New Digital Trends Impacting the Student Lifecycle

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jennifer Garrett, Head of Industry, Education at Facebook, joined the podcast to discuss AI, test-to-learn, post-lead touch strategies, and new digital trends driving the student recruitment experience.

The number one place where we seean opportunity is for schools to be incredibly crisp on the business KPI that they'retrying to drive forward. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education,the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at theircollege or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies ortools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into theshow. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect ETUpodcast network. I'm Eric Olsen with Helix Education, and we're here todaywith Jennifer Garrett, head of industry education at facebook. Jennifer, welcome tothe show. Thank you so much, Eric. I am delighted to behere with you, delighted to have you so excited to talk with you todayabout digital trends impacting the student life cycle. But before we dig in, canyou give the listeners a little bit better understanding of both yourself and yourrole at facebook? Absolutely so. I lead our education vertical out of NewYork City. We are national and we spend our time helping all of youin roll your students and get them to happy outcomes. We spend most ofour time working with universities, Oh pms and several partners in the e learningspace. Super help with feedback and thank you for helping us achieve our enrollmentgoals. Jennifer, to kick us off, in your role so close to adigital landscape that's changing so much right now, can you talk us throughsome high level trends that you're seeing that institutions might want to look at orleverage to help drive their student recruit and experience? Absolutely so. We've allseen this accelerated shift from offline to online...

...in two thousand and twenty. Ithink many are saying that we're five or ten years ahead of where we wouldhave been without covid. Yeah, but I think there are two main sortof macro trends we're seeing, and then we can talk a little bit moreabout higher Ed specifically, please. So, overall, I think we're seeing ashift across marketing from an ultra targeted approach to machine learning, and whatI mean by that is that we're starting with the business objectives and then letting, in facebook's case, the facebook algorithm do the work, and we're findingaudiences in places that we didn't expect to find them. Yeah, so that'skind of a game changer and if you think about the way that marketers havebeen approaching audiences since madmen, this is a five like shift. Yeah,also created. It is really playing a more important role than ever before.It makes a lot of sense, if you think about all the increded competitionout there, that it really matters and it requires us to really understand whatthe motivations are to a student and what the barriers are and then digging deepinto your tool kit to connect to each student based on those motivations and barriers. And I'm sure you've all seen a lot of statistics around the impact ofcreative but are of a recent Nielsen Catalina Solution Study found that fifty six percentof a brand sales lift from digital advertising can actually be attributed to high qualitycreative. So it really is important to build creative thoughtfully. Yeah, Jennifer, to tag on to that as a as you nopm that focuses on adultstudents through compelling creative and branding. You know, everything you're saying resonates obviouslya lot, and we have our institutional clients and partners that don't really knowhow to find the adult student. And...

...and now we're entering a world withless traditional students taking sat tests and act tests, and similarly it might becomeboyd will like, I used least to have a list of where I couldfind the traditional students and target off that. Do you think that that ai realityand using the algorithm to find students where you don't even know exactly wherethey are, is that can become more and more critical moving forward? Ithink it is going to. And the reality is that the AI and machinelearning is getting better and better. It's so much better at it than weare. And we all know that students don't look the same as one anotherand especially in a changing world where people are having to learn new skills inorder to get jobs at different times in their lives, right plans have changed, I think that there are signals that the AI can pick up that wemight miss otherwise. Super Helpful. I know I tangented you before you weregoing to get into the the high level digital trend. That was more specificto higher it so I want to make sure you can get to that onetoo. Sure. So they're, I think, really two more there,and that is that we're seeing a breakdown of the silos between marketing and operationswith a lot of our partners, and you're seeing the marketing teams nurturing forleads but also optimizing media for applications alongside leads. Yeah, and that's achange over the last couple of years for sure and seems to be happening moreand more. And overall there's a digitization of the enrollment process, and maybeit's better actually call it mobilization, but streamlining the application process overall, makingmore mobile friendly, introducing bots, including Messenger bots. All that is actuallyhappening and there's been a lot lot of talk about the application process transforming.It feels like it's actually happening right now.

