Therefore, instead of focusing on the summer enrollment battle, we might as well turn our attention to the preparation battle for the online education summer vacation (usually from March 1st to June 20th each year).
An intuitive feeling is that compared with last year, the marketing of this year’s online education summer preparation period has been significantly tightened: from the initial advertising disappeared in elevators, outdoor and other occasions, to the suspension of information flow advertising, and then to the suspension of official account delivery. .
In addition, the staff size of education and training institutions has also shrunk significantly. Many head organizations not only suspended recruitment of tutors, sales and other positions after May this year, but also recently been exposed by the media as “suspicion of breach of contract and violent layoffs”.
The reasons behind the occurrence of the above phenomenon are nothing more than two points: First, the official attitude to rectify the chaos in the education and training industry has become more obvious; second, the desire of the education and training institutions to “survive” is particularly obvious.
Against this background, this summer, the online education industry will probably not stage a fierce “summer file” battle as it did last year.
1. The daily consumption of advertising has shrunk by nearly 90%
Looking back at the online education industry in 2020, the most prominent phenomenon is the “advertising war” between institutions. It is not an exaggeration to describe it as “crazy”.
From applications such as Weibo, Moments, Douyin, Kuaishou and Iyoteng on mobile phones, to variety shows, evening shows and TV shows on TV, to subways, buses and elevators in public places, everyone can see it. There are almost all online education advertisements everywhere.
However, the turning point occurred in February this year. Since January this year, the advertisements of Yuanjiao, Job Gang and other institutions that have been broadcast on CCTV channels gradually disappeared from the public’s sight at the end of February. Since March, people have found in elevators, outdoor and other occasions that the advertisements of the originally “overwhelming” online education institutions have also been drastically reduced.
At the same time, Xueersi Online School, Yuanjiao, Homework Gang, Gaotu and other institutions have reduced their information flow (usually referring to the information flow on Douyin Kuaishou, WeChat Guangdiantong and Moments of Friends).
“In May, the head agencies have successively suspended the delivery of information streams. According to my observations, the time to completely suspend the delivery of information streams should be around the end of May.” Hu Yong, who has been in the online education industry for many years, revealed to Bullet Finance.
In addition, the WeChat public account release plans of some head organizations have also been suspended.
Zhu Lin, a regional self-media person, told Bullet Finance that on May 22, he and Li Jiang, the agency responsible for Gaotu’s advertising, preliminarily determined that there will be four on June 7, June 22, July 3, and July 18. Advertisement on the official account of the period.
Three days later, Zhu Lin received a message from Li Jiang, “I just received the customer’s notice that the strictest regulatory policy has come out, and everything is adjusted. Otherwise (let) vote before the 10th.” The original public account advertising schedule for June was different. Adjusted to June 14 and June 29, the July schedule remains unchanged.
However, what Zhu Lin did not expect was that on May 31, Li Jiang told him to suspend the previously agreed public account advertising. He explained that “the client (Gaotu) said that due to the country’s recent cooperation in online education, The regulatory review is becoming more and more stringent. According to the company’s overall strategic unified arrangement, it is now necessary to withdraw the schedules that have been set for the summer vacation from June to August.”
However, there are still some leading education and training institutions “repeatedly testing” at the edge of the policy red line, which is mainly manifested in the violation of the advertising of the institutions.
In May of this year, the Beijing Haidian District Market Supervision Administration and the Haidian District Education Commission issued the “Reminders on the Key Contents of Advertisements in the Education and Training Industry”, which mentioned that words such as famous teachers, famous schools, first-line, and enrollment rates should not be used for publicity.
Before the introduction of the new regulations, general online large-class class advertisements were promoted by the main lecturer in order to achieve the best “famous teacher promotion” effect, and the words “famous teacher teaching, entrance rate, prestigious school” and other words would be highlighted in the slogan.
“Before, a well-known online education institution directly let the lecturer to advertise on the camera, but now the content of its advertisement on the short video platform remains unchanged, and the person who appeared on the screen has been replaced by a teaching assistant or other person.” Wang, a senior practitioner in the field of online education Jun told Bullet Finance that the agency’s advertisement only changed the person who appeared on the screen, but there was still a risk of violations.
“According to my observation, a jingle before a physics class is taught by a teacher of a teaching and training institution. The content is compiled by the main lecturer of the physics class, and the voice is also the voice of the main lecturer. It is just a change of personal appearance.” Wang Jun said.
Wang Guosheng, the founder of Beijing Literacy Mathematics Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, also mentioned that the routine of “how many mandatory test points and how many big tricks” was used in the advertisements of some institutions is still used by many institutions. “But from the teacher’s point of view, the notion of how many knowledge test points are sold to students is not scientific in itself, and it is also selling anxiety to parents.”
