These higher education statistics help outline the changing landscape of the industry and ways marketers can break through to their audiences.

Marketing in higher education comes with its own set of challenges and trends that are continuously changing. As a marketer, it can be difficult to keep up. In order to stay on top of it all, it is imperative to look into recent higher education statistics that explain how students are retrieving their information about higher education institutions. Knowing the stats behind how these students are thinking and what actions they are taking can help you narrow down the playing field, in which you can target them easily. Here’s what you need to know:

Social media is still very important

“One in two teen applicants use five or more social platforms in their college research.”

Prospective students are using social platforms to source information about everything of value to them in their lives, and one of those things is your higher education institution. This means that they are looking for you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. If your university doesn’t have an active social community on most or all of these platforms, it isn’t sending the strongest message to prospective students. Still curious about how to create an optimized social media presence for your institution? Start here.

“Higher education institutions saw the highest social media follower growth across the social media landscape in 2016, with 77 percent annual follower growth on average.”

…And it’s not slowing down. Generate content that students want to read. The more intriguing and informative content you provide prospective students, the more they will interact and increase engagement on your pages. This higher education statistic also demonstrates how prospective students today are starting their college journey by searching for information using social media. So, make it easy for them; provide them with the content they want to read and need in order to narrow down their selection and choose your institution.

Ensure you’re using an integrated mix

“Students are more likely to consider institutions that use email, text and social media to communicate: 55% – 60%.”

Institutions that are actively engaging with students online and through text and email are getting their messages across stronger and faster than other universities. Meeting the prospective students in the world they are living in, which is online, proves to be greatly beneficial. Students are used to their information when and how they want it. Providing a diverse set of conversion points, contact methods, and message delivery systems is key. Using a marketing automation platform and approach is a helpful method of managing this process effectively.

Don’t sleep on your search engine optimization

“67% of internet users use search engines as their first source of information for higher education institutions and 64.6% of internet users click on sponsored links when searching for higher education information.”

It’s not enough to have an optimized site. It’s important you’re able to scout out those prospective students before they even know what they’re looking for. By running paid search campaigns you can target specific groups of people by location, demographics, keywords, and more, and differentiate your institution from others on the market. Targeting by means of keywords and phrases and even remarketing to these prospective students reminds them of why they should consider your institution. Remember, the higher ed journey is a long consideration process so, be present every step of the way giving subtle reminders and hints as to why, in the end, these students should choose you.

Consider using podcasts

“Podcast listenership has grown 75% since 2013, with 21% of all Americans listening to podcasts. That’s more than the percentage who use Spotify and equal to the percentage who use Twitter.”

Not only is podcasting attracting new listeners daily, it’s not as expensive as you would think. Podcasting is about storytelling so grasp this marketing opportunity and voice the excellence of your university to prospective students in a new market place. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of in the podcasting world so, it may be something to look into in the future of your higher education marketing plan.

So what to do now with this information? Apply it all. These higher education statistics speak for themselves: your prospective student body is online and searching for you, so simplify their journey. Be active, develop intriguing content, think outside of the box with podcasting and remarketing and engage with prospective students.