Over the weekend, an article published in Advertising Age discussed the significance of search optimization, the importance of Google, and just how much certain big brand companies are spending on Google advertising.
The focus of the article dealt specifically how BP rose in the ranks of Google advertisers as a way to manage information about the Gulf oil spill. It was also a way to manage their reputation. Interesting piece. BP spent $3.9 million USD on Google advertising in June, 2010.
But the most interesting part of the the story was the "just how much certain big brand companies are spending on Google" part, because it also named the other Google advertising mega-spenders.
Take a look. The Apollo Group, parent organization for the University of Phoenix, is second on the list. That would be Apollo Group. EDU, thank you very much. One of those for profit education companies we have been reading about lately.
$6.67 million USD in June of 2010. In one month. The former public educator in me is blown away.
I have a lot of admiration for what the Apollo Group and the University of Phoenix have done for adult learners and for the world of higher education. Not saying it's perfect, not saying that there aren't a bunch of ways for improving the experience, or for actively dealing with the problems of student recruitment and financial aid defaults. But I really can't think of any other institution that has put traditional higher education on notice as has the Univ of Phoenix. 500,000 students, growing at the size of a good sized land-grant institution per month.
Now, just think about how good they will be when they spent some percentage of that amount of money toward student success programs, once they get those students in the house. As in focusing on retention, progress, completion.
It will be an interesting tide, floating all online boats. Might be time to get out the life-jackets, chart a course, find ourselves a fleet of like-minded sailors, and get ready for the journey.