What needs to be mentioned is that both the reduction of marketing position and the scale of delivery have brought about a sharp drop in the average daily investment amount of online education institutions.
“Bullet Finance” obtained a reliable data from Hu Yong: during the period from May 1 to May 26, 2020, the daily average of Xueersi Online School, Ape Guidance, Job Gang, Gaotu, etc. The investment amount reached 7-8 million yuan; and during the period from May 1 to May 26 this year, this figure was updated to 1 to 2 million yuan, a sharp decrease of 85.71% year-on-year.
It is not difficult to see that the previous wave of launches by various agencies as if they were in a collective competition “ebbed” overnight.
2. Fancy marketing to save yourself
In fact, even if limited by the situation, the large-scale marketing activities of various agencies were stopped, but the online large-scale class agencies did not give up the idea of marketing and promotion because of this. After all, “surviving” is particularly important at this time.
Selling lectures in live broadcast rooms on short video platforms is currently one of the most popular marketing methods in the industry. Hu Yong revealed to “Bullet Finance” that online education institutions sell courses in the live broadcast rooms, basically selling low-cost courses, but the problem is that no live broadcast will always sell the same single product, multiple single products or best-selling products. Explosive products are the norm for live streaming. Therefore, this method can only wash the amount for a short period of time. “Long-term users are washed by the same batch of lessons, and the more they do it, the worse the effect.” He said.
Due to the increased pressure on the marketing side, a number of online organizations have also placed their hopes on telemarketing (hereinafter referred to as “e-marketing”).
As usual, in April and May every year, education and training institutions recruit a large number of e-sales personnel. Last year, affected by the epidemic, students were unable to get to school. Under the call of the Ministry of Education to “suspend classes without stopping”, online education institutions have played the trump card of “free classes”.
According to Wang Jun’s recollection, in the early days of the epidemic, teachers in schools were generally not very comfortable with online teaching. Therefore, school teachers will recommend free online lessons from ape tutoring, homework assistant and other institutions to students during class. “Each teacher basically recommends 3-4 times a week to the parents of students, so the awareness of these brands is very high during that period. After the students’ audition is over, the agency’s sales document will generally be successful.”
But this year, school teachers may only recommend online courses from institutions once every two weeks. “If it’s not for the holidays or the students have other special circumstances, the teachers will usually not push the free classes of the institution to the parents of the students.” Wang Jun said.
Therefore, in April of this year, many online education companies increased their e-marketing efforts. “In April, parents of students received more than a dozen phone harassment from agency customer service every week. But in May, the agency’s telemarketing efforts began to weaken again. Parents of students could only receive 1-2 calls per week. A call from the agency’s customer service.” Wang Jun said.
In addition, online education institutions continue to increase the promotion of auxiliary materials, the most typical of which is the production of gift boxes for auxiliary materials.
“Ape tutoring, Xueersi and other institutions have made a lot of gift boxes. This year’s scale will be larger than last year.” Xu Hua, a senior education investor, told Bullet Finance. Although these gift boxes are relatively rough in production, they contain Pre-test papers, analysis of previous years’ test papers and other content are what students need.
“The key is that these gift boxes are very cheap, and some boxes can be received for only 1 yuan.” In Xu Hua’s view, although the gift boxes are sent by education and training institutions through advertising, this advertising method is not over-marketing. It is a “win-win” approach for institutions and users.
Not only that, but online agencies are also experimenting with the “planting trees and getting fruits for free” to acquire customers.
According to Xu Hua, there are currently many Internet platforms that have launched the gameplay of “planting trees and getting fruits for free”, and get corresponding energy by watching 15-30 seconds of advertisements. Although this marketing method is not obvious enough, the user level is not small, and the Internet platforms are basically parent users. More importantly, the supervisory authority generally does not participate in or pay attention to the gameplay of “planting trees and getting fruits for free”, which is less risky.
Previous advertisements were mostly financial loans and games, but now the proportion of K12 online education advertisements is increasing sharply. “If the advertising volume of the organization increases greatly, it means that the advertising effect is good. If it disappears after a week or two, it means that the effect is not good. And every three advertisements I use now, they are all about K12 online education, and they are all the same. The advertisement shows that it has increased investment.” Xu Hua said.
In addition, many organizations are also achieving customer acquisition through agents.
Chen Qing, a parent of a primary school student in Beijing, revealed to Bullet Finance that in late May this year, a head agency agent added his WeChat via mobile phone number search, and then recommended several head online education institutions for low prices. class. “This agent’s speech skills are also very basic, and he says,’You can’t buy a fool for ten or twenty dollars’ or something like that.”