Using YouTube Videos to Promote Universities : A Content Analysis

Social Sciences 15 (2):83-94 (2020)
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In today’s global higher education environment, international students represent not only an important source of external income for universities: the degree of cross-border student mobility also reflects the internationalization of higher education sector. Universities have engaged in efforts to sell themselves to prospective students and promotional videos are among the most widely used marketing tools for this purpose. This study reports the results of a study analyzing the content of 140 higher education promotional videos from 14 countries available on YouTube. The results reveal that while the pattern of use of YouTube for two-waycommunication with viewers, information contents and appeal messages among sampled universities is fairly homogenous, some marked differences emerge when cultural background and global position ranking of the university are taken into account. The implications of these findings are that, although, transnational higher education has been profoundly globalized, culture still plays a significant role in marketing practice for the recruitment of mobile students. In addition, different universities have various student-targeted segments. These findings provide the basis of a series of recommendations for universities looking to optimize their use of YouTube and promotional video design to market to international students.


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