Valentine’s Day 2021: What Digital Marketers Need to Know This Year

Valentine’s Day 2021: What Digital Marketers Need to Know This Year

Valentine’s Day 2021 may look a little different (surprise!), but love always prevails, doesn’t it? Retail has held steady during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, while the holiday itself has evolved in its own way to be more inclusive and creative. Digital marketers, like this Houston digital marketing agency, should adjust messaging to the times, maximize contextual targeting and optimization, commit to a multi-channel approach, and more. Read the data and recommendations for a successful holiday of love below.

Spending Habits

In 2020, consumers in the US reported an average spend of $196 on Valentine’s Day, an increase of 21% over 2019, according to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF). (eMarketer, February 2020)

  • Age 35-44 had the highest average expected spending in 2020: $358.78
  • Age 65+ had the lowest: $99.14

→ Target and adjust messaging content towards Gen X.

Favorite Gifts

Candy: More than half (52%) of US internet users planned to purchase sweets for Valentine’s Day, ranking above flowers, an evening out or jewelry in 2020. (eMarketer, February 2020) A combined 62% of internet users spent on an experience: evening out, tickets to an event, trip, or spa. A combined 62% of internet users spent on an experience: evening out, tickets to an event, trip, or spa. However, due to coronavirus safety concerns and varying mandates across the country and world, many users had reportedly chucked the idea of going outdoors. Instead, many of them probably preferred to celebrate the day at home by getting a spa-like experience using something like Lazarus Naturals CBD. Yet others had moved to Netflix to have a cosy evening with their loved ones. We also predict that Valentine’s Day gift-givers will steer away from having outdoor fun and instead shift to creative, at-home entertainment and experiences to celebrate like spice up their sex lives with sexy couple games. Offer creative ideas or products to inspire them.

Favorite gifts and spending habits can be tracked so that you can get the edge over your competitors this Valentine’s Day. If you are using SEO strategies then you may benefit from looking at things like this Surfer SEO review, which helps you to review patterns and adjust your strategy before you begin putting it out there, making it more cost-effective and improving success.

Types of Gifts US Internet Users Intended to Purchase in 2020:

  • 52% Candy
  • 43% Greeting Cards
  • 37% Flowers

(NRF via eMarketer, February 2020)

→ Offer creative ideas or products to inspire consumers

Retail as an Indicator for Valentine’s Day 2021

If we gauge retail ecommerce habits as a worthy indicator of how spending will continue into Valentine’s Day, then expect more shoppers to order online this year versus last. Thanks to ecommerce, retail stayed afloat during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and consumers in turn developed new levels of comfort with online ordering.

Retail Spending Rebounds During COVID:

  • New research by Mastercard shows U.S. ecommerce sales were up 92.7% in May 2020, with more than $53 billion spent via ecommerce channels between April and May-the height of the pandemic. For scale, that’s more spent online than that last 12 Cyber Mondays combined (DigitalCommerce360).
  • Between July and August 2020, total retail sales in the United States rose by 0.6%. During this period, retail sales of clothing and clothing accessory retailers grew by 2.9%, rebounding from consistent and heavy declines in February, March, and April (Statista, September 2020).

→ Consumers are more comfortable ordering online. Make it easier for them & offer incentives.

Digital Ad Spend: Multichannel Approach

Engagement via mobile device continues to grow year after year, and consumers – especially shoppers – are consistently utilizing a multi-channel approach to read, research, engage with brands, and ultimately buy.

Retail Digital Ad Spend by Digital Marketers:

  • eMarketer expects retail to remain the largest spender on digital ads among all verticals. The industry will increase spending by 3.1% to $28.23 billion. (eMarketer, October 2020)
  • Retail ad spending on mobile will surpass $18 billion this year, and desktop/laptop spending will reach nearly $10 billion.
  • Mobile had a 106% higher CTR than Desktop in 1H 2020 on Bidtellect’s platform, so it’s imperative to implement a multi-channel approach (Bidtellect 1H 2020 Native Report)

→ Utilize a multichannel approach and scale across the open web to reach more of your target consumers

