Study: How to Reach Teens Online

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Study: How to Reach Teens Online

Survey on Mobile Use and Web Trends Provides Insight for Colleges, Universities, and Other Organizations Looking to Reach High School Students

Camarillo, CAJuly 15, 2014—A new national study released based on a survey of 1,000 high school seniors and more than 500 parents provides marketers and admissions officers with an in-depth look at mobile and web trends.

"College-bound high school students are an elusive but coveted audience for college admissions marketers," said Carol Clements, Director of Marketing for OmniUpdate. "Over several years of surveying students, we've watched their online behaviors and preferences change, which adds to the complexity of marketing to them. In this survey, we asked students how they prefer to be reached and about their behaviors online, so marketers can better understand how to allocate resources most effectively.

"There are some surprises in the data for sure. For example, there was an uptick in email use among teens and increases in Facebook and Twitter use compared to last year's survey," said Clements.

The 2014 E-Expectations Report, titled The Online Preferences of College-Bound High School Seniors and Their Parents, is sponsored by Noel-Levitz, OmniUpdate, CollegeWeekLive, and NRCCUA (National Research Center for College & University Admissions). Highlights from the report include:

  • Mobile use among high school seniors continues to grow. Ninety percent of seniors have regular access to a mobile device, an increase of 12% over last year’s survey findings.
  • Four in ten students report using their mobile devices for all their web browsing.

At the same time, according to the Noel-Levitz 2014 E-Recruiting Practices Report, only 43% of four-year institutions and 26% of two-year campuses say they use adaptive technology for their websites—meaning a large number of visitors to those institutions' websites have subpar mobile experiences.

"Based on the incredibly high rate of mobile use among teens, any institution wishing to reach teens online should optimize the mobile experience through adaptive, responsive web design," said OmniUpdate President and CEO Lance Merker. "OmniUpdate offers adaptive, responsive templates to address these growing mobile trends. Content should also be tailored to the mobile experience, making a content management system all the more necessary."

College websites are considered to be the best resource of information about a college:

  • 97% of high school seniors said the college website was the resource that offered the most reliable information about a college or university. In comparison, 85% of students said email was reliable, and 53% said social media was reliable.
  • 77% of students rated college websites as the most influential resource for their college search. In comparison, email came in second at 53%, and college planning sites ranked third at 41%.
  • 67% of high school seniors said that the college website made a difference in their perception of the college.
  • 59% of high school seniors said that they believed the quality of education offered by the college was related to the experience they had on the college website.

Email continues to be highly effective in reaching teens:

  • Of high school seniors, 93% say they use email at least once per week, an increase of 11% over last year.
  • After websites, email remains one of the most popular and reliable e-communication options. The survey found 98% of students would open an email from a college they were interested in attending.
  • Two-thirds of students and parents are checking email at least once per day via mobile devices, meaning emails, website landing pages, and online forms should be optimized for mobile to provide better online experiences.

Social media and text messaging also continue to show promise for marketers:

  • Of students surveyed, 53% report they are willing to receive text messages from campuses. While this represents a decline in interest compared to 2013 survey results, texting still represents a significant opportunity for marketers.
  • Facebook remains the most widely used social media outlet among high school seniors, with use increasing after a drop in use among teens in 2013. And more than half of all parents are on Facebook. Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat showed big gains in use among teens compared to 2013.

About OmniUpdate, Inc.
OmniUpdate® is the leading web content management system (CMS) provider for higher education. The company focuses on providing an exceptional product and customer experience to its OU Campus™ CMS users who manage more than 700 web and mobile sites in the U.S. and around the world. OU Campus is secure and scalable, server and platform independent, and seamlessly integrates with other enterprise campus systems. It provides college and university web developers, administrators, and marketers with the user-friendly tools and deployment flexibility they need to achieve excellence.

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