We live in the age of skimming. Many people, young people in particular, simply ‘skim’ a web page when they land on it, looking quickly for relevance to their lives and interests. The implications for this in terms of enrollment management marketing are enormous. How do we get a potential student to not only land on the page but also make the decision we ask of them?
A recent study by Enrollment Resources, Inc. seems to have the answer: captions. Gregg Meiklejohn, co-founder of the company, wrote in a recent article that captions beneath a photo or video on the web can increase conversion rates by 23 percent.
Here’s how they tested it: they placed a video on the web and beneath it placed the caption, “See why professional figure skater Violetta Afanasieva chose (college-name).” The goal was to get students to complete a contact form on the side of the page.
Meiklejohn suggests two things. One, that words like “see” and “why” and “chose” has an effect on the viewer, in that it “suggests results that the visitor can learn about.” Also, using the phrase “professional figure skater” offers credibility — this person is “someone successful in a different career making the same change to a different career.”
The goal of all web marketing is simply to get the viewer to look, but also to follow through with the call to action — in this case completing the contact form. Featuring a caption beneath a video grabs the attention of “skimmers” who are scanning the page rather than reading in full.
Meiklejohn explains the 23 percent conversion rate this way: “Well, if 1,000 people view the video, then 230 folks will complete a lead form. If 5 percent convert to students at $20,000 per, then that works out to a … wait for it … a $230,000 lift in enrollment revenue. How cool is that?”
The study is not completed yet, as the company will now test the same caption but using an ordinary student rather than a perceived celebrity — but they’re betting that the conversion rate will be just as high.
Videos and images are important for enrollment management, as it allows students a glimpse into the potential life that awaits them, and especially who their fellow students might be, which is to say, their peers. So images and videos, with their attendant captions, can have a big impact on the success of our call to action.
By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed