Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

Online advertising for adults... a very hot area

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You can't miss it just about anywhere on the web these days: Advertising for adults to enroll in bachelor's and master's degree programs.

And much if not most of this is tightly targeted to people searching for the right career. After all, "career advancement" is one of the strongest terms that students of every age favor in our Customer Carewords research.

Consider this example. Yahoo runs a "news" story on the front page about the "10 stealth careers that are on the rise." That's a fly trap to lure people into a plethora of ads for adult degree programs. Visit http://education.yahoo.net/degrees/articles/featured_10_great_careers_you_never_heard.html and you'll find a story on "10 Great Careers You've Probably Never Heard Of" and the chance to browse for degrees in just about any area you can imagine.

  • The advertising isn't just from for-profits like Phoenix and Capella. Search for online Ph.D. programs, for instance, and you'll find an ad for Boston University. Follow that ad and you'll eventually learn that the BU choices are for Doctor of Physical Therapy and a "Doctorate in Occupational Therapy."
  • Things fall apart just a bit at this point as much of the information you find with a "Ph.D." level search isn't for Ph.D. degrees. In this case, the BU trip takes you to ads for Northeastern, George Washington, and Norwich universities. Each is offering an array of master's degrees but no Ph.D. level programs.

But why quibble? If you throw enough ads on the wall, some of them will stick and attract flys. At least that seems to be the theory at work right now for online advertising for adults.

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