Social Media Habits of College Students by Platform: YouTube

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

Posted by: Marketing

To advertise to students effectively, you must understand the best ways to reach and influence them. Because this target audience spends so much time on social media, it’s essential that you incorporate these platforms into your university advertising campaigns. Looking to maximize your digital campus marketing ROI? Join us as we explore the social media habits of college students by platform, beginning with YouTube.

Social Media Usage infographic crop




What does the college population look like?

To understand the social media habits of college students, we must first understand who they are. Most college students are between the ages of 18 and 24. While college students largely belong to the younger generations, campus ads reach a widely varied audience in terms of both gender and race. According to

  • Female college attendance has nearly doubled since 1976.
  • 41.6% of postsecondary and postgraduate students are men.
  • As a percentage of the entire student population, nonwhite student attendance has increased 125.5% since 1976.
  • 20.6% of the post-secondary student population is Hispanic or Latino, an 264.8%  increase from 1976.
  • Black and African American students make up 3.5% more of the student population than they did in 1976.
  • Postsecondary attendance among Asian or Asian American students has increased 11.1% since 2010.
  • 4.3% of the college student population identifies as multiracial.

From an economic perspective, students from more affluent backgrounds are significantly more likely to enroll in college.


MSSmedia Buyer Persona Worksheet-1




How prevalent is YouTube use among young adults?

The next step in understanding the social media habits of college students is to look at social media usage statistics. 

  • YouTube is the most widely used social media platform in the world, the second most visited website and the second largest search engine in the world. 
  • If YouTube’s user base were a country, it would be the third largest in the world.
  • 93% of people ages 18 to 29 use YouTube. This is by far the most used online platform among this target audience. 
  • 54% of YouTube users access the site daily, with 36% visiting several times a day.
  • Members of Gen Z stream an average of 23 hours of video each week.



"The single most important strategy in content marketing today is video."



Is YouTube a good use of my university advertising campaign funds?

YouTube is a great channel to advertise to students at a price that works for you. You can set a monthly budget cap, and pause or adjust anytime you need to. In addition to setting your maximum overall spend, you can use bids to set the most you’ll pay for an ad to appear. Whether you are looking to optimize for views, impressions or conversions, there are a variety of bidding strategies to help you reach your goals. 


+ Learn more about advertising on YouTube. 


In addition to running a paid YouTube ad campaign, you can create a free YouTube channel to engage with your target audience and attract new leads. Well-produced and informative videos convey volumes about your product, service or program. And online videos are easily shared via other social media platforms.


Infographic Thumbnail - Value of Video Marketing




What are the most effective ways to advertise to students on YouTube?

Video is an incredibly effective marketing tool, and offers a wide variety of ways to reach target audiences. Given the social media habits of college students, and their preferences, here are some of the most effective:

  • Create content that addresses the specific needs, aspirations, interests and challenges of your target audience. 65% of Gen Z feels that personally relevant content is more important than the most popular topics of the day.
  • Integrate memes into your YouTube content. Memes are an important part of young adult culture, and more than half of Gen Z appreciates it when brands participate in memes.
  • Create short videos. YouTube Shorts (videos that max out at 60 seconds) receive 15 billion daily views.
  • Create educational content. 53.5% of female Gen Z internet users and 52.2% of male Gen Z internet users watch at least one how-to or tutorial video every week.
  • Answer common questions. This is a great tactic for SEO since people often format their searches as questions. 


Infographic Thumbnail - Using Video Marketing Effectively




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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