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Higher Ed Websites

Watch The State of Higher Ed Websites, which discusses our findings on websites and digital positions from over 250 higher ed marketing leaders.

Recalibrating Higher Ed’s Digital Compass

In the spring of 2021, we surveyed over 170 higher-education CMOs, CIOs, and IT departments in our State of Higher Ed Website and Marketing Technology Study and found that investing in a robust technological infrastructure was foundational for institutions to thrive. By doing so, they would unlock the full potential of their online presence, enriching the website journey for all stakeholders.

So, did it happen?

Website experiences remain a priority despite declining budgets and competing digital investments.

Two sets of bar charts display budget changes for two different areas in 2021 and 2023.
The top set shows spending on web design, development, and support. In 2021, 45% saw an increase, 39% stayed the same, 15% decreased, and 1% didn’t know. For 2023, the amounts are 32% increased, 51% stayed the same, and 17% decreased.
The bottom set shows spending to place (not produce) digital advertising. In 2021, 53% saw an increase, 34% stayed the same, 12% decreased, and 1% didn’t know. The 2023 amounts are 45% increased, 42% stayed the same, 11% decreased, and 2% didn’t know.

Institutions may not be fully harnessing their analytics to inform and optimize their content.

A set of two pie charts, the left one showing 55% of colleges/universities have regular reporting of digital analytics to leadership while 45% do not, and the right one indicating 80% of institutions have Google Analytics 4 (GA4) set up on their website while 20% do not.

Staffing patterns indicate prioritization of content creation and social media engagement but also reveal potential areas for improvement.

A horizontal bar chart displaying the percentage of departments that have various roles in-house on a full-time equivalent basis. The roles shown are: Social Media Role (91%), Content Producer (82%), Web/UI Designer (64%), Content Strategist (63%), Web/UI Designer (53%), SEO Role (34%), and UX Role (32%).

While higher ed is making meaningful progress in the digital landscape, institutions need to prioritize investing in digital solutions in order to stay competitive and relevant.

The transformation of the university web presence requires proactive leadership, strategic vision, and a willingness to embrace innovation. While we are seeing more institutions invest in this crucial area, our data shows that many still struggle with declining budgets and lower prioritization from leadership. By prioritizing user experience, content quality, SEO, personalization, analytics, and strategic partnerships, CMOs can ensure that their institution's website remains a dynamic and relevant hub for engagement, ultimately shaping its future success in the digital age.

Download the full report

Download the higher ed websites report to see more data, learn why this matters, and read strategies to enhance your higher ed website.

Brand Measurement

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