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Education Ads: How Virtual Learning Platforms are Advertising

September 28 2020 by Sarah Fleishman

While some schools across the United States are returning to in-person sessions, many are still opting for a virtual learning experience to stay safe from spreading the novel coronavirus. Today, let’s take a look at the advertising behaviors and messages from both large and small players in this unique, booming segment of the software market.

Data from this post is pulled from Pathmatics marketing intelligence beginning on August 1, 2020, and ending on September 20, 2020.

Duolingo tops the list with almost 10 years in business

Virtual education tools are timely, but it’s still a narrow niche when looking at the software market overall. The wealthiest companies in the world—and some of the biggest advertisers, too—are software companies, so Duolingo’s 104 ad spend ranking among all software companies is nothing to shake a stick at. Duolingo first offered a language learning platform in 2011, so unlike many virtual learning tool providers emerging to meet today’s needs in the education space, the company has had lots of opportunities to build its brand and budget.


The majority of Duolingo’s $328,000 budget goes to Facebook and Instagram platforms, targeting both teachers and parents with its free language learning tool.

That spike in desktop display ads coincides with running a short education ad campaign primarily on reddit targeting parents just as many kids returned to school in potentially inconsistent learning environments.


ClassDojo has a focused message: helping keep students engaged

Since August 1, ClassDojo has spent $257,600 across just 6 unique ad creatives almost exclusively on YouTube to connect with primary school teachers looking for a way to help stay in touch with parents and more easily connect to students virtually.


The top creative by far is a 30-second video featuring testimonials from different teachers about how ClassDojo is making remote learning easier for them—for free.

One of the company’s creatives does focus instead on tools for making classroom learning safer rather than facilitating virtual learning. ClassDojo is certainly responding to the uncertainty about school closures and reopenings by working to expand its offering and stay relevant for schools regardless of the closure choices each institution or district makes.

Osmo makes learning at home fun for young children

Osmo provides award-winning educational games and kits for kids that can be downloaded onto an iPad. Like Duolingo, Osmo focuses its budget on paid social media ads.

Facebook and Instagram are the only two platforms Osmo allocated its $106,900 advertising budget to since August 1, 2020.

Osmo may not be a platform that’s marketed for use in a remote classroom setting, but it is offering a much deserved and desired break for parents who have found themselves juggling working, parenting, and teaching their kids from home.

Osmo’s offering of play-based learning is a compelling choice for parents needing a break they can still feel accomplished about.

Prezi gives remote presenters more flexibility for how to teach content

Unlike traditional presentation deck providers, Prezi offers presentation software that uses motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to present content in a creative, non-linear fashion. It also offers an important feature for the age of remote work and learning—the option to split a presentation screen to show both the presenter and their content at the same time. This feature is the focus of Prezi’s ad creatives, of which 99% were promoted on Facebook. The company spent $47,000 on its advertising campaigns since August 1, 2020.

One of Prezi’s top creatives from this period showcase how the Prezi Video product has been used successfully in online and hybrid learning environments. Another addresses common concerns about the effectiveness of learning from a screen all day by demonstrating that its presentation offering is more effective than traditional digital presentations.

What new software products have become essential in your day-to-day life as so many regular activities have moved to remote or hybrid environments? Check out how they’re advertising using Pathmatics Explorer.

If you’re like so many of us who now find ourselves using Zoom more than ever anticipated, you can also check out our Pathmatics Zoom backgrounds to picture yourself in your favorite city.

About Author
Sarah Fleishman

With over a decade of experience across digital marketing, content, creative, and PR, Sarah is a creative and dynamic thinker who loves to delight clients with unique and relatable content. Sarah graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology.

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