Thursday night at 7pm and why it's important to education marketers

Research with one of our FE colleges has found that the most popular time for starting and submitting an application is on a Thursday.

Over the week, over 60% of applications are submitted outside of college opening hours.

Here’s a breakdown of the key information from the research:

Applications started

There are two key times when students start their applications; 24% of applications are started between 10am and 2pm, and over 42% of applications are started between the hours of 5-10pm.

The most popular time to start an application is on Thursday at 7pm.

This differs slightly from the times when students submit their applications, as not as many submit their applications during the daytime; more prefer to submit their applications in the evening or at weekends.

This indicates that students might be starting applications during the day, perhaps whilst at school, and submitting them in the evening from home, perhaps after discussing options with influencers like friends and parents.

Applications submitted

Which day of the week is most popular?

Thursday is the most popular day of the week for submitting applications, with 18.8% of applications submitted.

What time of day is most popular for submitting college applications?

Throughout the week, 60.1% of applications are submitted outside of normal college opening hours.

Monday to Friday, the most popular time for submitting an application is in the evening, with 49% of applications submitted between the hours of 5pm and 10pm. college application submissions peak at 7pm.

Why is it normally difficult to tell when students are online?

Due to the various laws surrounding children’s online privacy and protection, it is difficult to track Internet use and website traffic of under 18s.  So knowing when KS4 students (ages 14-16) are online and accessing a FE college’s website can be very problematic.

Students accessing FE college websites from their school or family computer may not be captured, or may be captured as the wrong age, depending on the settings on the device they use. Students under the age of 18 accessing FE college websites from their own devices may not be captured in demographic data at all, as Google Analytics (GA) does not track visitors who are under 18, using connected accounts like email and social media to determine user age. Unless their behaviour is accounted for somewhere, GA data is likely to be misleading for many FE college websites.

Using online application and enrolment technology, we can better track student website preferences, and find out when students start and submit their online applications.

What does this mean for colleges?

The research shows that many students are starting and submitting applications outside of normal working hours. This supports the necessity for an online application provision, to allow students to make their applications quickly, and at times that suit them. Allowing students to act immediately on their decision to apply for a place at college helps to reduce the amount of drop-off, or abandonment. With eCommerce, research shows that if shoppers have to wait before making their purchase, they are less likely to carry out the transaction. Similarly, if students browse a college website during an evening and decide they’d like to apply for a place, but have to wait until the next day to phone or apply in person, they are less likely to do so.

By removing barriers, such as only being able to make applications and enrol in person during office hours, colleges make it easier for students to apply, which in turn helps to increase applications and conversion rates.

Conversion rates and retargeting

The research showed that on average, just over 60% of students who started an application online went on to submit it. By capturing student data at the start of the application process, colleges can communicate with students who start but don’t complete an application. This could be online, through retargeting ads, or directly through emails or phone calls. Using an online application system that integrates with existing CRMs and MISs can help to manage conversion campaigns of students who abandon their applications, in the same way that retailers address shopping cart abandonment.

Online application software: eEnrol

eEnrol is a unique website solution which manages student applications from enquiry through to enrolment and automated payment. As well as allowing students to apply online, it integrates with CRMs and MISs, and allows colleges to track applications and increase the conversion of applications started.

 

For more information about eEnrol, and to find out how it could benefit your students and your college, visit www.eenrol.co.uk

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