Universities and colleges across the world are embracing the use of digital advertising in an attempt to increase their online learning.
However, there are some drawbacks.
The rise of digital ad formats and platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads is bringing with it more scrutiny for advertisers.
“Advertising on websites is now more difficult to spot, because there are a lot of sites which are not as clear-cut as the ads themselves,” says Michaela Bremner, founder of Advertise.com.
Advertising platforms need to work hard to find and remove misleading or deceptive ads, she adds.
And digital advertising is also more costly for the companies involved.
Digital ads are not cheap, but the higher quality of the images that go into them will often have more impact.
“When it comes to the ads, you don’t really see any of the quality that you do with traditional ads,” says Chris McAlpine, director of digital marketing at ad agency DSP Creative.
“So there’s definitely an increase in the cost of the digital advertising that is used, but it’s also a good thing.”
Advertisers who are using ads for education ads can be rewarded.
Dedicated student websites, online classes, online learning platforms, or educational advertising companies will be able to earn advertising commissions through their services, depending on their use of the content.
But many universities are wary of spending money on these ads, because of the potential backlash from their students.
A new survey by ad agency Advertize.com found that 40 per cent of students surveyed felt they were being unfairly targeted by universities for the digital ads they are using.
“I’m not a student, I’m not in a position where I’m really looking for students to come to me,” says Lauren Schmid, a junior at the University of Maryland who has been using digital ads to supplement her online classes.
“But I do have students who have really enjoyed learning, and I want to show that I am doing something good with them.”
Schmid is one of many students who are increasingly turning to digital advertising.
She is looking to take advantage of the online advertising platform DSPAds, which provides a range of educational content, including online courses, course materials, quizzes and online quizzes.
Schmid’s course content includes the first-ever course on how to design a website.
Students can opt in to a $150 a year subscription for their content, and if they want to be notified when there are new courses, they can opt out.
DSPAd has been used by many universities, including the University at Buffalo, the University for Creative Technologies in the US, and the University and College London in the UK.
For students looking to get more involved with the platform, the company has a number of tools available, such as an app for iOS and Android, and an app to sign up for email alerts.
This allows students to be more active in the learning experience, McAlpines says.
“You can be more productive if you can communicate directly with students,” he says.
There are also tools available for students who want to keep tabs on which schools are using the platform to promote their courses.
Schmid hopes the platform will help her students get better grades.
“My goal is to help them find opportunities to get better in the future,” she says.
“I think the platform helps students and I think it helps us all.”
Advertise, which has been working on digital advertising for years, is also looking to expand its service to universities and colleges in the United States.
It has partnered with University of California, Berkeley to make its ads more relevant to students.