Changing trends in the Education sector

How it all started?

March of 2020 has cast a huge shadow over the lives of many of us. While the governments all over were responding to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, over 1.2 billion school going children in 180+ countries (UNESCO 2022) were left in a limbo. They were forced to stay home due to school closures and lockdowns. As a result, the ways of dispensing education changed drastically. The pandemic introduced to the world, e-learning. E-learning is a form of learning where education is imparted remotely and on digital platforms. E-learning provided a solution to the vacuum in the education industry. Hence, it created new opportunities and needed huge investments. In response to the significant demand, many existing and new ed-tech businesses came to the rescue. Some of the examples of this new trend are Zoom, Byju’s. These companies provided in form of softwares, the tools needed by the teachers to reach students. In here, we will discuss how E-learning changed the way students & institutions interact and what it means for the marketers.

What was happening?

To start, let’s understand the huge impact of this trend. Here’s a statistic, the total cumulative runtime of every video call over the course of Zoom’s first year (2013) was just 200 million minutes. Nine years and a pandemic later, the annual count has surpassed the three trillion mark (Webtribunal 2022).
(However, It is important to understand that not all of these calls were between teachers and students. According to an estimate by ‘Business of apps’ over 90,000 educational institutes used Zoom in height of the pandemic)
Another example specific to education industry is Tencent. Tencent a K-12 education delivery platform, where 81% or 7,30,000 of K-12 students in Wuhan, attended classes via the Tencent K-12 Online School (Tencent 2020).

Another facet of this new trend is how it impacted the interactions between students and teachers. Despite the inequalities in access to technology for students, the pandemic made educators adopt newer technologies in imparting the education, which seemed hard to them before. Teachers can now incorporate new tools tools of learning in their methods which itself creates new opportunities for the businesses in this sector. Furthermore, Students now have greater access to a wide variety of learning resources. They can learn at their own pace, pausing and sometimes re-watching the difficult parts. They are now an active participant in their education which gives the businesses in the education sector an ample opportunity to reach them directly.

E-learning market is growing especially online e-learning.

What does it mean for Marketers?

This change in turn has affected how Marketers reach out in the education industry. For example, the in-person tours have now become online. The brochures are now distributed digitally. The budget for marketing is now to be shifted from traditional marketing methods to where the audience is, which is online. Marketers now have to focus on emphasizing the online experience of students rather than on-campus amenities, which impacts the whole brand positioning of educational institutions. At the same time digital marketing is cost effective and allows precision targeting by use of cookies and search history. Furthermore, it is easier to track. It has also become easier for the marketer to reach the target audience directly instead of going through parents/guardians. Now there is no possibility/need of expensive in person University fairs. Educational institutions can reach prospects in their homes via online ad targeting.
For example, students spend a lot of time on Educational channels on youtube or similar streaming services and websites which host learning content. Digital marketers can advertise directly on these channels in form of in-video ads (For streaming services like Youtube) or in-text ads (for websites like Khan academy)

A campaign example.

There were many who gained in the pandemic. One of those was Microsoft teams, which is a collaboration tool that offers chat, meetings, calling and file collaboration.
Today, Over 183,000 educational institutions are using Microsoft Teams. (Business of apps, 2022). The number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams have almost doubled the past year, increasing from 75 million users in April 2020 to 145 million as of the second quarter of 2021 (Statista 2022).
Microsoft teams launched a global ad campaign in 2020 aiming to sell “The Power of Teams”. The company worked with its agency, Interpublic’s McCann, on the campaign. It will launched in formats of TV ads, podcasts, digital and out-of-home placements. Which makes it clear that the advertising world is shifting from traditional to online.
For this, Microsoft Teams invested a hefty $16,568,700 into its ad campaigns from March 2020 to March 2021, earning an impressive 1,224,642,600 impressions across 348 creatives (Pathmatics 2021). 

A screen grab of Microsoft Teams’ ad creative from 2020.

A study by the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organisation, found that about 20% of school systems were adopting virtual schools, considering the idea. After more than two years of virtual learning, it is here to stay. 

Work cited

“17+ Zoom Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind.” WebTribunal, https://webtribunal.net/blog/zoom-statistics/#gref.
“Education: From Disruption to Recovery.” UNESCO, 28 Feb. 2022, https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse.
Fleishman, Sarah. “Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams Flourish in a New Era of Remote Work.” Advertiser Database & Digital Marketing Intelligence, https://www.pathmatics.com/blog/zoom-slack-and-microsoft-teams-flourish-in-a-new-era-of-remote-work.
K-12 Online School, https://cloud.tencent.com/developer/article/1589218.
“Microsoft Teams Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022).” Business of Apps, 4 May 2022, https://www.businessofapps.com/data/microsoft-teams-statistics/.
“RAND Corporation Provides Objective Research Services and Public Policy Analysis.” RAND Corporation, https://www.rand.org/.
Vailshery, Lionel Sujay. “Microsoft Teams Daily Active Users Worldwide 2021.” Statista, 14 Feb. 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1033742/worldwide-microsoft-teams-daily-and-monthly-users/.