The MIT Opencourseware Project MIT Opencourseware Team

How Helps MIT Opencourseware

In 2001, MIT decided to put all their courses online for free. Class notes, curriculum, syllabus, videos, everything: it’s all online for free at MIT OpenCourseWare.

In 2005, MIT got a $500,000 grant from the Google Foundation. MIT asked their top graduates at Google how to manage this and Google said “Talk with Andreas. Here’s his phone number.”

  • I set up 48,548 keywords for MIT’s 38 academic subjects in 1,600 courses (such as aeronautics, chemistry, computer science, linguistics, mathematics, nuclear engineering, philosophy, and women’s studies).
  • I put priority on reaching educators. If professors, university lecturers, teachers, tutors, and instructors learn about MIT OCW, they will use it throughout their teaching career and pass it on to other instructors and students. By reaching one instructor, I reach perhaps 1,000 students.
  • Because I speak a bunch of languages, I translated keywords into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Arabic.


Google set up the account in September 2005. It got 52 clicks per day at $0.76 per click. I took over in October 2005:

  • Clicks went from 52 clicks per day to 17,650 clicks per day
  • Cost-per-Click (CPC) fell from $0.76 to $0.07
  • Click-through-Rate (CTR) went from 0.12% to 4.02%

From 2005 to February 2013, this has produced 450 million impressions, 10.8 million clicks, and spent US$1,128,000 of Google’s money (thanks, Google!). MIT estimates 4.2 million people have downloaded courses. Many of them go on to become professionals, teachers, or professors.


  • Global campaigns are multilingual campaigns. You can’t use only English. The top 100 keywords include English, Chinese, Arabic, German, French, and Spanish.
  • Arabic works very well. The click rate for Arabic keywords often exceeds 30%.
  • German also produces good results. Many students in South America, Asia, the Arab world, and Africa study at German universities. They learned their subjects in German and search in German.
  • The Web doesn’t have weekends. Sunday in California is Monday in India and China. The Arab work week is Saturday through Wednesday. If you carry out global campaigns, it’s every day.

How much does MIT pay me for this? Zero. I do this because it’s an important project. I’ve met many MIT graduates in Silicon Valley: they’re really nice people, very bright, and great to work with. Here’s what MIT says about me: I’m listed between Bain, Google, and the United Nations.

Download the Case Study

MIT Case Study

MIT Case Study: MIT’s OpenCourseWare project asked us to get more traffic. We grew MIT’s traffic from 52 visits per day to 17,500 visits per day and dropped the cost-per-click from $0.70 to $0.07. I did this by adding campaigns that were targeted at “most likely to use” audiences. I also launched a global campaign in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and Arabic, along with all the major European languages. The MIT Case Study.

 MIT Opencourseware    

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