Breaking the Valentine’s Day Mold:

Who Needs a Partner? Treat Yourself

55% planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day in some way in 2020. But even those who answered “Not celebrating” did in some way. 35% of 18-25 year olds said their non-traditional Valentine’s Day gift or celebration would be “Treating Yourself.” (NRF, 2020 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey)

Lovers & Friends & Family Count, Too:

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for significant others, spouses, even casual lovers anymore. Parks and Recreation may have dubbed the holiday “Galentine’s Day” to celebrate friendship, but gift-giving seems to span across all relationships, including family and coworkers (Saturday Night Live even wrote a spoof about it). Since 2010, spend on Valentine’s Day gifts for friends has nearly tripled, from $737 million to $2.1 billion (NRF, February 2020). Retailers have adapted with more inclusive products that “allow for casual or non romantic gift giving” (eMarketer, February 2020).

Valentine’s Day Spend on Others in 2020:

  • Significant Other/Spouse: $14.1 billion
  • Other Family Members: $4.2 billion
  • Friends: $2.1 billion

(NRF, 2020 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey)

Don’t Forget One’s Most Loyal Companion: Your Furry Friend

Don’t forget your furry friends! Valentine’s Day spending on that very special pet in your life has also increased. In 2020, 27% of those celebrating Valentine’s Day said they’d buy gifts for their pets, up from 17% in 2010 (NRF, February 2020). Spend on pet gifts has grown exponentially, from just $450 million in 2010 to more than $1.7 billion a decade later (NRF, February 2020).

The trend is not just being driven by younger consumers like millennials and Gen Zers; spending on gifts for pets has grown among all shoppers under the age of 55.

→ Valentine’s Day now means a day to show appreciation to people and pets that you love – including yourself. Cater messaging to this broader definition and don’t limit spend or targeting.

We hope this data on Valentine’s Day trends, shopping habits, and digital marketing strategy help you make 2021 your more successful year yet!

PLUS: 6 Steps to Success for Valentine’s Day 2020:

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Charlotte Otremba ​is the Sr. Manager of Marketing and Communications at Bidtellect.

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Bidtellectual Spotlight: Katie Broussard Makes a Difference for Dallas Children This Holiday Season

Bidtellectual Spotlight: Katie Broussard Makes a Difference for Dallas Children This Holiday Season

Where’s your current remote work setup? For Bidtellect’s Katie Broussard , it is surrounded by half-decorated gingerbread houses at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital. As Chair of the hugely popular annual Cookies & Castles fundraiser, she’d usually be gearing up for a big day of decorating. Instead, they’ve adapted to the pandemic with a drive-through gingerbread house pick-up operation.

We asked Katie about her amazing work as Chair of the event, her connection to Scottish Rite for Children, and how they’ve adapted to this year’s unusual circumstances.

Scottish Rite for Children is one of the nation’s leading pediatric orthopedic centers and gives children and patients a chance to live their dreams with state-of-the-art prosthetic needs and services no matter the cost. 

Katie Broussard and Co-Chair Cookies & Castles Event Scottish Rite

Thanks for sharing with us Katie! What is the Cookies & Castles event and whom does it benefit?

Cookies & Castles is a Gingerbread Extravaganza! It’s typically a weekend long fundraiser at Scottish Rite where the community comes together to decorate gingerbread houses and gingerbread men. Typically, attendees select delicious decorations from our famous “Candy Bar” filled with 6,000 pounds of sweet treats.

This year is our 13th year, and our first-ever drive-through only event due to safety precautions. It’s still an “extravaganza” in every sense of the world: 2000 gingerbread houses (the most houses we have ever ordered ) and 6500 pounds of candy (the most ever). Last year we raised over $140K… this year (even with the pandemic) we are on track to meet that again.

When did you first get involved with the event and Scottish Rite for Children?

I started volunteering with Scottish Rite through Cookies & Castles 6 years ago. 

Tell us about your role as Chair of the Cookies & Castles Event!

I lead a team of 40 women alongside my co-chairman. Our main goal is to make friends for the hospital and share the joy of what they are doing for kids around the world. (Yes, from around the world – not just Dallas!)  All while raising money for the Prosthetics Department.

