The Importance of Quality Digital Marketing Content: Some Negative Role Models

digital marketingI have the opportunity to look at a lot of digital marketing produced by educational institutions and am sorry to say that most of it is of subpar quality.  Sometimes, I’ll even take a screenshot of an unimpressive example and send it to the colleague from the offending institution with a diplomatic suggestion or two for improvement. 

Here are a few examples of how not to use digital marketing, which result in a waste of precious time and marketing money.

Facebook Ad in English:  Since this is Viet Nam, it makes sense to have your ad in Vietnamese, if you want Vietnamese netizens to click on it.  If you are using the same ad in many countries, you might want to consider a country-specific approach.  One size does not fit all in marketing, as in many other areas involving different target audiences.

In addition, parents are the key decision makers and very few are proficient in English.  Most decide where their children will study and, in the case of higher education, what they will study.  In a discussion about hard copy promotional materials, I once had a US colleague tell me her institution expected a certain level of English proficiency, e.g., 79/80 TOEFL iBT score.  My (obvious) response was it’s more for the parents, who control the purse strings. 

It’s also a good idea to make it easy for young people to understand the information – easily and quickly.  They’ll have plenty of time to perfect their English, if they complete the long path from application, to admission, to visa issuance, to arrival in the host country, and your school.

Unspiring Text and Photo:  The quality and appeal of both the text and photo are key determinants of whether or not someone will click on it to obtain more information.  I’ve seen barren photos that are unlikely to motivate a Vietnamese student or parent to click for more.

Landing Page in English:  Even if you have excellent text in Vietnamese and an exciting photo, the process may end abruptly, if the link takes them to an English language landing page.  It’s best to have that information in Vietnamese or both languages.

For all of the above, you should solicit in country feedback from members of your target audience using a focus group.  At worst, it’s back to the drawing board,  Or perhaps only a few minor edits are required.  This could very well mean the difference between effective digital marketing and so much virtual pissing in the wind, to coin a phrase.  

Peace, MAA

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The Art & Science of Creating Good Videos

youtube

Vietnamese get most of their information from online sources, including social media, primarily Facebook.  They also watch a lot of video, 2 hours, 43 minutes a day, to be precise, according to the results of the annual We Are Social and Hootsuite update.  As a result, YouTube ranks 4th among all websites in Viet Nam, according to SimilarWeb.  It is for this reason that videos should be an integral part of any digital marketing campaign. 

I see a lot of online videos intended to promote various educational institutions but not very many quality ones that young people, i.e., potential international students, would actually watch.  In all honesty, most fall into the bad and ugly categories.  Here are two examples.  It would be best to illustrate my points by showing you real videos but that’s not possible, for obvious reasons, the most important of which I would not want to embarrass the offending parties.

Low quality content:  A lot of videos I see are of the talking head variety.  Either students are sitting or standing in one location talking about their school and related experiences, or someone is interviewing them using a talk show format. 

In one video, the students being interviewed looked like prisoners, sitting with hands folder, and dutifully answering question after question.  In another, a student was obviously reading off of a script and looking into the camera with the occasional nervous smile.  Not convincing, invariably boring and, sometimes, painful, to watch. 

Vietnamese students will click on the link, watch for a second or two, and then quickly move elsewhere in search of more inspirational, educational, and/or meaningful content. 

Poor sound quality:  Content aside, many videos are not professional or even semi-professional.  Either staff or students are using substandard equipment and do not have experience making videos for the demographic in question.  It’s like with photography.  Everyone with a smartphone is a “photographer” but very few know how to take good photos worth looking at. 

nas dailyNas Daily is an example from Facebook that I often share with colleagues.  His daily one-minute videos are crisp, fast-paced, and a pleasure to watch and listen to with commentary, interviews, and background music.   He has over 5.8 million followers and over a billion views, which means he must be doing something right.  The point is his videos are worth watching. 

Peace, MAA

How the Vietnamese Use the Internet, Including Social Media

Since most young Vietnamese, including those planning to study overseas, are online, one question to ask yourself is: how big is your digital footprint in Viet Nam?

logo-newerHere is my latest PIE News blog post.  It’s about an important topic that I discussed during my E20 webinar last week and in my recent StudyUSA Higher Education Fairs country briefing and discussion. 

Peace, MAA

Vietnam climbs to seventh worldwide for number of Facebook users: report

top 10 countries FB

This is the latest top 10 ranking for Viet Nam and it’s extraordinary like the country itself, in many respects.  It was not that many years ago when Vietnamese Facebook accounts numbered in the hundreds of thousands.  What is especially striking is the 40% increase in only six months. 

In a population of about 96 million, rounded up, suffice it to say that Facebook is about to plateau, if it hasn’t already.  Yes, Facebook is the #1 website in Viet Nam, according to SimilarWeb and Facebook Messenger is the #1 chat app in a very crowded and competitive marketplace of chat apps.

Viet Nam is one of the reasons why Facebook earned $8.03 billion in revenue and $1.04 actual EPS in the first quarter of this year with nearly 2 billion users.

In its latest quarterly report, Facebook beat analyst expectations on profitability and on revenue for the ninth straight quarter.  Viet Nam is one of the reasons why total revenues were $9.32 billion, a 45% increase over last year’s second quarter.  The greatest contributing factor was mobile advertising.  (For better and for worse, just over 2 billion people, an estimated 27% of the entire human race, are on Facebook.)

If you want to advertise any product or service in Viet Nam, especially for young people but , increasingly, for their parents, too, you have to use Facebook.  This is one reason why Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth, which currently stands at $72.7 billion, making him the planet’s 5th-wealthiest person, will continue to increase.

MAA