Digital communications is essential for all global organizations but critical for those aimed at young people. In addition to our annual research project for W100 members, the World 100 set out to explore approaches to online communications at top global universities. The research explores budgets, teams, in-house capacity, outsourcing, approaches to monitoring and evaluating digital communications, policies and guidelines, internal training and more – everything that covers their digital approach.

The survey was developed in conjunction with digital communications representatives from seven leading global universities in the UK, Europe and North America. The research findings are based on survey responses from heads of digital at 37 universities across 15 countries.

The research indicates that digital is a highly important, and increasingly intrinsic part of communications in universities. Most communications will be digital communications in the future, so teams are less likely to be separate from the rest of communications and marketing or even have digital in their job title, as everyone will be ‘digital’. However, there is probably a generational disconnect, with senior leaders being less familiar with using digital (especially twitter) than younger managers.

The research covers:

  • Team size and structure
  • Non-central digital communications
  • Responsibility for digital communications
  • Twitter communications
  • In-house capacity and outsourcing
  • Strategies for digital communications
  • Resourcing, budget and salaries
  • Intranets
  • Rating digital communication activities
  • Training for digital communications
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Challenges and the future
  • Identifying best practice

A few key findings

'Digital communication' will become 'communication'. There will be no difference.

The final version of the report from the research, The Digital Approach: Resources and structures for online communications, was published in June 2017. It is availble to members via the news and resources page.

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