To Reach College Students, Marketers Stay with TV

Marketers might think they need to use the trendiest media formats to connect with today’s college students. While it’s true that these consumers engage with brand on social media, they pay attention to promotional messages in other formats. In fact, new research shows that TV ads are most effective when connecting with today’s students.

Barnes & Noble College Marketing just published its 2012 College Marketing Report. The results are so intriguing they may have even surprised the researchers. For all the focus on social media and mobile marketing, 42% of surveyed students say “TV ads are the most effective form of advertising.”

This doesn’t mean brands should stay away from Facebook. On the contrary, over 2/3’s of students are checking out brands on the popular social networking site on a weekly basis. What they expect and want to find on Facebook is:

  • Social engagement 26%
  • Good coupons 26%
  • Fun contests 19%

But over half of students do not want to be advertised to on Facebook. The same goes for texts on smartphones.  Well over half, 61%, of college kids do not want to see an ad masquerading as a text message.

College students as a whole are impressionable and altruistic. They make a great target for brands that are supporting charities and causes. Over 60% of students will pay more to buy products that are connected to causes they believe in.

The survey also revealed that 63% of students are not interested in QR codes on ads.

Lisa Malat, Barnes & Noble College's VP, Marketing & Operations, notes that “Understanding student attitudes and preferences is paramount to reaching them in the right way and delivering a shopping experience that enhances their overall college experience.” For many marketers, the right way to connect continues to be through a TV ad campaign.

To learn more about Full-​Time Students, check out the Audience Interests&Attitudes Report available on Ad​-ology​.com.

[Source: College Marketing. Barnes and Noble. 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Sept. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.