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Internet Marketing and Web Development in Higher Education and other tidbits…

3 Big Takeaways for Higher Ed From The Future of Digital Slides

04 Dec 2012

written by Kyle James

3 Big Takeaways for Higher Ed From The Future of Digital Slides

Last week Business Insider posted a 137 slide deck filled with data showing us the evolution of digital. I love data, especially data like this. These slides provide excellent insight into so many different types of user adoption and spending in the online world. The reason this is especially important is because innovation is much more likely to follow the money, and this gives us some insight into where we can expect to see digital investments going in the future.

View the slides

Applying my higher education lens, I noticed three high level themes that I wanted to share and expand upon.

The Continued Takeover of Mobile

internet connected devices 3 Big Takeaways for Higher Ed From The Future of Digital Slides

First of all, the section with mobile data (starting on slide 66) is a must-view. Mobile is nothing new to any of our readers. Of the conferences I attended in the past year mobile web and specifically responsive web design have taken over social media as the buzz subject.

I think the mind shift that we have to understand is that users use their tablets and mobile devices as content consumers, not deep content producers. This means they might type their email address into a form, but we can’t expect them to fill out an application, write a detailed email or make a complicated purchase on this device. These devices carve out a nice user consumption market, but people still rely on laptops and PCs for deep content creation.

As a side note we should be watching location-based activity (starting on slide 100). Besides it being relevant for mobile advertising it can greatly enhances the relevance for the audience. With smart phone location based technologies there are hundreds of useful applications that could be created for your campus. As a teaser, think beyond necessities like bus routes or hours of food locations. Can you imagine your entire calendar being tied into location based services so individuals can see activities happening soon near to their current location?

Advertising Spend Changes

You have to go where people’s attention is focused and that is online. We aren’t saying, and probably never will, that print doesn’t work, but the case can be made stronger than ever that online advertising is the best bang for your buck. We see that the holy grail for large advertisers, television, is also being affected by these changes (starting on slide 36). It is also important to notice Google’s dominance in the online advertising (slide 51 and slide 96) and also how they are winning the mobile battles (slide 95 and slide 114 outline this well).

I would say the takeaway is if you want to dabble in online advertising then Google is obviously the one to test for the most leverage and exposure for your buck. I’m sure I’m going to get some Facebook advertisers slam me on this.

online advertising market 3 Big Takeaways for Higher Ed From The Future of Digital Slides

The Disruption of eCommerce

Another big theme in the presentation is that people are getting more comfortable making purchases online. Think about the services that bring in revenue for you. Is it possible to donate online? Can students or parents pay their tuition bills online? Do you have a “bookstore” type presence so that school merchandise can easily be purchased online?

Also it probably isn’t enough anymore to simply be able to say that you can make a purchase or donate  online. You need to ask if it is a good user experience. How many clicks does it take me to donate? Can you save my user profile and information so I don’t have to punch in my credit card number every time?

The initial takeaway on eCommerce is what is your strategy and how are you doing? Once you have that up and running then you need to come back and think about how you take this initiative mobile.

If you want more on data related to eCommerce just think about Black Friday. If you look at any of the Black Friday retail data it is very apparent that eCommerce grew by a 26% annual clip vs traditional brick and mortar sales, which grew in the low single digits. The entire way we shop is being disrupted.


So those are three macro level takeaways I gathered from this collection of data. As always I think these points show how vitally important it is that you have your digital marketing is on sound footing and that you have a solid team to manage it. If you don’t have that this in place then scrambling to address thre three items above is going to be impossible anyway.

What did you think? Did you have any other takeaways that schools can leverage?

View the slides

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About the author

Kyle James

Kyle is the CEO & Co-Founder at nuCloud and formerly the webmaster at Wofford College. He also spent almost 4 years at HubSpot doing a range of jobs including inbound marketing consulting, sales, management, and product management.  Kyle is an active contributor in the social media spectrum. Although his background is technical, he claims to know a thing or two about marketing, but mostly that revolves around SEO, analytics, blogging, and social media. He has spoken at multiple national conferences and done countless webinars on topics ranging from e-mail marketing to social media and Web analytics. He's definitely a fairly nice guy.

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