Together, we start planning the weekend-long event early in the year, securing corporate sponsorships, creating marketing campaigns, recruiting volunteers, organizing event registrations and logistics, and liaising media relations. We have a fantastic group of volunteers that work all year with us to make this event possible. We sell out QUICK every year. This year required a lot of problem solving and reimaging how things would look due to increased health and safety concerns caused by the pandemic. We shifted to a drive-through only event instead of in person. 

The event has been so successful that this year we helped launch a satellite event in Frisco, Texas. There are now three Cookies & Castles events throughout the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex with talks of expanding even further.

child decorating gingerbread house Cookies & Castles event
child playing guitar prosthetic arm Scottish Rite
child decorating gingerbread house Cookies & Castles event
Katie Broussard Cookies & Castles Event in Mask
gingerbread houses Cookies & Castles

What is Scottish Rite for Children?

Scottish Rite for Children is one of the nation’s leading pediatric orthopedic centers and treats a wide range of orthopedic conditions from injuries to neurological disorders. 

The Orthotics & Prosthetics department at Scottish Rite provides state-of-the-art, custom-made orthoses and prostheses for patients with special orthopedic needs. But did you know that the cost of one prosthetic can range from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the complexity? Patients receive treatment regardless of the family’s ability to pay. The team at Scottish Rite for Children is on-site (in both Dallas and Frisco) and has the ability to collaborate with doctors, therapists and other medical staff during the child’s visit. There are only a few facilities like this in the country!

What drew you to the cause?

My cousin was a patient years ago and I have had many friends be the beneficiary of the life-changing treatments from Scottish Rite.

My first time visiting the hospital I was hooked. It is filled with joy and hope. From the security guards to the VPs on staff, everyone here is sweet and caring. You walk through the doors and feel welcomed and at home… and that’s just me walking in as a volunteer. Can you imagine how calming and encouraging that would feel if you were a patient walking in feeling that way?

This hospital gives kids the chance to live their dreams… no request is too big. The prosthetics department makes speciality devices for kids to run, be artists, play the violin, archery, cheer.. You name it! That is what makes this place so special… all of this and at no cost to the families. 

Events like our Cookies & Castles come in to help support the Prosthetics department and give the kids the opportunity to literally ‘chase their dreams’ 

Favorite part?

Easy: the joy you see from the patients here. Hearing their stories and how they’re living their best life now thanks to Scottish Rite makes all the long hours and hard work putting together this fundraising event worth it. 

Oh! And the endless amount of Chewy Sprees + Hot Tamales don’t hurt either 🙂 

Finally, how can we help?

We just launched a new campaign called the Wagon of Hope to help raise $5,000 to gift 12 specialty prosthetic devices to patients this holiday season. We have 2 of 12 fulfilled. These specialty prosthetics allow patients to participate in sports, play instruments, and participate in other dexterous activities.

You can donate on any of our social media channels (@cookiesandcastles) or online here

For more information about services available at the Dallas or Frisco campus, volunteering or donating, visit

Scottish Rite for Children Stats on Cookies & Castles

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Charlotte Otremba ​is the Sr. Manager Marketing & Communications at Bidtellect

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5 Tips to Manage Stress and Avoid Burnout

5 Tips to Manage Stress and Avoid Burnout

We’re all adjusting to the new normal: working from home, helping the kids with school, and handling the challenges of everday life while change is constant. Here are five tips to manage stress and avoid burnout.

Tip 1: Be grateful for the things you already have and constantly remind yourself how lucky you are.

Every night, before going to sleep, I mentally list three things I am grateful for today. For example, I am grateful that I have a job that I love (we know that many people lost their jobs or cannot continue working due to the health crisis); my kids continue going to school and learn new things (YAY!), and they can still do most of their after-school activities and sports; all of my family members are alive and healthy.

Tip 2: When you feel overwhelmed, take a step back and reset your priorities.

