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E-learning platforms have seen usage zoom in India after the lockdown. (Photo: Bloomberg)
E-learning platforms have seen usage zoom in India after the lockdown. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Edtech in 500-cr ad blitz to drive adoption

Around 12 brands spent over 200 crore in the first half of the year, with Byju’s leading the marketing frenzy

NEW DELHI: With improving digital infrastructure and pandemic pushing education institutions to pivot towards online learning, a clutch of ed-tech firms have undertaken a 500 crore advertising blitz to drive adoption of e-learning.

According to media buyers' estimates, around 12 brands, with Byju's leading the marketing frenzy, spent over 200 crore in the first half of the year. Flushed with funds, these firms are expected to pump another 300 crore in advertising spend during the festival season, focusing on high reach properties such as Indian Premier League (on advertising and sports sponsorships) and Big Boss.

Vanita Keswani, chief executive, Madison Media Sigma, said as per its internal estimates online learning is zooming towards being among the top 10-15 ranked advertising category from its 50th rank last year.

"The lockdown has accelerated the upward trend in spends with a definitive interest in the category. These companies are leveraging television and digital as primary platforms with additional splurge on print to target local markets. However, the marketing game seems to be more on share of voice (SoV) and less on differentiation," she added.

Almost all platforms which offer e-learning services to students and working professionals have are making a huge splash on television and digital.

“These firms are dominating high reach platforms with a clear objective to reach maximum number of people," said Navin Khemka, chief executive officer (CEO), MediaCom South Asia.

Companies such as Byju's (Shah Rukh Khan), GradeUp (Kartik Aaryan), upGrad (Vicky Kaushal) and Great Learning (Virat Kohli) are also riding on celebrity endorsements for better recall and reach.

"We believe Virat Kohli will encourage millions of learners to chase career excellence with the same passion and tenacity that he brings to the game. Our new campaign with Virat will elevate the Great Learning brand to a completely new level in terms of awareness as well as a preference when people think of high-quality professional education," said Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder, Great Learning.

The platform, which caters to working professionals and college students, said that it has concluded FY20 with a booked revenue of 325 crore, a 150% increase from FY19. This has been achieved on the back of increasing demand for upskilling in digital competencies like Data Science, Analytics, AI, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity and Digital Business.

Meanwhile, upGrad, which also focuses on upskilling and higher studies courses for students and professionals, said it had allocated 175 crore for marketing at the beginning of the year with a focus on television and digital. The company has partnered with colleges such as Liverpool Business School (LBS), Deakin Business School, UK-based Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad is currently leveraging IPL advertising.

"Our key objective for the IPL 2020 is to reach out to Bharat and the 550 million viewers who will be enjoying the league both on television and Disney Hotstar. Moreover, to amplify the impact, the plan is to do a 360-degree campaign that makes upGrad visible to our target audience throughout the IPL season. We are attempting to become a mainstream brand and attain a pan India appeal with this campaign," said Arjun Mohan, chief executive, upGrad.

Vedantu, which operates in the K-12 category focusing on school students, said that is creating a niche in offering live online learning. The company is currently running campaign across television, print and digital to create awareness and drive adoption.

"We have seen a 5x growth on our platform every month and the growth has been extremely rapid, and we have doubled up our efforts to cater to our expanding learner base. The number of subscribers on Vedantu’s platform has grown exponentially to 2.5 million subscribers with collections and revenue which grew by 80%," said Shivani Suri, chief marketing officer & category head, Vedantu.

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