College mobile strategies are falling short

It’s not so much that colleges and universities included in a recent survey had under-funded mobile technology initiatives. Many didn’t have a mobile presence at all.

college-mobile-strategiesWhile many schools have had mobile websites since the late-2000s, more than 70 percent of Pennsylvania and New Jersey colleges surveyed by brand marketing firm Princeton Partners did not have a mobile presence, while half of the campuses surveyed that had a mobile presence showed major deficiencies.

The problems with shortcomings in a college’s mobile website is obvious to anyone familiar with the way students use smart phones and tablets.

About six in 10 students surveyed in the Princeton Partners report said they were “unlikely to ever return to a website if they had trouble viewing it on their mobile device.”

That could spell trouble for any school hoping to woo prospective students with an updated technology presence.

How colleges can drive more traffic to their websites

Jeanne Oswald, former executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education who serves as an industry advisor to Princeton Partners, said the well-documented spike in the use of mobile devices as a primary web-surfing tool caught many schools off guard.

“The rapid increase in use of mobile devices has left many schools ill-equipped to address the needs of what marketers now call ‘constantly connected consumers,'” Oswald said.

Among the shortcomings of the college mobile sites examined in the survey was a failure to “acknowledge the significant differences in how mobile users consume and share information.”

Some PC-based college websites, in fact, were directly replicated in full to the mobile platform — a strategy campus technologists have warned against for years.