Working in a fast paced startup company, we all have an unending list of tasks to complete at work. Then add to the list all the everyday household chores like cleaning, cooking, picking up and dropping off kids, etc. I try to keep a TO-DO list handy and take advantage of services that make my life easier. I am very grateful for grocery delivery services that save me time and a trip to the store. Our grocery list doesn’t change that much from time to time, so reordering go-to items is super easy. I keep quick, 15-minute meal recipes on hand for easy lunches or dinners when time is short.

Taking a quick moment to write out a list and prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency works wonders to clear the mind, streamline your approach, and determine what actually deserves your focus at that moment. And if it does feel overwhelming, I’ve learned to to ask for help. People are usually kind and willing to help.

Tip 3: Take care of yourself – mentally and physically.

Throughout quarantine, I tried (and continue to try) to stay active: go for walks around the neighborhood one or two times a day, ride my bicycle, take online yoga classes. Prolonged inactivity can cause mood swifts and low energy. Stressful lifestyle changes can even cause ED in men. Of course, you can remedy it by consulting a doctor who might prescribe sildenafil. However, for overall wellness goals, it is better to follow a routine physical activity.

And at night, having a sound sleep can be helpful in managing stress and other physical and mental tensions. Having a proper bedding, in which you can fall back and take a lengthy sleep without much tossing and turning is what you would ideally need. In case you have a bedding that is worn out, and is not aiding to your quality sleep, it’s probably time to change it. You can take a look at The ultimate guide to John Lewis mattresses or any other such guides and find a mattress that fits your needs. It’s best for you to not compromise on your bedding and sleep quality.

Furthermore, finding some quiet time for yourself is important too. In the morning before work and just after the kids leave for school, I enjoy drinking my coffee and catching up the news or scrolling through Facebook. Every weekend, at least once, I try to go to the beach with my family. I love the ocean; we have a special bond. It helps me to recharge my batteries. Before bed, I like to read a book to relax. Lately, I’ve enjoyed the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, which are filled with inspiring short stories. Well, all these work for me. If you are someone who always wanted to try some cannabis or shroom chocolate, try them! Because destressing doesn’t have to be always about the conventional means.

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Tip 4: Try to keep up with social interactions. They’re super important.

Since we stopped going out during the pandemic, I got a chance to really bond with some of my neighbors. We enjoy having drinks outside on the weekends (while keeping our distance), and share news and even plan future events (“when everything goes back to normal”).

I also enjoy virtual zoom happy hours with my wonderful colleagues or my friends out of town. Those are always fun! And a great way to manage stress 😉

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Tip 5: Get a good night’s sleep, cut back on screen time, and make time for your hobbies.

Sleeping can be hard at the moment with there being so much to worry about. Try to find the time to do the things that make you happy. In my free time, I am always trying to find time for my hobbies or trying to learn something new. Lately, I enjoy painting and baking. Luckily there are lots of Youtube videos and tutorials for both. I also enjoy reading books and playing tennis. I have a friend who loves to play poker online in her spare time on websites like, she doesn’t find it stressful as she only puts a little bit in, she gets excited when she wins, and any money she does get she puts it towards something she really wants. It all depends on who the person is and what they love doing!

These are my 5 tips for managing stress and preventing burn-out. Being a working parent is hard. We are all trying to do our best at work and at home. But .. we are not perfect and it’s totally fine. Enjoy the little things in life because those are the most important.

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Yulia Khudzik ​is the Quality Lead at Bidtellect.

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Travel Post-Coronavirus: What Should Advertisers Do Now?

Travel Post-Coronavirus: What Should Advertisers Do Now?

How has the coronavirus crisis impacted travel? What are the expected consumer trends and what can brands be doing now? How can advertisers adjust their messaging? This is the coronavirus travel impact for digital advertisers.

Will Travel Continue Post-Coronavirus?

Nearly four months into social distancing measures implemented due to the spread of coronavirus, we’re all daydreaming of jetting off to tropical beach locales and desperate to visit family and friends far and wide. Based on the latest research and best practices, travel will continue. But while consumers are eager to travel, health and safety concerns are causing trepidation. This doesn’t mean they’re down for the count: advertisers would do well to stay in touch with consumers during this time and fill them with confidence about sanitization measures and loyalty programs. So whether they are visiting a resort with a hotel warrnambool package or they are camping out at a retreat, they need to feel safe whilst they are there, and companies can help with that. We outline the latest research and best practices for travel and coronavirus. This is the coronavirus travel impact.

