Virtual open days have become very popular in recent years (primarily due to COVID) to help schools, colleges, and childcare centres connect. They help parents who may not be able to attend an in-person open day. They offer a way for organisations to communicate with many people at once remotely and can be used to promote the educational institution in a fun and engaging way. Let’s see how a virtual open day benefits an educational organisation with a post-covid case study from this year.
Virtual Open Day Stats, Facts & Figures – The Definitive Guide
What Is A Virtual Open Day
A traditional open day is when an educational institution opens its doors to the public to prospective parents and students. They visit the location/facility/campus firsthand, speak to the teachers/staff and get a feel for the institution. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, many of these educational institutions have had to conduct their open days remotely due to government legislation that did not allow gatherings/events. A virtual open day is a virtual/online version of a traditional open day. This can include a virtual tour, webinar and other online resources.
A virtual open day is an excellent way for schools, colleges, childcare centres and universities to show off their facilities and attract potential students and parents who cannot attend in person. In addition, it allows potential students and parents to get a good idea of the school, the curriculum and its facilities on campus.
In 2022 and beyond, while schools will go back to hosting traditional open days, many are utilising the virtual tours created during the pandemic alongside a traditional open day. This is called a hybrid open day, and we will be focusing on the digital aspect of the open day (virtual open day). In addition, some schools have seen the advantages of virtual open days after the pandemic and have chosen to have a virtual tour created.
Why This Case Study Was Created
This case study was created to have a deeper insight into virtual open days and how virtual tours can help. At the time of writing this blog, there was surprisingly little data on the internet surrounding how virtual open days benefit a school other than ‘they help during Covid‘ or ‘they increase engagement. We wanted meaningful hard-hitting numbers and stats (during and after the open day), cut through the hype and show how virtual tours are a new and long term digital marketing asset for any school.
Case Study: Davidson High School
Davidson High School contacted us to create a virtual tour of their school to be a part of their 2022 virtual open day. At the time restrictions had started to ease but they were still around and no-one knew if we would go back into another lockdown. There was sufficient uncertainty around it. Davidson High School wanted to showcase their facilities and it was also important for them to give parents an option to explore the school digitally from the comfort and safety of their own homes. In addition, not every parent could attend in person, for example, for work, health or travel reasons.
The official date of their online webinar was in the evening of Tuesday, 1st of March 2022. We will be looking at the scope of the campaign over a week (28th February 2022 – 6th March 2022). This will give us a much clearer picture of how long the virtual tour was viewed, how people engaged/interacted with the tour, and when parents viewed it.
We will also be looking at the engagement levels of the virtual tour and how it worked during this time, including a month after. The reason for including the 28th is because the virtual tour was initially promoted on their website and in an EDM on the 28th and as a result, people were able to see the tour early and get a sneak peek.
When The Virtual Open Day Was Viewed
As mentioned above, we are using data collected over the course of a week. The graph above produced some exciting results, as you can see. The open day webinar was officially on the 1st of March and averaged just shy of 50 people a day till Thursday. The highest was Sunday the 6th of March. Unsurprisingly Friday was viewed the least as people will generally go out on this day of the week.
This makes sense from a practical perspective because many parents work or are busy during the week. However, traditionally on Sundays, people tend to relax and spend time at home, especially in the evenings, which gives parents more time to explore the virtual tour at their own pace.
Another statistic is essential to consider when looking at the success of a virtual open day. Speaking with the team at Davidson High School, they had 120 bookings for their open night webinar. The number of page views during this time was 239, which was almost double. This makes sense as each parent could be looking at the tour in their own time while sending it to grandparents, friends, etc.
Average Time On Page
While sources vary on what the average time on page stat is, according to Contentsquare’s 2021 Digital Experience Benchmark report it’s 54 seconds. One of the strongest results from the data collected was that the average page time for this virtual open day tour was 6 minutes and 11 seconds. This result is 6.87 times the average and shows the staying power of interactive engagement.
Fun Fact: While the average was 6 minutes and 11 seconds when exploring deeper, some people had actively engaged and explored the tour for 38 minutes.
According to Google, a Bounce Rate is defined as ‘The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page’. Hubspot has said a good bounce rate is between 26% and 40% (the smaller, the better). The bounce rate for this virtual open day was 9.48% which is exceptionally small. This means there was a direct engagement rate of 90.52%, which is a fantastic result!
Overall, the results from this virtual open day showed that people had a lot of fun exploring the tour and that it was engaging and easy to use. In addition, the bounce rate was exceptionally low, which proves that people were engaged with the content.
An International Event
Most people were from the Greater City of Sydney, as Davidson High School is based on Sydney’s North Shore. As Australia is a vibrant, multicultural country with people from all over the world, it stands to reason that parents viewing the tour would want to share the virtual open day with family and friends from across the globe. Sydney hosted 94.1% of the total views, while other cities in Australia, such as the Gold Coast, Cairns, Byron Bay, Central Coast and Newcastle. There was also an international audience from the UK, Italy, India, USA and Nigeria.
After The Virtual Open Day – A Month-Long Analysis
After the open day, it is expected that stats will drop, but the virtual tour continues to be explored daily. We monitored the 360 virtual tour for an additional month (Monday 7th March – 6th April) to see if there was any engagement and where they came from. While the stats fluctuated during this time, they continue to have daily views, with some days hitting seven views a day.
We found most interesting during this time is where the impressions came from. While most of the views have come from the Davidson High School website (66.7%), a surprising amount came from people who were sent the direct link (potentially from parents who sent the tour to family and friends). As the virtual tour is SEO optimised, it was also found on Google and shared on Facebook.
Reuseable Content For Years To Come
While this is not a stat about virtual open days, the fact remains that the virtual tour can be reused many ways long after the open day has ended. The virtual tour can be used alongside future traditional open days for many years. In addition, it can be shared on socials, used in EDMs and even linked in other educational directories (not just their own website). You can read more about this in our blog, How To Promote & Market Your Virtual Tour.
The Benefits Of Holding A Virtual Open Day alongside a Traditional Open Day
There are many benefits associated with hosting a virtual open day. Some of the most significant benefits include:
- Increased online presence for the school.
- Increased recruitment opportunities.
- Increased brand awareness Improved communication with potential students who are unable to attend in person.
- Reduced costs compared to traditional open days.
- Reduced travel expenses for parents attending in person.
- Reduced waiting times for tours or visits.
- Reduced congestion on campus during regular hours.
- Increased visitor numbers throughout the school year.
- Improved reputation in local community groups via your school’s constant online digital virtual experience.
Conclusion – Virtual Open Day, It’s Worth It!
Initially thought of as ‘just for the pandemic‘, virtual open days/virtual tours have proven their longevity, reusability and flexibility when engaging with parents. In addition, they have shown to be an effective long-term results-driven engagement tool. Hopefully, the data shown in this blog has given some insight into how they can be used for your school, college, childcare or university.
Are you a school / educational facility looking to create a virtual tour for your open day? Contact us on 02 9674 9090, schedule a consultation, or fill out the form on this page to start a conversation for your virtual open day project. Happy to discuss how we can create a high-end virtual experience for your school, college, childcare or university and design it to your needs.
Do you think we left anything out regarding virtual open day stats? Have you seen/been to any open days which included a virtual open day aspect that you like? Leave a comment down below and let us know your thoughts 🙂
Dimitri is the founder of Simply 360, which specialises in creating immersive, interactive and engaging 360 / VR virtual tours, AR integration and marketing consultancy. He has worked in the digital marketing industry for over 15 years and has a passion for creating virtual tours with a key focus in strategic implementation.