Advertising to Gen Z College Students


Gen Z College students are a big part of the demographic in the United States, consisting mostly of 18 to 24 years old. This generation of young adults has a huge spending culture and power. The 15 million students spend more than $200 billion annually. Not only that, but also they stay in the same place (their university’s location) for 4 to 5 years, meaning that brands have a lot of time to develop branding and marketing directed to this group and have huge advantages from it.

These groups of people come from all over the world, marketing to college students can be difficult at times. From the changing environment to new restrictions, everything can change in a second.

This article will help you do understand what your business should do and what they should not do when you are targeting college students.

To Do 

  • Be different. Using what is most common to college students will put you on the black list and they will not express interest.
  • Use technology. Consider running campaigns that use phones. Putting your content on their primary screen is what Gen Z cares about. Whether it is through Social Influencers or just by running a mobile ad, you will get more impressions as students use their phones frequently.
  • They want reliable information. Use people with real stories about your brand and skip the celebrity endorsement. Sometimes college students do not rely on them because they are being paid, and they would rather hear about someone who actually uses your product or service as it has more of a connection.
  • Make it easy. Share your information in a way that is easy and fast to find. Gen Z is resourceful and will look for you if you offer something that they have an interest in.
  • Use short videos (we recommend 15-second videos) instead of commercials, image-only ads, and persuasive stories to create an emotional connection. With so much going on in these Gen Z college student’s lives they don’t have a long attention span to watch a longer video.
  • Try something you have never done before! To get noticed on campus you need to think out of the box as Gen Z does.

Don’t Do

  • Don’t spend your money without making sure that your design and message are on target and easy to read.
  • Don’t pick too many campuses. In other words, don’t lose your money by having too many target audiences. Pick the ones that are better for you and expand your campaign there.
  • Don’t focus on just one form of advertising if possible. With there being such a diverse population, your business should try to reach everyone by using different methods of advertising.
  • Don’t do anything too fast. Lead the students through a good buying experience, asking for a little bit at a time.


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