Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | July 29th, 2020

Why mobile is the way to go during the COVID era

Why mobile is the way to go during the COVID eraWhen was the last time you put your phone down? Have you recently made it through a day only to have a sharp pain in your neck from looking down at your mobile device to text, FaceTime, check emails or browse the news? Have you ever been on a Zoom call while also scrolling through your phone at the same time?

You’re not alone – a recent study shows that 39% of people have been using their phones more during COVID-19 and that 54% are relying more on WiFi.

Although you may have used your mobile devices a lot before the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount you are using them now may have exponentially increased. Here are some reasons:

  • You’re working from home, but you’re not forced to put your phone down for in-person interactions.
  • You have free time between virtual meetings or conference calls, but don’t have enough time to take a walk or grab a snack, so you might pick up your phone for a few minutes and check social media.
  • If you’re a parent or caregiver, you may be using children’s learning apps.
  • You may be using your phone more to order food, have work calls, check your email and stay in touch with friends and family.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, mobile usage will continue to rise as people use phones and tablets for everything from ordering groceries, attending telehealth appointments, hosting virtual happy hours, ordering takeout and even using contactless payment apps when venturing out.

With all of these things in mind, think about how your prospects are consuming media right now – you may need to adjust the way you are communicating and offering information to them to keep them engaged and focused on furthering their education.

The data on increased mobile usage

A recent study done by Valassis, a leading marketing data and research firm, shows that people are modifying their online behaviors:

  • Usage is up during working hours, showing reliance on both smartphones and desktops.
  • Mobile usage is more prominent in web browsers than apps.
  • Consumers are seeking more serious topics like finance, the economy and healthcare, while cutting back on entertainment.
  • People are focusing on books and news, electronics and food as they are at home more.
  • Consumers are seeking a normal routine.

There’s no better time for the higher ed industry to connect with prospects who are seeking a sense of normalcy. Schools can use this data to modify their communications as they shift largely toward a mobile-first mentality.

Ways to go mobile

As you evaluate your marketing strategy, you may find ways that you can optimize your marketing budget with cost-effective solutions that target your prospects directly.

Choosing the right digital advertising platforms has never been so important. As consumers are shifting more toward a mobile mentality, you’ll want to examine your advertising strategies that are intended to target specific prospects on social media like Facebook and LinkedIn as well as Google Ads. You’ve got a captive audience so using your platform to connect with prospects on an emotional level can go a long way.

Optimize your website for SEO. When keywords are done right, you can increase the quantity and quality of organic (unpaid) traffic to your site. Be sure that you are constantly updating your keywords and website content with COVID-specific terms and questions that relate to what your prospects are asking about in the current landscape. This will boost your visibility while at the same time reassuring your prospects that you are focused on them and their needs. Also be sure that your website is mobile optimized and can be viewed consistently in a variety of browsing capacities.

Continue hosting (and marketing) virtual events that can be attended from a phone, tablet or desktop. Leading up to your final application deadlines it’s important to meet your prospects where they feel comfortable. Providing alternatives to meet online to get their questions answered can provide a sense of safety and give them the confidence they need to make decisions.

As you navigate this time of uncertainty, don’t hesitate to lean on partners who have experience in developing mobile messaging in the higher ed industry. GPRS can help you evaluate the industry trends, quickly shift your digital advertising and brainstorm ways to pivot your messaging to connect with prospects as their media habits are changing.