US Colleges and Universities Report Social Media ROI, Decreases Costs and Increases Efficiency According to New Study by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

92% of undergraduate admissions officers agree that social media is worth the investment they make in it.

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Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, Senior Fellow, Society for New Communications Research

Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., SNCR Senior Fellow and Research Co-Chair and Director of the Center for Marketing Research at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

"This is the first time a study has documented ROI for those using social media in the high-ed sector," stated Barnes

Palo Alto, CA / Dartmouth, MA (PRWEB) July 26, 2012

US Colleges and Universities are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and downloadable mobile apps to recruit and decreasing their use of newspaper, television, radio and printing. One in 3 schools say that social media is more efficient than traditional media in reaching their target audience. These were among the key findings of the latest study conducted by the Society for New Communications Research Senior Fellow and Research Co-Chair Nora Ganim Barnes and Ava M. Lescault of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research.

The new report is the outcome of a statistically valid study of 4 year accredited colleges in the US. The study examined these schools to detail their adoption of social media tools and technologies. It also looked at how using social media impacted their budgets and how their investment in social media would look in the next year.

Key findings of this study include:

  • 92% of undergraduate admissions officers agree that social media is worth the investment they make in it and 86% plan to increase their investment in social media in the next year.
  • One in 3 schools say social media is more efficient than traditional media in reaching their target audience (this number increases to 44% for top MBA programs).
  • Reduced costs for traditional media are attributed to use of social media. Schools report 33% less spent on printing, 24% less spent on newspaper ads and 17% less spent on radio and TV ads.
  • The most useful tools for recruiting undergraduates include Facebook (94%), YouTube (81%), Twitter (69%) and Downloadable Mobile Apps (51%). Mobile apps are a favorite of top MBA programs with 82% citing them as an effective recruiting tool.
  • Monitoring the schools name and relevant online conversation has declined over the past few years. In 2009-2010, 73% reported monitoring their brand. In 2010-2011, that number dropped to 68% and now is reported to be 47%. This could have consequences for any school that becomes the target of negative online buzz and is unaware of that conversation.
  • Less than half of those surveyed have a written social media policy for their school. In the 2009-2010 academic year 32% had such a policy. That number increased to 44% in 2010-2011 and now stands at 49%. While this increase is encouraging, it is disconcerting to note that less than half have a social media policy and that 19% of the undergraduate admissions officer report they did not know if any such policy existed at their school.
  • 29% of the schools surveyed report having no social media plan in place for their Admission Office. An additional 15% of schools surveyed report not knowing if there is a social media plan in place.
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  • 78% schools surveyed that these tools have changed the way they recruit.

“This is the first time a study has documented ROI for those using social media in the high-ed sector,” stated Barnes. “It is interesting to see that colleges and universities are moving away from printing and other traditional media tools and moving towards using social media tools," added Barnes.

A full copy of the new research report as well as an infographic summary can be downloaded at: http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/socialmedia

Additionally, Barnes and Lescault will publish a paper based on the findings in an upcoming issue of the Society for New Communications Research’s Journal of New Communications Research.

About the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

To facilitate the economic development of the region by providing an affordable, high-quality economic alternative to meeting business needs for research, training, and consulting in any and all aspects of Marketing. The Center for Marketing Research is associated with and maintains a close relationship with the Chambers of Commerce within southeastern Massachusetts. This unique relationship provides the Center with an effective business networking capability. For more information, visit http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/.

About the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR)

The Society for New Communications Research is a global nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education foundation and think tank focused on the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect on traditional media and business models, communications, culture and society. For more information, visit http://sncr.org.