Tag Archives: target market

VYou vs. Formspring

There are a number of Q&A services on the web, but the three that seem to be getting the most attention in the press lately are Formspring, Quora, and VYou.  Each service offers the user something a little different, but the underlying principle is that people enjoy asking and answering questions.

Last week I posted my thoughts on Formspring vs. Quora, taking the position that the former has more possibilities for connecting with customers.  This week I thought it would be interesting to look at Formspring vs. VYou in the same light.

VYou is a video Q&A service that launched in late October 2010 which Tech Crunch described as “YouTube meets Formspring.”  Users record a video response to questions (typed messages) they are asked.  Simple as that.

I am always telling anyone who will listen that the Saint Michael’s College bloggers that I work with are the best.  Many of them are eager to try out new tools to connect with prospective students.   You can see here how Derek Desranleau has creatively integrated VYou with his blog.  Another blogger, Christine, made her VYou account available for future students on Facebook.

Gabbi Hall has been an early adopter of both Formspring and YouTube, using the tools to connect with future St. Mike’s students.  I asked Gabbi a few questions about her experience.

What has your experience been using VYou and Formspring?

I currently have 52 video responses on VYou on a range of questions from “What are your biggest concerns about the future of journalism?” to “Advice concerning the academic advising process? Is there anything you wish you had known/done?”  I started using VYou on November 8th, 2010.  I have been using Formspring for about a year now and have answered 218 questions (as of 11-13-2011).

How do you advertise your use of these tools to prospective students?

I advertise Formspring and VYou through Twitter and my personal blog.  On twitter, I simply post the link to my pages and say “Feel free to ask questions about anything!”   I’ll also include hashtags like #smcvt, #college, #formspring, #vyou, etc.  On my blog, however, I embed the code directly into a post or page. For example, I have an “Ask Question About SMC” tab on my page.  When a person clicks on it, they can see my smiling face in the “Waiting video,” view previous answers, and ask questions.  They never have to leave the blog. I also embed it into posts occasionally in case readers aren’t clicking in the tabs.  I try to make it as easy and direct as possible!

Do you see benefits of one service over the other?

Feel free to add anything else Formspring’s got going for it that VYou doesn’t here.

I think the VYou puts a face behind the answers. Prospective students and parents don’t ever have to wonder if there is an admissions member behind the account. There is no denying the genuine nature of the answer when my make-up free, post-workout face is on the screen. Sure, that may not be my most glamorous look, but I also think prospective students don’t want to see perfect, smiling faces all the time.

VYou also allows students to ask questions and get a response like they might on the tour. It is kind of like students can go on the Interactive St. Mike’s Youtube tour and then go to a VYou account to ask their questions.  Like Formspring, the ability to maintain anonymity is great!

However, I’d say the biggest problem is that people are not yet familiar with VYou.  It’s a new system to figure out and understand.  I don’t think prospective students are likely to open their own accounts because it can make someone feel vulnerable putting their face out there. Formspring does allow a user to keep people in the dark by hiding their faces.   I do think the upside of Formspring is simply that more people, particularly high school students, are using it. They have accounts, so they are familiar with how it works. It’s already within their comfort zone, just like Facebook.  Other than that, I like VYou more.

What would you like to see added to Formspring or VYou?

The one down side to both tools is that there are no statistics aside from the number of responses.  I am not able to see how many views my page or the individual responses receive.  I’d really like to know what responses have been most useful or popular.

Interested in connecting with Gabbi?  Read her blog and follow her on twitter!

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Follow up: Engage your audience by being interactive

Last month I wrote a blog post about engaging your audience with an interactive video quiz.  I promised to follow up with statistics, so here they are.

If you missed that post, in short, I created a 10 question video quiz that was advertised to our prospective seniors and applicants.  If a student made it to the end, they were instructed to visit our Admission’s Blog and leave their name and email address, this entered them into a contest to win some SMC gear.  The contest ran for the month of December.

Stats

Over 1000 people viewed the intro video to the Holiday Quiz.
– 26.9% of participants made it through all 10 videos.
– 12.4% of participants entered their name into the contest.

45.9% of participants who made it to the final video entered their name into the contest.

The average number of views per question = 285.6 (with the intro video removed from the calculation)

Analysis

The question was raised, “Are 10 videos too many?”  I was pleasantly surprised to see that a quarter of our participants finished the quiz, but should I assume that only 12.4% of our viewers were in the target market?  It would be naive to not realize that some prospect students only made it part way.

Using YouTube Insights I can see further into the demographics.  Looking at the intro video, 40% of the viewers were in the 13-17 age range.  This is excellent, but also indicates to me that for the majority of prospective students 10 questions was too many.

Our decision to go with 10 was based on the staff and questions we wanted featured.  I think next year I will cut it down to 5, see what the stats say, and compare to this year’s results.

Either way, this project was well worth my time.  124 students entered the contest in hopes to win swag.  In the process, they were educated about the college, introduced to our Admission team, and it was fun.  In fact, some of Saint Michael’s Admission Counselors heard from students (in person, on the phone, or even in their college application) that they thought the quiz was “cool.”

I think it would be interesting to cross check those 124 submissions with the future Class of 2015 to determine what percentage of participants actually enrolled.  Look for another follow up in May…

(Video view counts were recorded at 3:30pm on 1/11/11)

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