I think it's a super great pointand one that I think echoes a lot of conversations that we've either beena part of or here on campuses. Of is, marketing used to beresponsible for legion and admissions, used to be responsible for sales and enrollment,but you're talking about this new future that we are currently living in where thereare more media responsibilities past legen through that student life cycle. Could you walkus through a hypothetical example of how a student could interact with a university viafacebook throughout that entire student life cycle, from discovery all the way through enrollment. Oh, I'd be so happy to so let's use the example the holidays. We're coming of somebody thinking they're made a new year's resolution and now thetime to go back to school. So they're thinking about that along with theirmany other Maryor's resolutions. And the front door is really the institutions facebook pageor IG handle. This is where you first get a sense of student lifeand the culture of university. Your organic work here is really important. Thisis the window that you are sharing with your prospective students and you want tokeep it authentic and full of life right. You want to be revealing and usethat thoughtful creative from this point forward. Then you can do something we callin stream reserve, which is really facebook's answer to television. And whenI say facebook throughout this talk I'm talking about facebook and Instagram, really thethe facebook family of APPs, which includes Messenger and what'Sapp, but for nowlet's really focus on facebook and instagram. So Iss our instrum reserve is ourbrand building tool that in many ways mimics television and allows one to reserve inventoryon facebook and really get a huge amount...

...of reach. So for those partnersthat are traditionally very comfortable in the tellivision and sphere, and there are manyin highered, those partners are really excited about instream reserve and they're there withmany of the brand players in marketing that you would expect to see, fromfinancial services to insurance companies to auto all those players. Well. So thenthe perspective, student might find an ad in their news feed highlighting a relevantprogram from your institution or the opportunity to receive more information, and that wouldbe paid and then they may see a post on instagram asking if they needhelp with their application and if so, there could be a messenger Bot tohelp guide them right the information that they need. And and the Messenger boughthere plays an important role because already we're at about seventy percent of users theprefer to receive information via chat then phone call. So and that's actually acrossall age groups, it's not just with younger people. So using messenger orsome kind of a bout there makes a lot of sense. And then youknow, once you've been rolled I think groups can make a huge difference.I spoke to one university president recently who had tried several tactics for this andsaid groups has worked like nothing else because it's already there. It's already peoplealready have facebook on their phone and groups is within that. Yeah, andthey've been using it for each of their new cohorts and seeing success rates liftin the double digits. And groups is one of those things. It's freeand many of us use them in our personal lives and we know how engagingand sticky and important they can actually be to people, especially starting cohorts orfreshmen, or use a group in a class anyway. Then you could keepthe conversation going with alumni and networking and...

...relationship building and I think also it'simportant to think about how to use the alumni and then the career services armof many of these universities to really help support students afterwards and continue those alumnirelationships. So that's a very broad way of answering your question, but youcan see that it really could help with finding the student and rolling the student, ensuring a happy student outcome and then a longlong relationship with the institution it'ssuch a helpful walk through and I can just hear the vpiece of enrollment listeningand going yeah, marketing, do all that stuff for us. Don't justdon't just throw us over the lead and cross your fingers for us. HelpUS throw out that cycle. And I love all those examples you gave whenyou mentioned the ISSR reserve. When you're talking about our use case, wouldan institution typically use that at the post legend stage, post APP or?Is this top of funnel? It's top of funnel. Got It. Itwould be really replacing that work. You know, the way that we speakabout it. It's top of funnel. I don't think that a real brandadvertised world says top of funnel. But same mid funnel is probably more accurate. Yes, yes, got it. One thing that actually I should mention, which I fail to hear, is that I think we're also going tosee an increase use of air and B are and it's really early days andjust starting to scale, but I think you're going to see OCULUS and facebooklabs come into classrooms in incredible ways and Occulus is already being used to teachsurgeons how to do surgery and the use cases are incredibly inspiring, so Ithink that will be part of our conversation before too long. Jennifer, Iknow we've given marketing and marking teams a lot of homework. Now let's switchover to the faculty side. More and...

...more research is showing how important facultyconnections are to a students enrollment decision, to their persistence decisions. What aresome different ways you're seeing academia build relationships with perspective students digitally? You know, we'd love to see even more, but we do see events, wesee use of facebook live and, frankly, we would love to see personalities andacademia bring students into their experiences even more. And the tools are thereto do it in a way that's very digestible, so it doesn't have tobe a gigantic commitment. One can do short live sessions and it's incredible opportunityto really build interest and established credibility with perspective students. You know, whenI look at a brand like a Peloton, of course they've benefited from the factthat people are at home, but they've also taken their instructors and madethem stars, yeah, and built personality and stories around them. And they'veused groups. The PELOTON group at facebook is incredibly vibrant and there's a realsense of community and to see see people backing one another up when they reachcertain milestones or supporting people when there's a tough day. There is some kindof magic there and it's something that I think we can replicate more in higherit I know facebook campus is just beginning to roll out. Do you haveany insights into how powerful over your recruitment tool you anticipate that being for institutions, and will these kind of faculties celebrities have any role within facebook campus?It's a great question because it's really early days for facebook campus and I thinkit will evolve tremendously from today into the future. Basically, for those ofyou that don't know, facebook campus launched...

