To attract applicants, some universities have turned to an unconventional marketing strategy: sponsoring listicles on BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed has partnered with traditional higher education institutions as well as a number of online institutions in the past year, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Temple University was one of BuzzFeed’s first university clients, with six sponsored articles starting in 2015.
One example of this strategy is BuzzFeed’s “13 Things You Could Actually Buy If You Didn’t Have Student Loan Debt,” which may not immediately look like a college advertisement. But the article says, “Fifty-five percent of all University of Wyoming students graduate with $0 in student loan debt. Get the best value for your college education and apply to be a Cowboy today!” at the top and at the bottom of the article, where there is also a promotional video for the university.
The sponsored content creation is not sold individually but is built into a bigger package, which includes the website’s browsing data as well as later rounds of distribution, BuzzFeed Vice President Stephen Loguidice told The Chronicle. These packages are also customized for each institution’s advertising and communications goals.
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