Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Community, Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Strategy, Thoughts | Posted on 01-12-2009
With the saga of #2013 behind us, it’s time to focus on the future and how lessons learned can be applied to benefit your university. One benefit in particular that I am already seeing is the potential for increased yield over the Class of 2012.
I didn’t see anyone else do Class of 2012 research, but I am glad that I have mine to benchmark this year against last year’s numbers. (All details can be found at http://squaredpeg.com/index.php/class-of-2012-research/ .) I find it helpful to monitor the growth and conversation of the group.
Here’s what I’m seeing with #2013: By actively promoting the Class of 2013 group rather than sitting on the sidelines, we are seeing more students join earlier in the decision process and connect with students in a meaningful way. I sent out an email to all admitted students (like I mentioned I would do in the #2013 post) and it had a 37% open rate with a click-to-open rate of 26%.
As of January 11th, the group already has more members than the 2012 group did on May 21st (338 vs. 331). That means we’re nearly 4 months ahead this year in terms of growth. Looking at wall posts, there are more posts as of today than March 19 of last year (246 vs. 226). So the conversation has begun more quickly and is continuing to grow. Discussion posts are growing as well, 317 to date compared to 298 on April 16th of last year.
Comparing same-week numbers between 2013 and 2012, there are 1700% more members, 1130% more wall posts, and nearly 16000% more discussion posts.
So what does this mean? A few things.
- At Butler, we adhere to the National Candidate’s Reply Date of May 1. So the more we can engage students and connect with them before that date, the better. More deposits are a good thing. The fact that our Facebook group is larger than it was at last year’s May 1 date shows that we have a larger audience of the admit pool to help and engage.
- Our yield events are very early in the year, with the majority of them happening in January and February. Right now we are coming up on 2 yield events, and it’s the main point of the conversation in the Class of 2013 group. Students are asking who’s going to be there, making plans to meet each other, and they are already meeting friends and finding roommates. This didn’t happen last year. If a student knows other students who are going to a yield event, they are much more likely to attend.
- 5 students who emailed/messaged me are now the Admins of the group, so they already feel like a part of the Butler community. The more you can share this experience and feeling with others, the more you will yield.
- The conversation is evolving sooner. Last March, 3 months into the research, I posted:
“Now, some general observations. The conversation has taken what I believe is a typical course for this type of online/community interaction: Starting at “where are you from?”, going to “what major”, then on to “what early reg date are you going to?” and finishing with a deeper connection level, such as Roommate surveys, what dorm to live in, meeting up this summer, etc.”
With that conversation happening sooner and the deeper connection level evolving earlier in the year, I can assume that yield will be positively affected. It reminds me of the college Brian Niles once mentioned that sends their roommate assignments out as early as February. Kids basically yield each other because they connect and after the whole “are you going? yeah, are you going?” conversation they begin to plan their room. While we still aren’t sending out roommate assignments until late summer, these conversations will still take place and help us yield better.
So there’s one positive outcome of #2013 and FacebookGate. What’s your story? Where are you improving? How has the story helped you approach administrators?