Strong growth is expected post-vaccine, resulting in a digital travel sales growth of 21% next year in the US. (eMarketer)

Did Someone Say Road Trip? Expect more Local Travel

Summer traditionally conjures images of warmer weather, lazy days and lighter workloads, and travel. As some states begin lightening restrictions, the prospect of “summer vacation” is a tantalizing possibility. Parents with kids who are nearly bored to death, are prepped with everything they might need for a trip, like camping tents or all in one car seats, and they’re ready to roll. Singles, or couples without kids, cannot wait break the monotony of isolation with a long, well-planned holiday. Hence, to quench the travel thirst and still remain safe, you can count on local travel, especially by car, which avoids crowds. Traveling by car is also cheaper, as many Americans face economic hardship and are wary of frivolous spending during a still-uncertain time. As long as Americans are prepared for their car trips, they will be able to have a safe and productive summer whilst following guidelines on safety. This not only includes health safety but driving safety as many will take to the roads. Drivers will need to make sure that their cars are working efficiently and they have done all the necessary checks. If they are traveling far then they will need to ensure that their tyres are in top condition, but to be safe they may want to look at where to buy tyres online to keep as spares in their trunk.

40% of consumers say that they plan to make fewer long-distance leisure trips and instead would consider planning more short distance leisure trips (Forrester’sConsumer Energy Index Online Survey, Q2 2020).

77% of US adults feel comfortable traveling by vehicle when coronavirus restrictions are lifted (eMarketer, May 2020).

Only 19% of US adults would book and travel abroad during June-August 2020 (eMarketer, May 2020).

25% of US respondents say they’re going to make use of promotions and discountswhen booking vacations post-outbreak (eMarketer, June 2020)

And according to eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg, “As summer breaks approach, US consumers’ appetite for travel is starting to increase. But fears of infection, foreign travel restrictions, and the desire to avoid a quarantine will keep most of those who pack their bags closer to home. Domestic travel, particularly car trips, will be the most popular form of leisure travel this year.” (eMarketer,June 2020)

Watch: 7 Messaging Tips for Travel Advertisers During Coronavirus

Show Off Your Cleaning Skills

The biggest coronavirus travel impact? More cleaning.

It (hopefully) goes without saying that a higher-standard of sanitization measures will be implemented once hotels, home shares, airplanes, and other forms of travel and transportation resume (and they already have). Furthermore, face masks will be used throughout venues, so if you’re looking for for some suitable protection, check out N95 masks for sale and the other face coverings available to you. The CDC has offered clear guidelines for cleaning and disinfection for post-coronavirus travel. Consumers feeling nervous will only feel at ease traveling armed with the knowledge that travel companies are taking these measures.

Just as important as taking the sanitization measures is SHOWING the sanitization measures. Consumers are feeling wary, even nervous – displaying hand sanitizer, wipes, employees cleaning surfaces – will further put them at ease.

Demonstrating safety precautions serves an emotional purpose as well as physical: for consumers, it comes down to trusting how the company is protecting consumers and employees. Consumers want to feel in control of their surroundings and in control of their health and safety.

82% of adults said they support deep cleaning after every night (YouGov data via eMarketer, June 2020)

76% were in favor of airlines adding sanitizing guidelines during the night safety demonstration (YouGov data via eMarketer, June 2020)

Messaging Suggestions

1. Brands can provide reassurance by being a trusted source of relevant information. Help consumers get over their fear of traveling by conveying updated travel information and cleanliness standards, for example.

2. Communicate new sanitization measures to put consumers at ease before they travel. It will build trust with loyal customers and attract new customers on the fence about traveling or deciding between one brand or another.

3. Be positive and hopeful; be the light at the end of the dark pandemic tunnel. When consumers see a positive outlook, they will be more hopeful and likely to travel with that brand.

