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For the first time, the prestigious universities globally have been bumped down the search list by superior online marketers.  It is a further indication that socialharvard media superiority is now a no-brainer for leaders.

“In 2011, the most searched-for universities in the UK, apart from the Open University, were conventional campus-based institutions, headed by Oxford and Cambridge. By 2014, all of these UK campus universities had been overtaken by Coursera, the US-based provider of online courses. Says the Google analysis. “Higher education institutions must Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 6.27.32 amdecide whether to embrace and adapt or risk getting left behind.””

Now we might explain away the success of online retail and online newspaper purchasing as being spontaneous and low cost, but engaging with a university is typically more complex, taking time to consider commitment, status, quality and more. It nvolves careful decision making – the same considerations that you might use to select a business partner, accountant or legal firm.

And so you might intuitively think that a student would at least be tempted towards Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford rather than Open University. Your intuition is based on old thinking.

And unlike online retail this all happened in a mere three years.


Author Peter Wilkinson

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