geared towards retail advertisers, there is ample opportunity for enrollment teams to deliver higher quality ads on Google, using one of the easiest-to-use Google ad types out there. If you haven’t used RDAs in the past, these new features are even more of a reason to try out this ad type.
IS YOUR CAMPUS READY TO OPERATE THROUGH COVID-19 AND BEYOND?: Researchers from EAB “have been tracking where the [education] sector is headed—but also where it’s been, by looking to the lessons of crises past.” From their research, they created a free diagnostics tool for schools to put their COVID-19 operation preparedness (now and into the future) to the test. After completing the diagnostic, you’ll receive personalized, curated, relevant COVID-19-era research depending on your responses to the diagnostic to help fill in any gaps you might have in preparedness for the fall and beyond.
Why you should care: The need for high quality, relevant resources, data, and best-practice advice has magnified since the pandemic began. And while many companies are touting “free COVID-19 resources” across their website, not all offers are truly tailored to higher education. Use this diagnostic to identify the gaps your school or program may have in terms of operating through the pandemic (and beyond).