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Online education startup MasterClass just raised $100 million. Its CMO reveals how the company is taking advantage of low TV ad rates to advertise to people at home during the pandemic.

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  • Online education startup MasterClass is introducing a new brand campaign as people stay at home amid the pandemic, timed with a new investment round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company in which it's raised $100 million. 
  • The "Today's The Day" campaign encourages people to pursue something they've always been interested in.
  • The company said it's seen a big increase in member engagement since shelter-in-place restrictions took effect.
  • Masterclass has spent more on advertising in March and April 2020 than all of 2019, according to MediaRadar.
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You've likely encountered Judy Blume asking you to take writing lessons from her or Gordon Ramsey encouraging you to learn a thing or two about cooking in MasterClass ads plastered all across social media recently.
Now, the online education startup is running a brand campaign as people staying home amid the coronavirus pandemic, timed with a new investment round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company in which it's raised $100 million.
"Today's The Day" tries to get people to get started on something they've always wanted to learn. The ads feature clips from its classes and are narrated by Spike Lee. The campaign had been in the works since before the pandemic hit, said MasterClass CMO David Schriber, but the company had to switch course from filming to using existing content.
"What we have really tried to do is tell a more comprehensive story of the portfolio of classes that we offer," Schriber told Business Insider. "The idea is that you can learn something from everyone on the platform, no matter what it is that you want to go do in life."

MasterClass has seen engagement on its platform spike since the pandemic started

MasterClass has seen more people watch its trailers and social media ads and its existing subscribers spend more time watching its classes since the pandemic started, Schriber said. While the top lesson viewed during this time has been Chris Voss's lesson on tactical empathy, the top categories have been science, culinary and lifestyle, according to the company.
"What often happens in tough macroeconomic situations [is that] people determine that they want to double down on education, explore, and broaden their career opportunities," Schriber said. "We're seeing an unprecedented level of demand, which is similar to the demand we usually see around the holidays."
Without giving specifics, Schriber said that Today's The Day also marks MasterClass's biggest TV investment yet, although digital channels including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, still make up the bulk of its marketing budget. He said that the brand uses a return on ad spend model to allocate its marketing.
"Historically, we haven't done a lot of TV ads, but what happened during the first few weeks of the pandemic was that media got less expensive," he said. "And so, our dollar went further on social media, and with some of the efficiencies that we are gaining on social media, we've had an opportunity to do more television."
MasterClass is also running ads on streaming platforms like Hulu, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, Schriber added.

MasterClass has increased spending

A number of advertisers have pulled back or stopped ad spending during to the crisis. But with demand up, MasterClass has spent more on advertising in March and April 2020 than all of 2019, according to estimates by advertising intelligence company MediaRadar. The company spent a little over $6.25 million in 2019, according to Kantar.
Before launching the new campaign, MasterClass had been steadily increasing its TV investment on networks like USA, E!, TNT, and ABC, and almost tripled its average weekly ad spend since the crisis started, according to MediaRadar.
SEE ALSO: Here's how Burger King, Chipotle, Domino's, and Subway are adapting their marketing as customers move to a delivery-based future
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Source
https://www.businessinsider.com/masterclass-launches-new-ads-to-capitalize-on-people-staying-home-2020-5?IR=T

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