Tracking competition in higher education with screenshots

Want new students to flood into your institution next academic session? Find out how screenshots can help you achieve that.

Education is constantly evolving with new programs and ways of teaching. The 2020 pandemic also taught us that people could keep up with their education outside of a physical classroom, revolutionizing the whole industry.

Higher education providers like universities need to be aware of their competition, what they're offering and how to stay relevant for new students.

In this article, we'll focus on what universities should look at when monitoring their competition online and how website screenshots can be a great companion throughout the process.

What to look for in university competitors online

University websites are pretty complex since they host information for different audiences. Therefore, knowing what you're looking for is important before diving into your higher education competitor analysis. 

Let's go through some key information types you can find on another institution's site.

Admission requirements

Each university determines its requirements for admission, which will be available on its site. In your analysis, you can compare your requirements to that of other institutions to see:

  • What documents do they ask for;
  • The academic profile they require, including test scores and completed courses;
  • Additional assets like essays or personal assessments.

These requirements also provide insight into how exclusive or strict an institution portrays itself. You can back your conclusions with their admission fees, which are also public in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA).

Academic programs and syllabuses

One of the main reasons you enter a student's set of potential higher education institutions is the programs you offer. Most students will drive their choice by the subject of their degree. The first step will be looking for universities that offer majors and minors that match their interests. 

Therefore, a massive part of your competitor analysis will be going through all categories of programs to identify what courses are available to attract students and which ones match your offer.

Once you've found those universities with courses that compete with yours, you can look further into those syllabuses. A program may look similar to your available one just by its name. Still, its actual contents and goals may indicate they're different. For example, there can be two institutions that offer a Marketing major. Still, one is more oriented to communications and the digital world. In contrast, the other can be more focused on data and analytics. 

It's important to verify and keep these differences in mind to know how you stand out in college competition. In addition, if you're looking to update a particular program, analyzing what other universities offer can help you decide which direction to go and what to offer to become a better, more interesting choice.

Teachers

We mentioned that you could use a course syllabus to determine its orientation. Another exercise you could do is to research university faculty. Many institutions have public bios of their teachers that you can read. A teacher's profile can also provide insight into the type, of course, the university is giving.

News and agenda

Higher education institutions aren't only sharing programs and academic information with audiences. They strive to generate a feeling of community between staff, students, and alumni. They want future students to get that sensation too. 

Universities organize activities to support that community, entertain and keep people updated in their field. These can be masterclasses in business, with alumni coming back to share their experience, or something more relaxed like a campus tour or event. Looking through a competitor's agenda will give you an idea of what activities they're planning for their community to attract new students. 

In addition, higher education websites feature a news section to share the results of said activities, as well as updates regarding research, new programs, and student accomplishments. Tracking university news can help you stay up to date with competitor activity.

Online presence

Competition in the education industry goes beyond websites. The updates and activities we just covered are also shared on other platforms like social media. Therefore, monitoring a competitor's online presence in the higher education market is key to being aware of their communication efforts to attract new students and position themselves in the industry.

Here are a couple of questions you can use to guide your university online presence analysis:

  • What social media platforms do they use? Are they actively posting? What kind of content?
  • Are they making appearances in the media? What sites are they collaborating with? What types of content are they participating in?
  • Are there student reviews available? What do they say?

Competitor content can also inspire new ideas of our own. If there is a university with a solid online presence that targets the same audience as you, take a look at what they're doing so you can have a good profile too.

Monitor higher education competitors with screenshots

You can gain an enormous amount of insights by looking at competitor websites. That is an excellent exercise to perform around intake season to observe other universities' moves to attract students.

However, you'll be overloaded at that moment with work. Sitting through each competing institution's website will not be at the top of your todo-list. Nevertheless, analyzing higher education competitors is still essential, so how do you balance everyday work with this new process? Well, you can trust screenshots.

Screen capturing technology allows you to set automatic screenshots of the websites you choose, saving you from manual browsing. With a tool like Stillio, you can set captures for any interval you want-monthly, weekly, daily, or even up to 5 minutes with the best plan. 

Once you've decided which universities or colleges you want to keep track of, you can set captures for each page you're interested in. Then, get automatic syllabuses, admission requirements, faculty bios, and more information in your account to check out whenever you want. Competitor analysis has never been so easy as this!

You can also set email notifications when a new screenshot is available, so you never forget to check for changes in competitor websites. Interested in knowing when a new program is available at your neighbor's college? Be the first to find out by tracking news with Stillio.

Pricing starts at $29 for daily screenshots of 5 URLs.

Conclusion

Keeping an eye on competitors is vital in every industry, and education is no exception. You'll be able to fit this process into your current routine with an automation tool like Stillio by your side.

Want to know how else we can help your institution? Check out how the University of Washington uses Stillio, and feel free to book a demo with us.

Starting at $29/m

Start capturing website screenshots automatically and save a lot of grunt work. You'll be set up in minutes. No credit card required.