There are just over two million students currently in higher education in the UK. They are typically considered to have a very limited income, but on average each full-time student has roughly £5,000 a year to spend – so this is a group not to be overlooked as they actually have good disposable income. They are often making independent decisions on how to spend their income for the first time in their life, so they are open to marketing if implemented correctly. An insight into the way they receive advertising might hold the key to tapping into this considerable market.
How does the student population use the internet?
The youth market knows their way around the internet, and is not afraid to input personal details and shop online. Most 15 to 24-year-olds spend more time on the internet than they do watching regular TV. They tend to view programmes they choose in advance, and they also do this online where they select box sets, documentaries and films without watching incidental programming. When they are at home they are also likely to be watching more than one screen at a time – with TV, gaming and social media all being viewed simultaneously. Students also view a great deal of their online content on a smartphone either at home or on the move, so it is crucial that your marketing can be found on and offline so to maximize your visibility amongst this age group.
What are the difficulties with accessing the youth market?
The youth market is very distracted. When they are online on their smartphones, they could be anywhere and be with anyone. They could be commuting, at a pub, in class, in the library and be with a group of friends or classmates. If they are viewing at home, they are likely to be on a laptop, tablet, and smartphone all at the same time. This demographic has a short attention span and hurry through their lives quickly. They are bombarded by information. The challenge then is to stand out, to be interesting enough to stop the student in their tracks, and to be engaging very quickly. On campus events are perfect for capturing the attention of students in their natural habitat in a way where they don’t feel bombarded or sold to.
How to reach the student market
Younger students, under 21, tend to concentrate purely on themselves. They are not at the stage of life when they need to purchase items for a home, except for incidental decoration for student rooms. They enjoy fashion, food, cinema and nights out. Travelling is often on the wish list too. What they do not want is interruptive advertising, obvious advertising or alienating advertising. Marketing that works is simple but, engaging. It grabs student’s attention immediately and doesn’t take too long to deliver the message – seconds in fact. They do not want to be patronised or fooled.