Common Mistakes Marketers Make When Advertising to College Students

Common Mistakes Marketers Make When Advertising to College Students

Here’s a list of 3 common mistakes marketers make when advertising to college students:

1. Thinking Digital Media is the Best Way to Reach College Students

While it’s true college students spend a great deal of time online, digital ads often get ignored. In fact, “82% of Americans ignore online ads . . . . The online ads Americans are most likely to ignore included: online banner ads (73%), followed by social media ads (62%), and search engine ads (59%).”[1] Online ads are so prevalent today that they don’t catch the attention of viewers.

2. Not Using Peer-to-Peer Marketing for Social Media Marketing Campaigns

College students are particularly adept at navigating the web and finding exactly what they’re looking for, while filtering out and ignoring ads that get in their way. If you want to use digital media to reach them, you need to think outside the box and come up with innovative ways to reach them online, such as peer-to-peer marketing. In fact, peer recommendations or peer posts related to products, carry significant weight among the college demographic. In fact, “68% of 18-to-34-year-old social media users surveyed were somewhat likely to make a purchase after seeing a friend’s post.”[2] This is much more effective than traditional social media marketing techniques.

3. Emphasizing Price

College students often get labeled as broke or cheap, and many companies try to capture their attention with low prices or special college student discounts, and while price does factor into their purchasing decisions, convenience matters more. College students value their time highly and are willing to pay extra for convenience. They willingly shell out money for pre-prepared food, delivery services, online convenience fees, parking spaces, and many other discretionary purchases, all for the sake of convenience. Instead of focusing on cost, focus on convenience when marketing to students. 

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[1]Goo Study: Most of Us Ignore Online Ads.” Goo Technologies.

[2] Loechner, Jack. “Millennials Influenced by Peers; Women Share More.” Media Post.

This entry was posted in College Advertising/College Marketing, College Demographic, College Marketing Challenges/Mistakes, Social Media Marketing/Digital and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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