The Value of Visual Content
From cave drawings, Polaroids, and now 360-degree immersive experiences, the world of visual communication has changed drastically. We can understand visual content in an instant. Not to mention, we can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This fact explains why YouTube is the most popular platform among Generation Z, with 85% visiting the site daily. That is to say, by nature, we are visual beings. Thus what we see has a profound impact on how we feel and the actions we take. We see this in the behavior and desires of today’s potential students.
Seven out of ten students indicate they will watch videos from an institution; likewise, they name content published/promoted by an institution (on a .edu) is their most trusted source of information.
So then, their desire to consume information visually has had a significant impact on the way students are researching and vetting potential colleges.
Similarly, when they start researching colleges to attend, they are naturally drawn to visual content. A recent study deep dived into how digital engagement influences the way high school seniors choose a college. Unsurprisingly, seventy-six percent of high school seniors said they have watched a video on a college website, and fifty-five percent said they want to see videos that portrayed the sounds, sights, and environment of the campus. However, while visual content can begin to satisfy their desire to engage in campus life and culture – at the touch a screen – there are limitations.
Traditional photos, maps, and videos cannot tell your campuses story. Also, they can’t evoke the emotional reaction a student has when physically experiencing it. As such, they are mediocre tools at best for differentiating and conveying culture. Additionally, traditional content is a one-way communication with limited impact on the student's experience.
All of this adds up to one simple fact: your digital content is not meeting the expectations of today’s potential students. As a result, you’re unable to reach the full potential of your recruitment strategy.
Institutions across the globe are rightfully harnessing the power of immersive and interactive experiences. As such, they are choosing it over traditional imagery to bring their campuses to life. As it better conveys their unique point of difference.
Immersive content engages one’s sense by combining 360-degree visuals with movement. Thus delivering an experience that evokes emotions one has when physically visiting your campus. Interactive content encourages visitor participation in the experience. Likewise, it responds to visitor actions providing additional information in the form of text, photos, and videos.
The institutions that have adapted to this new era of immersive storytelling have achieved incredible success in their efforts to recruit potential students. For example, fifty-four percent of high school seniors said they have participated in an immersive campus experience, from their smartphones.
For our part, Institutions that have a YouVisit experience on their website increase the effectiveness and ROI of their recruitment strategy, and the proof is in the results:
- 10.4 minutes of prospective student participation
- 18% increase in quality inquiries and applications
- 27% increase in physical campus tours