4. Be mindful of the financial impact of the pandemic, as well. Offer pricing solutions, deals, flexible cancellation policies – and communicate that. Indicatesensitivity and awareness; don’t be tone-deaf.

5. Show loyalty to your loyal customers. Brands have already begun doing this, but communicate frequently with loyal members/programs and offer them incentives to resume travel with you. Stay in touch with tips on how to use points and o er easy ways for them to book in advance.

6. Big hotels and chains will have resources to fall back on. To keep up, boutique hotels and smaller travel chains should not go silent, but stay relevant and in touch.

7. Advertise locally! A vacation in your own town, weekend getaways, road trips, etc. will be more palatable to consumers.

This is the coronavirus travel impact. So get cleaning, keep in touch, and be a beacon of hope and reassurance during this uncertain time. We’re all eager to pack our bags. Advertisers should keep in mind these changes in consumer behavior, and continue messaging during coronavirus for travel in the future.

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

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The Current State of Higher Education and Coronavirus

The Current State of Higher Education and Coronavirus

How has the coronavirus crisis has impacted education? What will students trend towards and how can colleges, universities, and alternate learning programs adjust their solutions and messaging?

Current State of Education

Coronavirus may have sent students home early, but on the other side of this crisis is a chance for a reimagining of “traditional” education: skill-specific online courses, shorter degree timelines, and a more flexible approach to higher education, combining community college, online, and four-year institution education programs. Those with the greatest chance of weathering the storm will be those adopting flexible learning options, technology solutions, and – especially – online learning.

Here’s the current numbers:

  • U.S. colleges are predicting $100 million losses for the spring along with millions in lost ticket sales as athletic seasons were cut short (AP News)
  • A higher education trade group has predicted a 15% drop in enrollment nationwide, amounting to a $23 billion revenue loss. (New York Times)
  • Simpson Scarborough predicts a possible 20% decline in domestic undergraduate enrollment for 4-year institutions.

Technology Adjustment and Rise of Online Education

Colleges and universities have already recognized the importance of incorporating technology into learning programs. Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, and this will only increase post-coronavirus crisis. And language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, have seen a significant surge in usage since COVID-19 (WeForum).

  • Education providers will increase their tech budgets by 5.9%. Demand for education services is still strong, but disenchantment with the results of online education has introduced caution into tech investments. (Forrester)
  • Cengage has seen a 55% increase in the number of students who have signed up for free subscriptions to its online textbooks. (New York Times)
  • The New York Times predicts that faculty will permanently incorporate online tools(to which many are being exposed for the first time) into conventional classes.
  • The overall market for online education is projected to reach $350 Billion by2025 (WeForum)

Online learning and community colleges will fare the best

Online Learning Institutions Can Teach Colleges Something

Online learning works well for developing specific skills and second careers/career pivots, but many institutions are still working out the kinks (to put it mildly). Among those that have mastered online learning are dedicated online institutions like Coursera and Udacity, who also partner with universities and companies. They tend to offer a mixed model of free and paid-for learning options of varying lengths.”Digital-skills jobs will be where there is the greatest demand,” Mr. Maggioncalda said, “and those jobs will be less likely to be affected by pandemics in the future.” (New York Times)

Since the popularity of online classes has grown throughout the world, several online websites have added supplementary certificates and online examinations similar to ai-900 exam, ccna 200-301 and many others that could help secure job roles in various fields. That said, websites that are offering online courses and examinations might also be considering offering graduation certificates to the students. It seems that by providing students with diploma certificates, the websites are trying to achieve more popularity among the students. Moreover, such websites happen to send gifts and keepsakes similar to the ones found on websites like
to students who are about to graduate to boost their morale. By encouraging students to pursue online courses, the online sites are also helping the IT industry to gain traction at the moment. The world is increasingly becoming a digital cocoon, and it’s past time for people to devise novel ways to enrol students in various courses and certifications. There are numerous websites, such as exam topics, where you may learn more about these qualifications and their importance in today’s digital world.

