College Students' Marketing Preferences - It's Not All Digital
August 28, 2012 -- According to a survey from Barnes & Noble College Marketing (BNCM), despite the prevalence of social media and the Internet, college students say traditional means -- recommendations from friends and TV ads -- are the most effective forms of advertising.
The 2012 College Marketing Report was based on a survey of Barnes & Noble College Next Gen Research Panel, a network of more than 7,500 U.S. college students from campuses across the nation.
Some key findings about students' media habits, social and digital behaviors, and marketing preferences:
Although Internet and social media usage is strong among college students, word-of-mouth (59%) has the biggest influence on their purchasing decisions, followed by TV commercials (42%). Magazine ads came in a distant third at 10%. Twenty percent of respondents claim ads don't influence their purchasing decisions.
The majority of college students are active readers of their on-campus newspaper; 43% say they read the print version exclusively, 10% read the online version only, and 12% read both versions.
What form of marketing really grabs students' attention? Twenty-one percent say posters/in-store signage grabs their attention, followed by email (20%), and magazines and newspapers (18%).
- Two-thirds (65%) say they engage with brands via social media at least weekly, and a third do so at least three times a day, with Facebook being far and away the top social media choice followed by Twitter (72% v. 45%). With this said, 55% do not think Facebook is a good place for brands to advertise to them.
- Students say they are most motivated by brand loyalty as a key driver of social engagement (26%), followed by coupon offers (26%) and contests (19%).
- Six out of 10 (61%) don’t want to receive mobile marketing messages from brands. In fact, most students (58%) view the majority of their emails on their laptops.
- According to the survey, nearly two-thirds (63%) of college students never scan QR codes located on ads. One in three (29%) say they sometimes can QR codes and 5% state they scan mobile action codes often, or very often (3% did not provide an answer).
- Seventy percent of students say they're more likely to buy from a brand that supports a charitable cause and the majority (63%) is willing to spend more on products tied to a charity.
Methodology: The data collected for the 2012 College Marketing Report was gathered in two online surveys using BNCM’s Next Gen Research Panel. The total number of survey respondents for Survey A was 6,188, while Survey B had 1,401 respondents. For both surveys, respondents were mostly born from 1990 to 1993; the mode being 1992. For Survey A: 58% Female/42% Male; Survey B: 32% Female/68% Male. The Next Gen Research Panel is an opt-in group of college students from campuses across the nation.
Source: Barnes & Noble College Marketing news release, Barnes & Noble Releases 2012 College Marketing Report, accessed September 13, 2012.