Education Spend Increases 18% in Paid Search Advertising; MBA Tops Keyword Ranking

August is Back To School month and today we are taking a look at the Education category in paid search.

Consisting of universities, online education institutions, career training institutions, college planning & preparation services and K-12 school sites, the Education category spent $688 million sponsoring more than 50,000 keywords via U.S. Google Desktop Text Ads from January through June 2016—an 18% increase over the same period in 2015. The bulk of this spend, $424,000, came during March, April and May, presumably when prospective students are making decisions on which school to choose for the coming school year in August.

Top Keywords -- MBA at the Top of the Class

Education Top Keywords 2016

Among the 50,000 Education keywords we examined, we found 850 terms related to a masters of business administration degree, including 5 of the Top 20 keywords by paid search ad spend. The terms ‘master in business administration’ and ‘masters of business administration’, in fact, topped the ranking with $5.8 million and $4.4 million in spend, respectively, followed by ‘master of business administration’ (ranked #4 with $4.3 million), ‘m b a’ (ranked #18 with $1.9 million) and ‘mba’ (ranked #19 with $1.8 million).

Interestingly, post-graduate degree terms were far more prevalent than undergraduate terms among the 50,000 Education keywords we studied. We found 2,172 post-graduate terms, including 1,520 terms related to a master’s degree, compared to just 877 undergraduate terms:

education degree types

Online Education

There were 5,957 keywords related to online education among the 50,000 Education terms we studied, including 2 in the Top 20 keywords: ‘online colleges’ (ranked #3 with $4.3 million in spend) and ‘online college’ (ranked #10 with $2.3 million in spend).

Vocational Schooling

The Top 20 keywords included 3 vocation-related terms, ‘nurse practitioner’, ‘psychology’ and ‘pharmacy design’. We expanded the list to include a Top 10 ranking of vocations by paid search spend:

education top vocations

Top Advertisers

To provide insight into competition in the category, we also looked at the top University and Online Education advertisers by paid search share of voice (impression share) for the top 50,000 keywords in each of the two Education subcategories. University of Phoenix led all advertisers in share of voice with a 6.14% impression share, followed by Capella University (4.92%), Full Sail University (4.75%), Walden University (2.69%) and Devry University (2.69%) rounding out the Top 5.

Edu share of voice  

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