  • Udacity courses take most students four to six months to complete, if they put in10 hours a week. The average cost is $1,200. (New York Times)
  • Coursera collaborates with 200+ universities and companies, including DukeUniversity and Google, according to their website.
  • Before the pandemic hit, Coursera projected growth of 30% this year to more than$200 million. (New York Times)
  • Fewer than 10% of Coursera students pay for courses; they take them free. (New York Times)
  • 60% of students in Coursera degree programs try free courses first. (New York Times)

Students Are Willing to Move Online

Those that do offer online courses are ahead of the game, offering cost-saving convenience and safety. Real online education lets students move at their own pace and includes such features as continual assessments so they can jump ahead as soon as they’ve mastered a skill, according to Eric Fredericksen, associate vice president for online learning at the University of Rochester. (New York Times)

  • About a third of surveyed students plan to enroll in an online college post-COVID (SimpsonScarborough)
  • 15% of college students who, when given the option to finish their degree online or complete their degree in-person, want to finish online (SimpsonScarborough)
  • More than half of American adults who expect to need more education or training after this pandemic say they would do it online, according to a survey of 1,000 people (Strada Education Network)
  • Minorities are disproportionately affected by the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis: 41% (vs. 24%) of minority high school seniors won’t attend college in the fall and 18% (vs. 13%) will finish college online(SimpsonScarborough)

Traditional Colleges Need to Improve Their Online Learning

If traditional colleges plan to permanently adopt online learning, they have some learning to do themselves. Studies show that students aren’t as happy with the online experience – namely, that they don’t feel they are learning enough or that the quality matches the in-person learning experience. Still, online higher education “is a thin diet for the typical 18-year-old,” said Richard Garrett, the chief research officer at Eduventures. “But today’s 18-year-olds are tomorrow’s 28-year-olds with families and jobs, who then realize that online can be useful.” (New York Times)

Part of the issue is the time and resources it takes to build out a successful online course; COVID left many scrambling to catch up, exposing weaknesses.”Developing a genuine online course or program can consume as much as a year of faculty training and collaboration with instructional designers, and often requires student orientation and support and a complex technological infrastructure.” (New York Times)

  • 75% of students said they don’t think they’re receiving a quality learning experience online (OneClass via New York Times)
  • 67% of college and graduate students said they didn’t nd online classes as effective as in-person ones ( poll via New York Times, April)
  • A few top-tier universities, such as the University of Michigan and the Georgia Institute of Technology, already offer some full degree programs through online platforms. (New York Times)

Cost-Saving Community Colleges Will Grow (even more) in Popularity

There is already a growing trend of students starting college by way of a community college first to complete general requirements before transferring into a more rigorous four-year institution. It saves money and time. For those financially strained after the crisis, the community college choice is a no-brainer, even for the remainder of school, as well. Administrators anticipate that students grappling with the financial and psychological impacts of the virus could choose to stay closer to home, go to less expensive schools, take a year off or not go to college at all. (New York Times)

  • 26% of college students said they were unlikely to return to their current college or university in the Fall. (SimpsonScarborough)
  • 5% of high school seniors and 4% of current college students say they will enroll at a different institution (SimpsonScarborough)
  • Nearly half of surveyed students plan to attend a community college due to the crisis (SimpsonScarborough)

Messaging Suggestions

We’ve said it before: build trust. Be present, offer solutions with prudence and sensitivity, and pay special attention to cost and technology capabilities. Additionally, if you find that using say a video hosting platform is feasible, then go for it too. Because various online video hosting platforms seem to offer highlights and abilities that are in par with the need of todays education. Regardless, you might want to take a look at the following:

  • Be mindful of cost: advertise low-cost and flexible learning options, as well as free trials.
  • Advertise the advanced nature of or improvement of your online learning program capabilities; many students are disillusioned with “Zoom learning”
  • Offer free or discounted learning tools such as online textbooks to help offset costs of learning further.
  • Be sensitive to the changes and mindful of coming off tone-deaf; offer hope and promise of a better future.
  • Over-communicate: 69% of college students who say their institution’s COVID-19 communications are fair or poor have a worse opinion of the school than they did before the pandemic hit (SimpsonScarborough)

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

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