Over the years we’ve all become used to the expanding reach and scope of advertising campaigns. From the catchy slogans and animated spokespeople of television commercials to the over-the-top billboards and million dollar product placement campaigns in movies, advertising is truly all around us. And the internet is no different. While the world wide web is free for anyone with a wireless device and an internet connection, achieving visibility among the competition from millions of websites comes with a hefty price tag. The more noise a company wants to make online, the more money they must spend. Google has created an empire out of the desire of advertisers and corporations to monetize web browsing, and they are one of the ways companies can judge their online reach. But while some of the largest companies in the world come together to spend over $100 million in advertising each and every day on Google, an online university is quite unexpectedly the largest advertiser they have.
According to a recent study performed by WordStream, an advertising firm that focuses on the online space, the University of Phoenix was the top spender on Google last quarter. In fact, they dropped down almost $200,000 in AdWords purchases each and every day. The University of Phoenix is an online continuing education program, and in order to maintain their hold within this expanding market they have upped their advertising spend on television and the web in the past several quarters. But the sort of companies that they beat out make the figures even more shocking.
WordStream published a graph depicting the biggest advertisers on Google’s slate, ranked by their daily spend over the third quarter of 2012. University of Phoenix led the charge with over $160,000. The only other companies to break the $100,000 mark were Ask.com, Amazon.com, Zappos.com and Hotels.com. Each are international corporations that you would think post far higher revenues than an online school. Even if that is the case, it isn’t slowing down the University of Phoenix when it comes to ad spending.
AdWords manages online advertising for Google, as well as several of the larger search engines. And while Google has other solid revenue streams, including their smartphones and mapping services, more than 90% of the company’s revenue is made through advertising. And that profit has risen over 15% this quarter, proving that online advertising is one product that is completely recession-proof.
While the University of Phoenix must reap significant benefits from this sort of spend, they are an uncommon advertising behemoth. Financial businesses were the most likely to advertise with Google this past quarter, and some of the big names in that world included Geico, Bank of America and State Farm. Travel remains close behind, with online deal sites such as Priceline and Expedia leading the way. All in all, more than five billion advertisements are seen on Google’s network of web pages each and every day. That’s close to one ad for every person on the planet. With that kind of reach, even a business offering nothing more expensive than a counseling masters degree online can afford to drop over $5 million a month to fill their e-classrooms.