Mobile apps are taking over as the preferred teen communication channel
Apps, short for mobile applications, have become the standard for smartphone users for a simple reason – they allow us to perform tasks quicker and easier. They help us access information and online services faster, with a simple, fast and comprehensive user experience. Apps are gaining popularity with both adults and teens alike, with 52% of teens ages 13 to 17 spending 3+ hours a day on messaging apps according to a recent Google survey. This mobile first shift means that any organization looking to access and attract teens, including higher education institutions, need to reevaluate their communication strategy.
If you’re having trouble buying into the concept that teens are replacing other forms of communication with apps, consider this, there’s an app for almost everything these days. Banking, news, travel, photos, social networking, messaging, and more. It doesn’t matter what the activity is or how important it is, if it simplifies and speeds up a process it’s a winner with users. Don’t have change to pay a parking meter? There’s an app for that. Want to pre-order and pay for your coffee in advance at a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks ? There’s an app for that. The applications for apps are endless – and most are FREE to download and use, installing in just a few minutes or less.
3 Key Benefits of Applying App Technology to the College Search
With adults and teens alike relying on their phones for just about every aspect of daily life, why not extend the mobile experience to the college search experience? And the recruitment communications that follow?
Image you are a high school Junior starting a college search from scratch online or using a website that has college search tools. Where do you start? How do you go about finding a college that meets your expectations and criteria? What’s that experience like?
A typical search will result in dozens of colleges. Which do you pick first? Have you ever tried finding something on a website on your first visit? It takes a long time, right? Now imagine doing that for every site that comes up in your search, with each site organizing the information differently. It could take hours, even days. An app easily solves this problem.
1. Targeted Search for Students & Colleges
With an app, a student can search for colleges based on their criteria and then explore a targeted list of suggested colleges. And every college profile is formatted the same, so they can quickly scan the results and dive deeper into the colleges of interest. Apps like the CiMobile App also allow students to communicate directly with participating colleges by simply clicking prompts in the app as an interested candidate. Colleges can then access the student’s self-contributed profiles to get to know the candidate and use in-app messaging to reach out to them directly. No forms to fill. No extra steps.
2. Personalized Content
What should a college do next to engage and nurture the interested candidate? Most will send an email or brochure in the mail. But to a tech savvy teen it’s like asking someone born in 1920 to hop on their smart phone and send a text message. It just doesn’t fit the way teens communicate. These “digital age” kids have grown up with ipads, smart phones and every imaginable mobile app out there, from gaming to chatting, to social media – and their brains are wired differently because of it. Most importantly, they consume content differently than previous generations.
The same apps that attract candidates can also be used to communicate with and engage your audience to create a personalized user experience that teens are accustomed to. This is the number one reason why mobile app engagement is so effective. The key to keeping candidates engaged, is to provide relevant and personalized content. Mobile apps make it easy to track user behaviors and trends and tee up the right personalized content using a simple, scalable, and fully automated process. No other channel has the flexibility and customization available through a mobile app. It’s a data driven process that simply outperforms other marketing channels 10 to 1.
3. Qualified Engagement
A mobile app also puts the power of what content is delivered in the hands of the individual. We all get hundreds of unwanted emails and tons of junk mail in our mailboxes (snail mail). Unsubscribing doesn’t work! Your name just gets purchased again and again by marketers. But with a mobile app you can control how and what you receive and from whom. Students will continue to opt to receive information from and interact with schools they are interested in, so you can spend more time nurturing qualified candidates – increasing ROI and enrollment outcomes.
So, the next time you ask the question ‘Who would download a mobile app to explore our college and communicate with us?’, stop for a moment and look around to see who’s on their smartphones. If you look at a room of teens in a social setting, I bet you will see 90% or more using their phone within a 5-minute window. This is where they live – on their phones. And what are they doing – running a mobile app! Apps are what today’s teens rely on to run their lives. Get in tune with today’s teen audience and begin engaging with them where they are. The results will astonish you!
Learn how the CiEngage platform can help you quickly build a mobile strategy to attract your next incoming class of college applicants.