Study: College Students Appreciate Relevant Targeted Ads

According to a new study by Fluent, a brand marketing agency that specializes in the college demographic, a majority of college students are comfortable with online targeted ads as long as they’re relevant to individual preferences. The study surveyed 1,310 American students ages 17 to 24 currently enrolled in a four-year college or university. More than half (53.4%) said they would click on a Facebook ad if it featured a product or service they need or care about. Similarly, about 49% of respondents stated they would click on a YouTube ad for the same reason.

Responses from the participating college students, also known as members of Generation Z, were generally the same across the primary social media channels. Almost half of respondents reported that they would click on ads on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Meerkat, Periscope and Vine because they were for products and services they needed.

When respondents were asked about the social media ad features that make them want to click, the most cited response across all social media platforms was “The ad is about something I need or care about,” at an average of 45.77%, followed by “A great photo or first seconds of a video are attention-grabbing” (33.37%) and “The ad is fun to watch, no matter whether I need or want the product” (27.85%).

The responses “The ad starts a story or quiz that makes me curious” and “A celebrity I love is in it” rounded out the responses, at averages of 19.58% and 16.01%, respectively.

In addition, when asked to name their top three most-used platforms, respondents cited Facebook (67%), Snapchat (51%) and Instagram (50%).

“Facebook leads the pack by being the foundation for communication with anyone, from new to long-time friends, to family spread far and wide, as well as for favorite brands,” said Michael Carey, executive vice president of Fluent, in a statement regarding the study’s release. “The platform keeps on top of technology trends, from messaging to video, and that’s helped solidify its position as this generation’s default social platform. In turn, Snapchat and Instagram are leading platforms for Gen Z when it comes to maintaining more immediate and closer relationships.”