Universities are back, and as students get their felt-tip pens, pencils, and notebooks ready, universities in Australia continue to be a booming industry.
Digital signals and website traffic are a strong proxy for the health of the Australian Uni industry, and using Similarweb, we begin to understand the industry’s health.
2023 Universities Industry Web Traffic
As the year begins, we see a strong upward trend in combined web visits to the industry.
The trend report above shows web traffic to the Australian Universities Industry steadily increased from December to the end of February, both for 2021-2022 (orange line) and 2022-2023 (blue line). More specifically, the web traffic in February increased by 3.47% in 2023 versus 2022.
And the top 5 domains that are enjoying the rising tide in web traffic are:
Where does traffic come from?
The below data is a digital channels report demonstrating which channels the universities rely on for student acquisition.
Visits primarily come from Direct, which has a 58.67% traffic share for December 2022 to February 2023. This is followed by organic search at 21.17%. Other traffic sources are referrals, e-mails, social media, paid search, and display ads, with less than 8% traffic share.
Each of these channels will be used for various engagement activities, and with some interpretation, you can begin to understand the strategies.
Direct is an excellent proxy for a brand. When students know what uni website they want to visit, they type it directly into the browser. A university with substantial direct traffic will have a better brand in the market.
The email channel will also attract similar traffic to direct. The email channel suggests the visits are known to the university. They are on an email list and have been sent an email linking to the website.
Traffic from search (paid and organic) will be branded and non-branded. Branded search traffic is also a good proxy for brand strength. But, the battle heats up when the universities compete for “non-branded” search traffic. Diving into non-branded search traffic and analysing the particular keywords can paint a fascinating picture of the university, its strategy, and student demand.
Australian Universities Organic Search Analysis
Organic search keywords tell much about student intent, interest, and behaviour. They tell us that students are looking for specific degrees and programs, which schools offer them, and where they can get them. But they also tell us how students behave when seeking information about universities in Australia.
Across the Australian Universities Industry, we noticed trending search terms for inquiries on whether specific degree programs are offered. Among the top keywords are the following, with the percentage increase of their month-over-month change in traffic volume:
- Master of data science online (1,115.78%)
- Online bachelor in psychology (293.8%)
- Liberal arts online (31.01%)
We also saw a bulk of NURSING degree-related keywords as part of the trending list, such as:
- Bachelor of nursing online (155.27%)
- Online diploma of nursing (79.61%)
- IV medication course for enrolled nurses online (400.98%)
The generic keyword “online undergraduate degrees” has also featured in the list of search queries, with an MoM increase of 152.59%.
What can we derive from the data above? We can make a few assumptions based on the web search traffic:
- Students are open to discovering schools and comparing different courses or campuses before choosing. Universities can use this information to craft their strategies, with a focus on their unique courses, services, or facilities.
- Strengthening brand awareness and recall could be a good way for universities to bring in new students with Direct traffic as a leading source of clicks.
- More students seek online options to pursue their degrees across colleges and specialisations.
These insights show how traffic data brings us valuable information on audience behaviour. This information is essential to adapt to the customer’s changing needs and bring them in through content, paid search assets, and the similar.