The college market often brings to mind four-year red brick institutions providing bachelor’s degrees to 18–24-year-olds. At some schools this may be true, however, a large percentage of students nationally attend a community college for at least a part of their college career. In the 2019-2020 academic year, community college students comprised over 40% of all undergraduate students. Many of these students after two years graduate with an associate’s degree while 25% of them transfer to a four-year institution. One large difference between 2 & 4 year schools is that community college students tend to be older with an average age of 27, so they don’t have the same college-student lifestyle as what society deems as a traditional college student. In the US, there are 942 community colleges with numerous marketing and media strategies available at each of them.
Almost all students attending community colleges are day students as there are few schools that offer residential dorm facilities. School administrations heavily depend on email as their primary source of communication to their students. Hence, community college students check their email very frequently. Student email blast advertising is one of the most impactful and efficient ways to reach this student audience. This digital media format enables brands to directly engage community college students with their brand message while closely monitoring the analytics of campaign performance.
Campus Out-of-Home is the largest media format available on universities campuses. Displays range from transit posters covering the sides of buses, bus shelters, billboards, and street furniture. These eye-popping displays are highly visible to both pedestrian and vehicular traffic throughout the campus. In addition, campus OOH can also be found inside many of the administration/ classroom buildings. Formats such as kiosks and newsstands are located in the high traffic areas where students mostly congregate in these buildings. In addition, most schools are interconnected with a closed-circuit TV (CCTV) platform. These CCTV platforms enable schools to publish a broad range of school-based content to students while also providing advertisers with a digital out-of-home advertising format. These TV screens are located in student centers, cafeterias, gyms, and other student-oriented lounges throughout campus.
Mobile Display & Video Advertising
The ubiquity of usage of mobile phones by students has created one of the best resources for location-based digital advertising. Students now can be identified at specific schools or even in select buildings on campus if that level of demographic detail is important. Both display and video ads can be served to their devices while they are browsing the internet or interacting with one of the thousands of apps available today. Advertisers have cleverly used mobile advertising to reach students at specific schools both off and on campus during important calendar seasons including spring breaks, summer recess, back-to-school, and over the holidays to promote their brand.
Community college students may have a slightly different college experience than the average four-year student, however, they are still a very important audience segment of the GenZ demographic. By communicating to these students by email, campus out-of-home, or mobile advertising, your marketing message will be front and center in their daily lives.