Tested Concepts 2

In Fall 2016, we surveyed 612 college prospects who Googled online programs for an MBA, MS in Nursing, or MA in Education. Participants were asked to review sets of banner ads in their chosen career field and indicate how likely they were to click each ad from zero to 10. These ads test which appeals worked best for Incentives, Testimonials, and Reputation. Some of the findings are shown below.

In Fall 2016, we surveyed 612 college prospects who Googled online programs for an MBA, MS in Nursing, or MA in Education. Participants were asked to review sets of banner ads in their chosen career field and indicate how likely they were to click each ad from zero to 10. These ads test which appeals worked best for Incentives, Testimonials, and Reputation. Some of the findings are shown below.

Incentives

MAEd Prospects

Free Books: 45%

$500 Scholarship: 73%

Last Two Courses Free: 54%

Free Laptop: 60%

First Course Free: 88%

Free books seems to be an expected benefit of an online program. Because prospects already have a computer, they don’t value a free laptop as much as they do $500. Interestingly, prospects value the first course free more than two courses at the end. The first course free also has the added appeal of enabling prospects to “test drive” or “sample” the program without cost.

Though all five appeals prompted a high percentage of clicks in the MBA category, the highest was Career Success followed closely by Affordability. These results are very consistent with industry research.

Testimonials

MSN Prospects

Care and Career: 82%

Promotion: 86%

Improved Capability: 75%

Multiple Endorsement: 75%

Ability to Complete: 45%

The most compelling statement a graduate can make seems to be about career success, in particular promotion. Improved capability and patient care are a close second, along with multiple graduates simply offering their unspecific “recommendation.”  The ability to complete the program while maintaining a busy life, was not that important to these prospects.

Again, survey results for MSN prospects were in line with industry research. Career Success was still the top appeal. MSN prospects, however, put a higher than expected value on  Reputation and Satisfaction.

Reputation

MBA Prospects

Recognized Ranking: 45%

Less Recognized Ranking: 45%

Graduate Survey: 84%

Number of Grads: 40%

Graduate Quote: 92%

Third-party reviews, whether highly recognized or not, are not nearly as compelling as relevant facts about the graduates. The simple number of graduates didn’t seem to matter much. But the high graduate satisfaction score and the testimonial from a successful graduate were both very convincing.

MAEd prospects responded to both Career Success and Affordability at a slightly higher rate than did the other two prospect groups. Interestingly, for teachers we defined career success as better student outcomes and affordability was expressed in real numbers ($12,000).