Explore reinvented the way thousands of students discover courses and careers they may love, and in doing so drove a flood of qualified leads to relevant sections of the main Deakin website - with a little help from Facebook Bot "D.E.B".
Founded in 1974, Deakin University is one of Australia’s leading public universities with more than 56,000 students across five Victorian campuses and learning centres, as well as an online Cloud campus.
The university has an extremely broad offering, comprised of over 200 courses within 14 schools and four major faculties. This breadth of choice, while exciting, can also be overwhelming for high school students, as well as the parents, teachers and careers advisors helping them navigate this important next step.
Research identified two major issues for high school students looking to hone in on a course or career. The first was a limited awareness of the thousands upon thousands of jobs that comprise the modern workforce. Sure, there are still accountants, doctors and teachers, but in 2017 career options also include allergists, image consultants, crime analysts and zookeepers.
The second issue for students was not being able to get a quick sense of whether these newly discovered career options (and the courses they required) were worth delving into. For perspective, each course information page on a typical university website is comprised of up to 3,000 words, as well as information about fee structures, course length, pathways and scholarships - which is a lot to take in before even knowing what the resulting career entails.
This experience stood in stark contrast to the personalised, bite sized chunks of content today’s teenagers are used to consuming. It also illustrated why a decision that should be one of the most exciting in a young person’s life was more likely to be described as daunting, boring and complicated.
To address this, we partnered with Deakin to reinvent the way students (as well as their teachers and parents) discovered and prioritised the abundance of course and career options that lay ahead.
Deakin Explore helps teenagers discover courses and careers they might love by serving up curated collections of ‘cards’, based on individual interests and priorities. Each card highlights a course or career, along with just enough information to be able to determine whether it’s worth a deeper look. From here, users can ‘scroll on’, browse related courses or careers within Explore, or jump directly across to the relevant section of the main Deakin website for further information.
Students can sign in to save their choices, as well as browse the entire catalogue whether they’re on or offline - an important consideration for an audience for whom ‘mobile data’ is the new currency.
Throughout the process, we engaged students, parents and careers advisors to help refine the concept and finesse the tone, weighting and structure of content being developed.
To coincide with the launch, we developed lesson plans to help careers advisors and home room teachers use Explore with their students.
As if that wasn’t enough, to help meet students on their own terms, we also created D.E.B (Deakin Explore Bot), a world first Facebook Bot. D.E.B leverages the mountains of data within Explore to help users find their ideal course or career directly through Facebook Messenger.
Explore has been incredibly well received by the entire industry, including students, careers advisors and parents. Usage stats reveal that visitors spend 300% more time browsing Explore than they do browsing other course information websites. Explore has also driven thousands of new leads to the main Deakin website.
D.E.B has also been a success in it’s own right, clocking up more than 12,000 users in its first two months. On VCE results day, use of the chatbot peaked, receiving over 1,400 unique users in a single day.
D.E.B also met its objective of driving new traffic to Explore, creating a visitor uplift of 318% compared to the prior, pre-D.E.B months.
The browsing and behavioural data from Explore has also created an abundance of opportunities for hyper efficient re-targeting across the web. Rather than serving up generic advertisements, the University is able to use intel from Explore to deliver personalised messages based on an individual’s fields of interest and career aspirations, resulting in more relevant ads and markedly better performance.