An engaging and appealing website is a must-have within any market. With higher education, drawing prospective Gen Z students to your website is one thing, but having them stay on the site and engage with your content for a long period of time is truly the end goal. Here are a few things to consider before redesigning or refreshing your site to specifically target a Gen Z audience.
1. Responsive web design
Responsive web design allows pages to load correctly on a variety of mobile devices and different screen sizes. We live in a mobile era, and that couldn't be more true when relating to Gen Z students who use mobile devices almost five more hours a week on average than they use laptop devices, according to a Gen Z infographics report.
A website that adjusts its display depending on a user’s screen dimensions is not recommended nowadays—it’s required so your website looks clear and professional to a user. Utilizing a responsive web design is also cost-effective because it eliminates the cost of hosting two sites for mobile and non-mobile users. Finally, web design can help with SEO best practices since Google gives preference to websites that are more mobile friendly, boosting your site in the search engine results.
2. Tell your story
A large percentage of the Gen Z population isn’t sold by “cool” products or specific offerings; they are more drawn to an institution’s story and beliefs and how they directly relate to their own personalities. Gen Z buys more into brands over any other generation.
A company’s website is the perfect place to push its unique brand toward Gen Z. Considering this generation has grown up with the internet, they’re immune to obvious marketing campaigns. It is important to show true transparency in order to make an instant connection with the user when you are telling your story. Who are you? And what do you stand for?
3. Videos make every page lively
Video content is key in retaining Gen Z's attention once they are on your website. Google studies show that YouTube is one of the most popular platforms in the case of Gen Zers, particularly when they want to be entertained. Not only will a brief video increase the amount of time a user spends on your page—which decreases your bounce rate—but videos are an excellent way of telling your institution’s story in a less stressful way. Videos are simply something that can differentiate your site from your competitors.
4. 8 seconds or less rule
In a world where a boundless amount of answers are just a few clicks away, Gen Zers have an average attention span of just eight seconds compared to the 12-second attention span millennial users have, according to Forbes research. Social media platforms have taken advantage of these statistics from Snapchat’s 10-second Story limit to YouTube’s six-second bumper ad.
Adapting this same strategic thinking, landing pages should always have a call to action and important offerings visible so they are easy for the user to notice. Navigating to multiple pages will cause the user to lose interest and leave your site, so be sure to use as few extra steps as possible when you are trying to get a user to interact with your page.
5. Privacy is key
Privacy is something Gen Z holds to a high standard. A survey by IBM showed that less than a third of Gen Zers are comfortable with sharing their personal information online, but 61% said they would be okay with sharing this information if the site would securely protect this information.
When you are planning to collect information through a form on your site, make sure to call out your dedication to ensuring the user’s data will remain safe and commit to that promise by properly securing the back end of your website.
Create your website to match your audience
Truly understanding your website’s audience can have a direct correlation to that audience remaining on your site for a longer period of time. Student users have become considerably smarter in spotting hard-selling marketing tactics, so designing your pages around their interests and tendencies is necessary to a successfully functioning website.