Have you got the parents on side yet?

Eleana Davidson on 15 July 2020
Have you got the parents on side yet?

The new academic year is fast approaching, with recruitment targets and business goals creeping in even quicker. With how 2020 has already played out, and September just around the corner, anything you can do at this point to further understand the student mindset is a no-brainer. Every student and conversion matters. 

This week’s tracker insights act as yet another reminder that students don’t make these big decisions on their own, and in order to hit those targets and engage with your students, you need to ‘think parent’ too. Here’s what we learnt: 

15% of prospective students say that their parents’ concerns about Covid-19 have impacted their university choices. 

When asked how their parents’ concerns have affected them, half of students state that they are now applying for university closer to home. This is followed by 15% who have postponed applying, and 15% who have applied to universities based on their Covid-19 policies. Parents really do have an impact. 

And this isn’t all we’ve uncovered either. This week’s report also revealed that four in 10 students are concerned about their university going bust. Yet another thing to add to the list of parental concerns.

While a lot of parental worries may be shared by the students, we’ve seen that students rank what is important to them very differently when their parents aren’t taken into consideration. 91% of students told us that a university offering the right course was very important to them, followed by 79% saying student satisfaction was key. Academic facilities and university rankings were rated closely behind. Only after those factors did universities’ responses to Covid-19 come into focus, with just 45% claiming they were an important deciding factor. A figure that has dropped seven percentiles in just a two-week window. 

This shows the importance of targeting both students and their influencers in your comms and advertising. But tailored messaging is crucial. What may be inspiring, reassuring and motivating for one group, won’t always be the case for the other. And to make your lives easier, you need both students and their parents on board. If 15% of students have already admitted that their plans have changed due to their parents’ concerns, and you’re not reaching out to that audience of decision-influencers, it’s a whole lot of missed opportunity. 

A quick top tip from our advertising experts in light of this research and because we’re feeling generous so close to Clearing: 

Use your own data to set up look-a-like and custom audiences on Facebook to target potential students and their influencers. Targeted carousel ads work really well if you’re aiming them at students and parents as they allow you to tell your brand story in a really creative, personalised and narrative-driven way. With the student group tell the story of opportunity, experience and success. And with the parent group tell tales of safety, flexibility and compassion. 

But don’t just think how to target parents, think where. We found that 50% of students whose parents’ concerns have impacted their choices have applied to a university closer to home than they originally planned. So think local; targeting parents in the areas surrounding your university, or those easily accessible via public transport. Reassure parents that your institution is the sensible choice; close to home, easily accessible, and offering that supportive university environment that their children will thrive in. 

If you would like to find out what else we discovered in this week’s report, you can upgrade today to receive the full tracker. But most importantly, if you aren’t yet targeting parents to get them on side, get in touch with our team of experts today before it’s too late. 

Eleana Davidson
Eleana Davidson on 15 July 2020