In today’s increasingly mobile-connected world, colleges and universities need mobile websites. Without one, you may be alienating a large chunk of your target audience: mobile-dependent, college-age millennials. Here are 5 reasons why colleges and universities need mobile websites.
1. You’re Getting Left Behind without One
Almost 60% of universities had some form of a mobile presence in 2012. In 2013, that number to increase significantly. If you’re a university or college that doesn’t have a mobile website or mobile app, it’s clear that you are falling behind the pack.
Still not convinced that universities need mobile websites? A recent study performed by Google found that 67% of mobile web users will react favorably to a brand, organization or institution that has a mobile website. On the other hand, 61% of mobile users will immediately look for another site if they aren’t greeted with a mobile-friendly interface.
2. Students Are More Connected to Mobile than Anyone
Adults 18-24 are the prime users of smartphones. The check Facebook 14 times a day, they send and receive more than 4,000 texts per month, and they’re starting to use the mobile web more than on their PCs or laptops. This means that college-age millennials with be the first to notice if your university is lacking a mobile website.
Whether they’re high school seniors researching colleges or a student currently enrolled in your university, this emerging segment of the population values innovation and mobile connectivity. Without a mobile presence, universities may run the risk of alienating their prime target audience.
3. Mobile Users are Local Searchers
While online marketing for higher education is typically performed on a national scale, colleges and universities can’t ignore local competition. All demographics of mobile users are throwing out the yellow pages and turning to their smartphones for local searches. In fact, 50% of mobile search is related to a local topic. Again, if local smartphone searchers are sent to a desktop version of your website, they’ll seek an alternative.
4. You’re Losing Ground in Mobile Search Engines
Mobile search usage has increased 500% in the past two years. If you’re university has an ongoing SEO campaign, desktop tactics may not translate to success on Google or Bing mobile. For instance, mobile users do not search with long-tail keywords. In order to capture mobile web traffic, you’ll need to focus on shorter, concise keywords. Instead of “best university in Memphis with an MBA program” focus on “Memphis MBA programs.”
5. They’re Pretty Cheap to Make
When compared the development cost of an Android or iOS app, mobile websites are the cheapest way for your university to hop on the mobile bandwagon. Although apps are the hot topic for mobile marketing, mobile websites allow you to go mobile quickly and reach users across all platforms.
The best part: if your current desktop website is built on an open source platform like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, you can go mobile in just a few easy steps. These CMS platforms offer plug-ins that convert your current website into a mobile friendly version without much hassle.