...the September to thirty schools in theUS and it offers a college only space for students. So there's an eedyou verified space that allows students to participate in groups and events that are reallyjust relevant to their specific school, and there's a campus directory that is alot like facebook's early days. We found that students, especially incoming freshmen,are really looking for ways to discover who's in their larger class and connect withpeople in their individual courses and student clubs. So facebook campus now is a lotabout that and allowing for college students to start chatting in a low pressureway in terms of using faculty and their power. I think it's a greatuse case and we haven't really seen it yet. So I think we reallyfun to test that. Jennifer. Let's talk about the financial reality and whatwe can do to best leverage our marketing dollar. COVID has created, aboveand beyond financial strain in a higher head landscape. Frankly that already had alot of it. How can institutions better measure the impact of their digital investmentin this marketing world where we're kind of pinching our pennies right now? It'ssuch a great question because we all need to be better at it every singleday. So I think the number one place where we see an opportunity isfor schools to be incredibly crisp on the business kpis that they're trying to driveforward both on a broad level and on a granular level, and it's justabsolutely critical that, from the CFO down to your media manager, the teamunderstands what they're trying to solve for it and why, because that allows testand learn mindset that one needs in order...

...to find the right way to measuredigital results because, as we all know listening to this, it is abouttriangulating results with your system and third parties and it is complicated. It ispossible. However, we have clients that are incredibly sophisticated and are working withparties like new star and facebook and Google and their own proprietary research and theiragencies, and they've put together very sophisticated models that they feel comfortable with tomake decisions, because the reality of it is that we need signals from allthese different places to help guide us. We don't have a full picture fromanyone place and it's not getting any easier. So, you know, I don'tthink that many would have thought that at facebook we would be talking aboutMMM's with frequency what we are, because MMM's can be incredibly valuable. It'sjust you have to look at everything together and try to figure out how tomeasure what you're doing and finding your comfort level as you plan your budget forthe year. Turniper, I love the test and learn approach. I lovethe idea of finding new ways to create digital touches throughout the enrollment cycle.Any final next steps? Advice for institutions listening to this saying yes, Igot to send this to my marketing team because they've to do all this stuffand they're just looking to develop the more strategic digital approach in general to theirstudent life cycle management. Where should they start first? You know, Ithink you really have to take a good look at your student student journey andrecognize that when you're talking to them, is in itself an optimization and tomake sure that you're solving for the big...

...picture, which I think for mostof us is actually enrolling a student. So getting too caught on the leadcan be very, very dangerous. Sometimes we actually have meetings and we justopen them up and we say we're going to talk about everything but the lead, for not even mention the word league. And it's a useful exercise because itdoes really focus, when thinking to all these other places and touch pointsthat we have, because there are a lot and that's what makes it funto be in marketing in education. So I think I would really step backand try to look at the whole picture and stay very nimble when it comesto measurement, play in creative play with video, play with color, playwith logo, really understand the motivations and barriers to your students coming or notcoming to your school and use the technology to help differentiate with special about yourinstitution versus another, because there's definitely something and it's very hard for students totell right now. Agreed and amen to that, Jennifer. Thanks so muchfor your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with youor your team if they have any follow up questions? Sure well, feelfree to Ping me on Linkedin and if you have facebook specific questions, pleasego to FB DOT me eedu. That is our facebook for education. Oneon one. Everything you need is right there and well least help point youin the right direction and get you to our team. Awesome. Thanks somuch for joining us to a Jennifer. Thank you, Eric. This hasbeen a total pleasure. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollmentstrategies. Helix educations. Data driven enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquelyhelping colleges and universities thrive in this new...

...education landscape and Helix has just publishedthe second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content onhow institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Download it today forfree at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university fromHelix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to theshow on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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