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How to Win at Enrollment Marketing on YouTube

By collegemktgrp | March 23, 2020 | Universities

This blog is Part 2 of our series looking at how universities are boosting enrollment with social media. Last time we looked at features of the most successful university Facebook profiles. This article is all about how to win at enrollment marketing on YouTube.

Current college student demographics show us that most students are part of Generation Z. And out of all the ways to reach Gen Z online, YouTube is one of the most powerful.

Over 90% of Generation Z uses YouTube, with 60% showing increased time spent on the platform in the last year.

For universities looking to attract more students and boost enrollment, these are powerful statistics. As more and more high schoolers get their own smart phones and access to high-speed internet expands across the nation, video continues to be one of the best college marketing ideas to connect with inbound college students.

So how can universities use YouTube to boost their enrollment marketing efforts for college students?

It’s not just about the videos you make. It’s also about how you present them on YouTube, and how you take advantage of the platform’s features to create more engagement opportunities with potential enrollees.

Our 7 tips for enrollment marketing on YouTube:

1. Make Application How-To Videos
2. Offer Campus Life Highlights
3. Publicize Lectures and Featured Speakers with Video
4. Produce Edutainment Reels
5. Segment Your Videos into Playlists
6. Get Right to the Point
7. Advertise Your Videos to the YouTube Audience

Make Application How-To Videos

Since your goal is college enrollment, what could be more effective than a series of short, easily-digestible videos explaining all the steps of applying to your school?

Gen Z students are more likely to consume information via video. Distilling the blocks of copy that are hidden in your website into short, fun videos is a good way to help get more students to understand the application process.

You can cover a whole range of topics in these videos, including:

  • Basic admission requirements
  • Helpful tips on writing a college admission essay
  • Tuition costs and financial assistance information
  • Your process for reviewing applications and choosing students

These types of videos can be effective in lowering the barrier to access for students who want to apply to your school, but feel intimidated by the process.

Offer Campus Life Highlights

Part of any potential student’s college decision is the life they imagine for themselves at your school. You can use your blog to talk about how great student life is on your campus, but nothing proves it like video.

The new college experience is exciting, especially for freshmen getting away from home for the first time in their lives. To really stand out, you need to think beyond “fun.”

When it comes to highlighting student life, it’s best to focus on what makes your school special. Are you known for your world-class swim team? Or have you educated some of today’s top film directors, Grammy-winning musicians, or bestselling book authors?

Whatever it is, use your student life videos to connect the dots between how life on your campus is what makes your school stand out and what ultimately results in the success of your students.

Another option here is to make your campus life video content double as virtual campus tours. Walk viewers through parts of campus so they can see it for themselves. Stop along the way to show different aspects of campus life, so they can really get a feel for what it’s like to attend your school.

Publicize Lectures and Featured Speakers with Video

Posting video of entire lectures, classes, and featured speakers is great for your current students who slept in and are trying to catch up. But it’s also an excellent way to connect with non-students who are genuinely interested in the subject matter.

A teen searching for a video to better understand aerodynamics for a school project may not even be considering going to your school. But when they see the quality of your educational program first-hand, you create a connection point that could be the beginning of further interest in your school.

In digital marketing, we call this a lead. Every lead has the potential to convert into a customer. And the more leads you can generate, the more chances for conversion.

Produce “Edutainment” Reels

“Edutainment” videos have a similar purpose as lecture videos. However, these are produced for a wider, more mainstream audience.

Edutainment videos can cover any variety of topics, as long as their subject matter is related to what your school specializes in.

The video above is a good example. Many people may not be specifically interested in the complicated science and physics that goes into designing a back-flipping cheetah robot. But pretty much everyone has to admit that it’s pretty cool.

This type of content is highly shareable, which means it’s likely to get attract more eyeballs beyond just YouTube. You can expect some people who see a video like this to think, “Wow, it’d be awesome to work on robots like that.” That right there is where an awareness-level lead begins.

Segment Your Videos Into Playlists

As you generate more and more videos, it’s important to segment them into playlists of related content. This helps visitors to your YouTube channel easily navigate to the kind of videos they’re looking for.

Maybe a student who stumbled upon your edutainment video a month ago is now excited to apply. Instead of making them dig through hundreds of videos to find that application how-to video (if they even know it exists), a “Future Students” playlist makes it easy for them to get all the content that will help make their process easier.

Some potential playlist ideas for a university YouTube channel include:

  • Recent news
  • Student life
  • How to apply & financial assistance
  • Success stories
  • Student and professor profiles

Get Right to the Point

Generation Z has grown up with the internet, social media, and smart phones. They’re adept at knowing what kind of content is going to be worth their time from the get-go.

The best college marketing videos get right to the point. Make it immediately clear exactly what the video is about, and what it’s going to include before viewers decide to jump off and look for something else.

The prevailing wisdom is that you have 8 seconds to reel in Gen Z viewers. Use this time wisely.

Long opening shots with music and no text or spoken word will likely hurt your chances. Instead, jump right into the meat of your content and give viewers what they came for.

Need more tips on producing your videos? Read our guide on how to make the perfect video for marketing to college students »

Advertise Your Videos to the YouTube Audience

YouTube is more than just a video platform. It’s also a powerful advertising platform.

You can target potential students by age, parental status, household income, gender, interests, and more. You can also retarget people who’ve watched some of your videos before, or who have visited your website in the past.

Additionally, you can target users who are similar to your current audience to bring more viewers to your channel.

The types of ads you can run on YouTube are:


  • 30 second ads played before whatever video a user is watching


  • Ads with no time limit, played before a video — users can skip your ad after 5 seconds


  • 6 second ads played before videos that users cannot skip


  • Your existing videos are displayed as recommended content on the sidebar of whatever video a user is currently watching

The bonus of making enrollment-focused videos for YouTube marketing is that they can be ported over to Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms for effective marketing.

If you’ve got great videos but are struggling to get people to watch them, College Marketing Group can help.

Our digital marketing team works every day to find potential college students on YouTube, Facebook, and Google, and connect them with the content that universities want them to see.

Learn more about our digital marketing services here »

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