Social Media Habits of College Students by Platform: TikTok

Topics: Millennials + Gen Z, Digital Media, Campus Media

Posted by: Marketing

Almost eighty percent of small businesses use social media to connect with their customers. And with good reason! Nearly 5 billion people access social platforms regularly, and that number continues to increase. As we discussed previously, emerging media is an important component of successful university advertising. This post continues our exploration of the social media habits of college students by platform.  Discover the relevance of TikTok for campus marketing.

Tik Tok Advertising


How prevalent is TikTok use among young adults?

Some recent Pew Research statistics provide valuable information on the social media habits of college students with regards to TikTok.

  • 62% of U.S. adults ages 18-29 use TikTok.
  • TikTok stands out for the growth of its user base. A third of U.S. adults say they use the video-based platform - up 12 percentage points from 2021.
  • 38% of TikTok users have some college education. This is higher than usage among both individuals with no college education and individuals who have earned a college degree.
  • Hispanic adults are particularly likely to use TikTok.
  • TikTok usage is not significantly affected by users’ locations or political affiliation.


MSSmedia Emerging Media




In addition:

  • TikTok reached 1.92 billion users in 2023.
  • TikTok is the #1 downloaded app in over 40 countries.
  • 29% of TikTok users open the app every day.
  • US adults spend a total of 4.43 billion minutes per day on TikTok. 
  • Insider Intelligence predicted that by 2025, TikTok will surpass all other social media apps in minutes spent on the app per day.


Is TikTok an effective use of my campus marketing funds?

Absolutely! The statistics make that crystal clear.

  • Gen Z users who shop on TikTok are 1.8x more likely to make a purchase based on community recommendations than traditional marketplaces.
  • Despite having lower frequency than TV ads, TikTok ads generate roughly the same amount of revenue per 1,000 impressions.
  • TikTok is the fastest-growing channel for product discovery. 
  • Advertisers see an average return of $2 for every $1 spent on TikTok advertising.
  • TikTok is the top non-game app for consumer spending.


+ Engage Gen Z and millennials with social shopping.


TikTok covers all stages of the customer journey, from awareness, to consideration, to conversion. With features like in-app shopping, live streaming, and branded hashtag challenges, TikTok is an excellent tool for businesses looking to connect directly with customers. 

 Advertising on TikTok can be used to:

  • Introduce customers to your brand
  • Announce new products or launches
  • Help customers learn more about your products or services
  • Generate new leads
  • Drive traffic to your website or app
  • Drive desired website and app actions


MSSmedia Buyer Persona Worksheet-1




What are the most effective ways to use TikTok for campus marketing?

  • The social media behavior of college students (and other TikTok users) provides excellent direction on the best ways to use TikTok for campus marketing.
  • Most TikTok users are drawn to the platform’s storytelling format.
  • Many Gen Z TikTok users prefer content that feels more tailored to their tastes.



"You have to stand apart by offering high quality, relevant experiences to audiences that you truly understand."



  • Tutorials are the most popular type of content on TikTok.
  • The majority of TikTok users are looking for funny content.

Other tactics for getting the most out of your TikTok advertising investment include:

  • Layer geo-targeted TikTok advertising on top of your OOH university advertising efforts to increase target audience awareness and engagement. 
  • Create high quality ads, including copy, CTAs and visuals. Weak social media ads create negative emotional responses.
  • Use video and strong visuals. This content resonates well with users and generates strong engagement. TikTok Live is particularly effective. Fifty percent of TikTok users have bought something after watching a Live.


Infographic Thumbnail - Using Video Marketing Effectively




  • Use TikTok Ads Manager to launch effective ads, drive sales and measure performance.
  • Leverage your audience’s interests, viewing behaviors and creator interactions to deliver relevant ads tailored to your industry and goals.
  • Serve ads to people actively searching for products and services like yours.
  • Use automatic targeting to dynamically optimize who receives your ads, potentially lowering CPA while increasing conversions.
  • Maximize ROI with measurement tools that provide performance and content insights, so you can act and drive conversions more efficiently.
  • Use TikTok Shop to allow users to go from discovery to purchase without ever leaving the platform.
  • In addition to conventional TikTok advertising, use influencer marketing to grow your young adult audience exponentially.



Social Media Habits of College Students by Platform: YouTube

Social Media Habits of College Students by Platform: Facebook

Social Media Habits of College Students by Platform: Instagram

Social Media Habits of College Students by Platform: Snapchat


See our complete guide to advertising to university students.




Here at MSS Media, Inc., we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSS Media, Inc. a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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