As of writing this blog post, the entire world is living in a state of fear and uncertainty. The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has caused millions of people to be forced to stay at home and practice social distancing. This crisis has sadly affected most colleges in the United States. Many schools switched to online instruction, and forced students back home. This reduced the population density in cities such as Boston, New York or Los Angeles. This is a good time to evaulate online marketing to college students.
With students most likely being forced to stay at home, marketing to students becomes an entirely new challenge. Especialy as students have limited access to the outside world. Online advertising provides the best opportunity to reach these college students. Now advertisers must figure out what online spaces specific target demographics spend most of their time. This improves the marketing of your product or service.
Online College Newspapers:
A lot of students rely on their college newspapers as a primary information outlet on campus closings or reopening. These college newspaper web sites also update on cases of illnesses amongst the student body. Web traffic increased to college newspaper websites, and a higher ROI on placing ads on these sites.
It’s not just students who would be constantly checking these websites, but parents as well. If you’re a company that wants to engage with the guardians/ parents of incoming students or freshman students, then ad placements in college newspapers could be an interesting proposition.
With all this extra time on their hands, you can be sure that college students are more readily active on social media than usual. This includes apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok which recently gained popularity amongst the college aged students.
There are certainly a few options available for this medium. Brand ambassadors with large followings of students create a perfect way of having direct communication with your target market. Students quarantined at home will have ample time to check out the branded posted.
Another option would be to advertise through video. According to a Nielsen report, the college aged consumer demographic spends the most time watching video content on the internet. This comes in the form of snapchat stories, or Instagram/ TikTok videos, which usually have short durations of 6-7 seconds, with ads that are equally ash short. Students stuck at home consume this media at higher rate. The average number of ads they are exposed to is likely higher as well.
While students take their online classes and enjoy their time off or so called “Coronacation”, advertisers need to plan for the upcoming semester. Even during summer months, you can still do online marketing to college students. Additionally, a demographic group to be attentive for are the parents. They prepare for back to school season, while their kids remain sheltered at home.
Targeting parents currently makes sense due to their higher purchasing power. This becomes more apparent as their children cannot work and do not having a reliable source of income due to stay at home orders. Their Internet usage is also more likely to be higher which means that online advertising will be more effective.
Typically, when targeting college parents, blogs, and social media outlets such as Facebook and YouTube have been found to be the most effective mediums to communicate with college parents. These are the outlets that they are most likely to use when figuring out information about college life for their kids.