In this digital age, social media is often seen as the go-to Holy Grail platform when it comes to advertising to students. A popular misconception is that social media is the only way you really interact with university students in a way they will connect and ultimately buy, but this isn’t the case.
A recently study by Barnes & Noble College has actually revealed that students feel TV ads are the most effective form of advertising.
We’re sure that you’re probably thinking there is no way that the new age generation is still influenced by old advertising methods such as TV ads, but there is more to this than meets the eye. Whilst students may feel that TV is the most effective form of advertising, this may be due to the fact that what they want isn’t advertising at all – but engagement from other types of marketing that are less of a hard sell. With TV advertisements students expect to be sold to, whereas with other forms of media such as magazine publications they would rather be recommended products that will help improve their lifestyle in one way or the other.
The Barnes & Noble Study, titled the 2012 College Marketing Report, is a survey that is completed by over 7000 students across the entirety of the US. Barnes and Noble have a huge reach in the student community as they have many stores all over the country, giving them access to around 5 million students.
One of the most astonishing results captured by the survey is that 42% of all students surveyed say that TV advertisements remain the most effective method of advertising to students. Looking at this statistic, this would make you believe that social media and student magazines do not hold as much advertising power amongst this demographic after all…but wait.
Social media was at the forefront of the questions in the study and this helped Barnes and Nobles discover that 55% of these students do not think Facebook is a good platform for brands to advertise to students on.
61% of students surveyed also believe that reaching out to students via text message is not a good advertising method and 63% of students have no interest and do not use QR codes on ads, which makes you ask the question – what do students like?
These results provide vital information for brands that advertising isn’t what students are looking for.
Unsurprisingly, the avenue that influences students buying habits the most is their friends! 59% percent of students surveyed say that they are more likely to purchase a product or service if it is recommended by a friend. Combine this with the fact that 68% of students would like to become student ambassadors, and half of these students would like brand ambassadors to be present whilst they are moving in to their campus, this further enhances the need to engage with students rather than advertise and promote which is why student magazines have become more and more popular with advertisers.
The main take away from this study is not that TV ads are the most effective method of advertising to students but actually the opposite. Students value engagement and marketing, not hard sell advertising. Save any budget you are considering putting towards a TV or social campaign and consider an on-campus promotional campaign or featuring in a digital student magazine, students are much more receptive to student brand ambassadors that understand their needs.