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College Students Want Targeted Social Ads

Many users feel like they’re not being targeted by advertisers

March 29, 2016 | Demographics | Media Buying

Many internet users claim not to like ad targeting, commonly calling it “creepy” or invasive. But college students say they are most likely to click on a social ad if it’s for something they care about or need—meaning, if it’s well targeted to their interests and relevant to their lives.

Social Media Ad Features that Make US College Student Internet Users Want to Click, by Site/App, March 2016 (% of respondents)

In March 2016, Fluent surveyed 1,310 US students ages 17 to 24 who are enrolled in a 4-year college or university.

More than half (53.4%) said that they wanted to click on a Facebook ad because it is for something they need to care about. Some 49% of respondents also said they wanted to click on a YouTube ad because it was for something they cared about.

Overall, responses were similar across other social media channels. For example, nearly half of US college students said that they wanted to click on ads on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Meerkat, Periscope and Vine because they were for products and services they needed.

Attitudes Toward Targeted Advertising According to US Internet Users, by Generation, Nov 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

Targeted advertising can seem negative to many, but when done right, it can be successful. Many US internet users across generations want to be targeted by advertisers, and most feel like they are just forgotten.

November 2015 research from Yahoo, Audience Theory and Ipsos found that a quarter of Gen Xers felt their generation was often forgotten about by advertisers, and nearly a quarter of millennials and baby boomers felt the same way.

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