Harvard Business School (HBS) runs digital marketing advertisements to promote its various executive education and online learning programs. The former dean of HBS, Nitin Nohria, proclaimed in 2010 that the school would not enter the online education arena in his lifetime. However, fluctuations in business school application rates and other factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic have led the higher learning institution to invest more resources in its online education services.Example of a banner ad from Harvard Business School Online
Over the past few weeks, Adalytics has assembled a small dataset of recorded ad impressions from Harvard Business School’s display ad campaigns, including header bidding data on how much the school is paying for individual impressions per ad campaign. This dataset offers a small glimpse into the programmatic strategy of one of the world’s most highly ranked business schools.Screenshot of the Adalytics browser extension, showing CPM data on a specific website for Harvard Business School Online ads (among other ads).
Harvard Business School appears to be working with the Canada-based ad exchange company Index Exchange (formerly known as Casale Media), Redwood City headquartered Pubmatic, and Los Angeles based Magnite (formerly Rubicon Project) for its real time bidding campaigns.Second example banner ad from Harvard Business School OnlineScreenshot showing Index Exchange bid server being utilized alongside Harvard Business School Online ad creatives.
Harvard Business School was observed spending up to $16.91 CPM for its online education static image ads, with an average CPM of $10.48. The lowest CPM observed was $0.07. The highest CPMs were observed on various miscellaneous websites, such as weather.com, wsj.com, apracticalwedding.com, and capitalizemytitle.com.
The wide ranging distribution of HBS’s online ads may be due to the use of re-targeting cookies. A previous Adalytics analysis found that visitors to various hbs.edu domains had large numbers of tracking cookies set in their browser.