Why & How to Use Campus Social Media Advertising

Topics: Digital Media, Campus Media

Posted by: Marketing

Social media ads make up almost one third of all internet ad revenue. There are many reasons why paid social advertising is so popular. Learn how you can increase reach and engagement among college students using paid campus social media ads.

Students on Social Media


Why should I use campus social media advertising? 

Social media advertising revenues reached $41.5 billion in 2020 because it works! Approximately 30% of internet users say they find new products and brands through paid social ads.

+ Learn why college students are an important target market.

Campus social media ads reach consumers where they are.

To drive your target audience to action, you must first reach them. To reach them, you need to meet them where they are. In today’s world, especially for younger demographics, this means building and maintaining an internet presence using your own website, digital advertising, and social media platforms. 

One of the most unifying and recognizable traits of both millennials and Generation Z is that they spend an extremely high percentage of their time on smartphones and other digital devices, much of it on social media apps. 

  • 84% of U.S. adults ages 18-29 use at least one social media site.
  • Millennials estimate they spend an average of 3.8 hours a day on social media.
  • Gen Z reports spending more than 4.5 hours a day on social media.
  • Social media ad impressions are up 20%, year-over-year.
  • 27% of internet users say they find new products and brands through paid social ads.
  • 31% of 16-24 year-olds say they find new products and brands through paid social ads.

Social Media Usage infographic crop


Social media marketing speaks the language of modern consumers.

Younger generations are no longer motivated by the hard sell. Loyola University found that “the future of advertising and marketing is about making relationships, establishing trust, and providing feedback quickly – in essence, using emerging media to make your users your brand ambassador and maybe even your friend...and it’s working: people are reaching out to mention, tag, and connect with brands at an astonishing pace.”

  • 1 in 3 consumers say they would mention a brand when sharing a personal accomplishment on social media.
  • 41% of millennials would include a brand to say “thanks” when mentioning a life milestone on social media.
  • 80% of Instagram users already follow a brand on the network.


MSSmedia Social Media Ad Stats


Better audience targeting makes for a healthy return on investment.

Whether you’re paying per click, per impression, per action, or per lead, digital advertising charges can add up. To get the most for your money, you must make sure your ads are primarily reaching your intended audience. Social advertising allows you to target your desired audience in several ways.

  • Advertise on the social media platforms your target audience is most likely to use.
  • Choose to show your ads to social media users based on location, age, gender, or interests.
  • Choose to show your ads to social media users based on their actions, both on- and off-line.
  • Target only existing customers or followers with your social media ads.
  • Target social media users who are similar to your existing customer or contact base.
  • Target those who have visited your website but have not taken the desired action(s).



“A large social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. 



Which platform should I use for campus social media?

Most social media platforms allow businesses to purchase and place paid advertisements. When choosing the right campus social media advertising platform(s) for your business, you must consider who you are trying to reach and what you are trying to accomplish. Let’s explore the most relevant social media ad platforms today.

Facebook and Instagram are considered both passive and active marketing platforms, covering all stages of the customer journey, from awareness, to consideration, to conversion. These platforms are excellent resources for lead generation and lead form fill-outs. Reaching target audiences on these platforms is the most important component of building awareness and converting traffic.



  • Facebook ads reach 1.95 billion of the platform's 2.5 billion monthly users. That’s 32% of the world’s population aged 13 and up.
  • 70% of those ages 18 to 29 use Facebook.
  • Worldwide, the average Facebook user has clicked 12 ads in the last 30 days.
  • 80% of social referrals to ecommerce sites come from Facebook.


  • Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users globally.
  • 500 million users access Instagram globally per day.
  • 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. 

Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have an especially strong following among young adults. The majority of 18- to 29-year-olds use Instagram and/or Snapchat, while roughly half use TikTok.



  • With Snapchat, advertisers are able to reach a global audience and drive meaningful results. Businesses can target users based on their interests, behaviors, location, and more. 
  • On average, 280 million people use Snapchat every day.
  • Snapchat reaches 75% of Millennials and Gen Z.
  • On average, users spend over 30 minutes on Snapchat every day.
  • Snapchat ads are 7x more efficient than TV ads at reaching Gen Z.
  • 72%  of Snapchat ad viewers aren’t reachable by TV ads and 38%  of Snapchat users aren't on Instagram.



  • 41% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24. 
  • 90% of TikTok users say they use the app daily.
  • As of July 2020, there were over 90 million monthly active TikTok users in the United States alone.


+ Learn more about the social media habits of college students. 


What’s the most effective way to use paid campus social media ads?

There are a number of things to keep in mind when developing a social media marketing plan, many of which are particularly relevant when creating paid social media ads.

  • Share video and visual content. Visual content resonates well with users and generates strong engagement. 
  • Live streaming increases engagement even more and adds to your brand’s air of authenticity. 
  • Showcase your creativity and draw users in with augmented reality (like emojis, stickers, and Snapchat filters).
  • Use hashtags and influencer marketing to grow your audience exponentially. 
  • Allow users to go from discovery to purchase without ever leaving the social media platform.
  • Use social media’s chat and shop features to break down barriers that stand in the way of completed customer transactions. (13% of internet users say that a “buy” button would increase their likelihood of purchasing on social and 23% say a brand with high engagement increases that conversion.)
  • Weak social media ads create negative emotional responses. Don’t rely on cash to make up for quality - you need high-quality copy, CTAs, and visuals.
  • Optimize your social media ads based on analytics. This data provides real-time information on each ad you’ve shared and how they’ve performed, which can help you better understand your audience.


Read the other posts in our “Types of Campus Media” series:


Looking for more information on how to run a successful digital campus media campaign? 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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